Seahenge: A Subaquatic Monument of the European Bronze Age
Today the United Kingdom is crisscrossed by many interesting ancient temples. From the times when these islands were populated by diverse communities and societies of ancient European tribes, who shared many interesting values and existed in great symbiosis with the world around them.
Through the existence of tombs and grave mounds, to megaliths, the famous Stonehenge and now ‘Seahenge,’ these relics of a long time gone are now a significant correlation with the lives of all our ancestors. They are the fiber that connects the past and the present-a true passageway that takes us back through time.
One such observation, though, defied all expectations and endured the tireless rhythm of passing time for several thousand years. This find is so remarkable that it is not built of iron, but of wood! Today we show you the tale of one of the most enigmatic ancient monuments in the United Kingdom-the so-called Seahenge. Join us as we pierce the curtain of time to uncover the true meaning of this mysterious ring of wood.
The Source and Discovery of Seahenge
The remote, picturesque village of Holme-next-the-Sea is located in the English county of Norfolk, right on the coast. At first sight, it’s just like all the Norfolk hamlets-cozy and snug, captivating with its rural and easy beauty. It is a seaside village that ideally portrays nature and animals contained in the marshes of England and the North Sea. But a stunning finding in 1998 awakened this hamlet from its slumber and sent waves across the archaeological society of England and the globe.
In the early spring of that year, an aspiring archaeologist called John Lorimer and his brother-in-law captured shrimps on the beach near Holme. This North Sea Norfolk beaches have a distinct appearance, and low tide will offer you a chance to spot some fascinating stuff.
And that’s just what happened to Mr. Lorimer when he didn’t discover a shrimp, but a bronze ax handle. It was the second such ax head to be discovered on that beach within a period of just a few months, and Lorimer knew that it wasn’t only by accident that it had occurred. So he kept coming back to Holme Beach, looking for more finds, but what he finally discovered was totally unexpected.
An upturned tree stump appeared from the wave-washed sand. The first assumption was a reasonable one-an Anglo-Saxon fish trap, which was not uncommon in the region. But as the water receded, more and more information started to surface from the sand. What was seen as an astounding and very unique-a circle of wooden posts with a large upturned stump in the very middle? The value was easily understood, and the experts were soon on the scene.
Monument to the Special Bronze Period
What was the true intention of this wooden circle? Who has erected it? Well, analysis has established that the Seahenge was certainly ancient. Actually, it’s very, really old. It dates back to the Bronze Age and was erected about 2049 BC. Through reliable research and dating of the wood samples, scientists may see 2049 BC as the date when the trees were cut down.
The wooden circle consists of fifty-five broken oak trunks, strategically assembled in a circle and measuring 7 by 6 meters (23 by 20 feet). The trunks were cut in half vertically and positioned in such a way that the circular side with the bark was faced outward and the smooth side inward-only one trunk was put in the opposite direction. The explanation for this is unclear, though it was more likely to be achieved for an intent.
It was deduced that only one of these trunks permitted the entrance to the circle, as it had a narrow passage in the form of a Y-shaped fork. There was another trunk in front of this opening, which stopped anyone from peering into the circular enclosure. Since the trees had survived for a long time, they had significantly deteriorated, and it is not clear how tall they were. Within the circle was the famous stump-turned upside down, with its branching roots pointed upward.
Ancient Beliefs – What was Seahenge’s purpose?
But what about the function of the wooden enclosure? After its discovery, Seahenge has baffled scientists and given rise to several hypotheses, all of which are very plausible. One thing is clear, its ceremonial intent. Several historians believe that Seahenge was specifically linked to burial rites in the Bronze Age of Britain.
It is believed that the enclosure was used as excarnation. This was an ancient funerary ritual in which meat was extracted from the bodies-similar to the current Tibetan Sky Burial tradition. Apparently, the dead were positioned at the top of the stump, where they were left vulnerable to the weather and birds of prey.
Ancient British natives may have assumed that the soul would continue to exist beyond the disappearance of flesh and the return of nature. It was possible all over them with the lethal remains eaten by birds of prey and dispersed.
Scholars conclude that excarnation was more generally performed among women and children since there is a great disparagement of archaeologically excavated Bronze Era fossils, where male remains are far more frequently than females and children.
Another potential function for Seahenge was symbolic. There is a lot of significance in the construction of this wooden circle. Some say it symbolized the border between life and death, between the human universe and the one above.
As it is located next to the water, it is assumed that the inhabitants of the Bronze Age felt that the sea was the edge of the earth, with the land of the dead lying beyond their coasts and far out in remote horizons.
Even, we can’t tell the solution for sure, since time has undoubtedly washed away the original meaning of Seahenge. It is clear to deduce, however, that it was of great significance to the citizens of this country, and its symbolism is proof of this.
Seahenge provided scholars and scientists with some crucial insights into the life of people of the Bronze Age who resided in Britain. Thanks to the degree to which the trunks are maintained, a lot has been discovered by research. The trunks also show obvious marks of hewing and narrowing down to a point.