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Sunday, 27 November 2011

Seahenge and Stonehenge

A number of people have asked for a post on Seahenge, Norfolk -- presumably on the basis that it might give us some insights into the age and purpose of Stonehenge.  I must admit to ignorance re this site, except that I do recall all the fuss that went on at the time of its excavation -- with our friend Geoff Wainwright at the centre of it.......   Anyway, for better or for worse, the site was cleared, and the timbers are now preserved and on display in the Lynn Museum.


For those who are interested in drawing parallels with Stonehenge and otherwise discussing the significance of Seahenge, over to you.....




 This info is from the Lynn Museum website:
Seahenge
Prehistoric timber circle from Holme

In the summer of 1998 the shifting sands of Holme beach on the
north Norfolk coast revealed something extraordinary. Preserved in
the sand were the remains of a unique timber circle dating back
over 4000 years, to the Early Bronze Age. Although discovered on
a modern beach, the circle was originally built on a saltmarsh,
some distance inland.
The discovery captured the imagination of archaeologists and
public alike and the site soon became known as ‘Seahenge’. The
timbers came from a circle 6.6m (21 ft) in diameter, comprising 55
closely-fitted oak posts, each originally up to 3m (10 ft) in length.
At the centre of the circle was a great upturned tree stump.
Scientific dating methods showed that the trees were felled in the
spring or early summer of 2049BC. Whilst we can never be certain
why the site was built, it was probably used following the death of
an important person, with a body laid out on the upturned stump
so birds and animals could pick the bones clean. They were
removed for burial elsewhere. We do know that after only a short
period of time, the entrance to the circle was sealed.

7 comments:

Tony H said...

Archaeologist Francis Pryor, famous for his work in East Anglia, worked on Seahenge with his wife, who is an expert in ancient wood useage. He has written a book on Seahenge which I have not yet read.

Anonymous said...

What was the Wainright view?
As informed as his on Stonehenge?

BRIAN JOHN said...

i don't know that GW did much interpretation there. I recall that he acted in his capacity as great white chief of EH -- and took the decision to remove all the posts and the central tree-stump so as to preserve them for posterity. That caused great aggro among those who thought that it was a burial site, and that it should be left alone, to be eventually washed away by the tides and rotted by the sea water. Quite possibly, if I had been in his position, I would have made the same decision.....

Tony H said...

"Speedy", or possibly one of his many pseudonyms, has previously mentioned [against the Post called Stump 66] that Seahenge had 55 holes, with the central inverted tree trunk bringing the total up to 56, as existed at Stonehenge.

Desperate Dan said...

Hello Tony,
It was not Speedy, the maestro of the magnifying glass, it was I, Desperate Dan, who introduced Seahenge into the discussion when I pointed out that it had, as you say, 56 timber parts, as Stonehenge has 56 Aubrey holes and there are 56 notes in 8 octaves of musical notes.
But the plot thickens for Wikipedia says that 56 is the sum of the first six triangular numbers (making it a tetrahedral number), as well as the sum of six consecutive prime numbers (3+5+7+11+13+17). It is also a tetrannacci number and a pranic number. Adding up the divisions of 1 through 8 gives 56. Since 56 is twice a perfect number, it is itself a semi perfect number.
Since it is possible to find sequences of 56 consecutive integers such that each inner member shares a factor with either the first or the last member, 56 is an Erdos-Woods number.
The maximum determinant in an 8 by 8 matrix of zeroes and ones is 56.
Plutarch states that the Pythagoreans associated a polygon of 56 sides with Typhon and that they associated polygons of smaller numbers of sides with other figures in Greek mythology. While it is impossible to construct a perfect regular 56-sided polygon using simple 'square and circle' geometry, a close approximation has recently been discovered which it is claimed might have been used at Stonehenge.
Also, my wife claims she is 56 but the statement has yet to be substantiated.

Dan said...

For those who may be interested the previous mention of the number 56 and Stonehenge probably refers to Anthony Johnson's book 'Solving Stonehenge - A New Key to an Ancient Enigma', pp 258-260., where the ancient awareness of 56 sided polygons is discuussed in some detail.
Dan

Anonymous said...

No that info, correct or not, was not from me I am but stoney-hearted.
Somewhere/somehow I am reminded of our own dear Queen Salote of Tonga of blessed memory it must be all this talk of rain and Pacific boats. Grimme times indeed.
Speedy