Preserved tree stunps

The exposure of these tree stumps at low tide in the Thornham Saltmarshes  seems, in some way, symbolic of the amazing discovery in 1998 at neighbouring Holme-next-the-Sea.  This coastal strtch is susceptible to strong currents, tidal surges and shifting sands.  A combination  of these factors led, in November 1998, to the discovery of a previously submerged ‘tree circle’  a henge similar in its formation to Stonehenge.  It was clearly of Bronze Age origin, and experts were subsequently able to confidently date its construction to 2049BC.  The circle comprised 56 posts and at its centre was the upturned root of an oak tree.

A BBC news item on the ‘find’ is available on






Filed under landscape, Nature, photography, Sand, Sea, Shore, Texture, Trees, Uncategorized

5 responses to “Preserved tree stunps

  1. Wow, that is fascinating. I do feel connected to those ancient traditions, all the way over here in the west of the US. It’s in my blood. Thanks for posting – I didn’t know about this discovery going back so far, and in wood!

  2. Having read the article, I appreciate the discussion of why things were placed upside down, and what the use might have been for the stump. I’m saddened to hear the posts were removed but my first thought was, “How will this be protected, now that it’s exposed?” They say they’ll try to treat the wood somehow and return the posts to a nearby site – I suppose that’s because if they put them back where they were, they risk losing them altogether, with the increasing severity of storms we’re seeing. Still, it’s really sad that we had to intervene in this way.

    • The coast of Norfolk is particularly vulnerable. It is a very flat area and is susceptible to change brought about by climatic conditions. Extensive erosion has been caused by high seas: conversely, excessively low tides and moving sandbanks expose evidence of past human activity stretching back to the Paleolithic period. Had the henge have been left in situ it would almost certainly have been lost – especially with the threat of global warming. At least the original stumps are preserved in the nearby Kings Lynn Museum.
      (Incidentally, the crime writer Elly Griffiths has written a series of novels set in this area. The protagonist, Dr Ruth Galloway, is an archaeologist. Her descriptions of the landscape and the archaeological activities provide an excellent sense of place.)

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