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‘I could see history disappearing’: 20 years on, man who discovered Seahenge defends excavation

PUBLISHED: 14:18 10 November 2018 | UPDATED: 15:27 10 November 2018

Wendy George's photo of Seahenge which was discovered on Holme Beach (C) Wendy George

Wendy George's photo of Seahenge which was discovered on Holme Beach (C) Wendy George

Wendy George

A celebrity archaeologist has defended the controversial excavation of Seahenge, 20 years to the day after it was discovered jutting from the sea bed at Holme, near Hunstanton.

Prof Francis Pryor, who is known for appearances on Channel 4’s Time Team and his work at Flag Fen, near Peterborough, was a speaker a conference held on Saturday to celebrate the anniversary of the emergence of the Bronze Age timber circle.

He said: “I want to put this on record. A lot of my colleagues would say that it was a terrible piece of excavation, I would suggest it was the most detailed excavation of a Bronze Age site that has ever taken place in Europe.”

The circle was found on the beach at Holme by John Lorimer late in 1998 and the name Seahenge was coined by the EDP - although the structure is not technically a henge.

The Seahenge exhibition at the Lynn Museum in King's Lynn, with curatorial assistant Dayna Woolbright. Picture: Ian BurtThe Seahenge exhibition at the Lynn Museum in King's Lynn, with curatorial assistant Dayna Woolbright. Picture: Ian Burt

Talking of his discovery, Mr Lorimer said: “Politics seemed to come into it for a little while, which archeologists had never had before. There was a lot of controversy about the circle.

“Myself, I could see history disappearing. I wanted my kids to be able to go somewhere and see this thing. I knew it was something, it had to be.”

In 2008, a permanent exhibition featuring preserved timbers from the monument was opened at Lynn Museum, and members of the public who attended the event today visited and took part in object handling of items that Mr Lorimer has found, including the Bronze Age axe head that led to the discovery of Seahenge.

Bronze-age axe head John Lorimer found which led to he discovery of Seahenge. Photo: Emily PrinceBronze-age axe head John Lorimer found which led to he discovery of Seahenge. Photo: Emily Prince

READ MORE: Seahenge set for final resting place

Sonja Cutts, from Friday Bridge in the Fens, said: “This find is hugely significant. Maybe a concrete version could be put where the original was found?”

Mr Lorimer said: “What people have learned from Seahenge has just been phenomenal, and 20 years later I am still picking stuff up off the beach and still learning from it.

“They definitely did the right thing saving Seahenge. Put it this way, I have taken photographs of the second circle and watched that disappear, and I am afraid Seahenge would have gone long before that. I’m just so glad other generations are going to get the same thing I get from it...wow.”

The upside down tree stump that was found in the centre of the circle, which archologists say, the body would have been placed. Photo: Emily PrinceThe upside down tree stump that was found in the centre of the circle, which archologists say, the body would have been placed. Photo: Emily Prince

READ MORE: The wonder of Norfolk’s Seahenge, 20 years on from its re-discovery near Hunstanton

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