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School's henge project

PUBLISHED: 14:40 30 July 2008 | UPDATED: 10:24 07 July 2010

Burnham Market Primary School pupils were transported back more than 4,000 years at the official opening of a project which helped them understand how their forbears coped before the conveniences of modern life.

Burnham Market Primary School pupils were transported back more than 4,000 years at the official opening of a project which helped them understand how their forbears coped before the conveniences of modern life.

Standing proud on their playing field is their scaled-down visualisation of Seahenge, an early Bronze Age circle found among the dunes on the shore at Holme in 1998.

Their version will stand for years to come in the school grounds as a reminder of the heritage of this part of the Norfolk coast.

Seahenge, a circle of 55 split oak trunks around an upturned tree stump, had been preserved by chance over thousands of years because it had been buried in peat.

Uncovered by the tides it had been removed by English Heritage first to Flag Fen, Peterborough, where archaeologists had gradually replaced seawater, which had penetrated the timber, with wax to stabilise the wood.

It then journeyed to Portsmouth where marine archaeologists, who had gained great expertise in treating salt water saturated wood by working on the hulk of the Tudor flagship, Mary Rose, continued the preservation work.

Their work completed, the circle has been on display at Lynn Museum since April this year.

Already pupils have re-named their circle School Henge.

“The children were totally involved from beginning to end,” said teacher Christ Dent.

The project was made possible by money from the North West Norfolk branch of the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies which had funded six three and one two-year projects involving Burnham Market and six other primary schools at Docking, Sedgeford, Sandringham and West Newton, Brancaster, Flitcham and Snettisham.

At Burnham Market the first two of their three years had also involved sea themes.

One was seascape pictures made in coloured felt they had manufactured themselves and the second, small three dimensional clay tiles depicting coastal scenes involving familiar objects such as boats, shells and lighthouses.

“For the final year we wanted to do something quite spectacular for which would not normally have the money to do,” said Miss Dent.

Many of pupils had seen Seahenge at the Lynn Museum and had researched the subject on the internet.

This helped them imagine something of life in the Bronze Age as did the chance to see and touch replica Celtic Age pots and vases brought to the school by artist, Jason Welch, from North Creake, who has also sculpted the circle and who is still working on the central wooden stump.

That knowledge they used to design their own circle and the many decorative copper plaques and clay tiles that adorn the wooden posts of their School Henge circle.

The Burnham school project was supported throughout by artist in residence Rozzi Freeman.

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