Seahenge: New Discoveries in Prehistoric Britain

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9780007101917: Seahenge: New Discoveries in Prehistoric Britain

An investigation into the lives of our prehistoric ancestors, focusing on the revolution in Bronze Age archaeology which has been taking place since the 1980s, and in which the author has played a central role. One of the most haunting and enigmatic archaeological discoveries of recent times was the uncovering in 1998 at low tide of the so-called Seahenge on the north coast of Norfolk. This circle of wooden planks set vertically in the sand, with a large inverted tree-trunk in the middle, likened to a ghostly "hand reaching up from the underworld", has now been dated to around 2020 BC. It focused national attention on archaeology to an extent not seen for many years, and the issues raised by its removal and preservation made it a "cause celebre". Francis Pryor has been at the centre of British archaeological fieldwork for nearly 30 years, piecing together the way of life of Bronze Age people, their settlement of the landscape, their religion and rituals. The famous wetland sites of the East Anglian Fens have preserved ten times the information of their dryland counterparts like Stonehenge and Avebury, in the form of pollen, leaves, wood, hair, skin and fibre found "pickled" in mud and peat. "Seahenge" demonstrates how much Western civilization owes to the prehistoric societies that existed in Europe in the last four millennia BC.

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About the Author:

Francis Pryor is President of the Council for British Archaeology and a prominent field archaeologist who has devoted his professional life to the excavation of wetland landscapes in eastern England. He has been a central figure in the so-called 'Wetland Revolution' of British archaeology, and has published a number of specialist monographs on his discoveries. This is his first book for a wide general audience.

From Library Journal:

President of the Council for British Archaeology, Pryor amply demonstrates his love for archaeology in this highly readable tribute to the "Wetland Revolution." The title refers to a site discovered when it began emerging from the waters near Norfolk, England, in 1998. Pryor labored to understand and save the timbers that form this aquatic version of Stonehenge. He leads up to the story of Seahenge with an explanation of why and how he became an archaeologist, followed by lengthy discussions of the prehistory of Britain as illuminated by his investigations. He thereby establishes the context of Seahenge in both its uniqueness and its representation of prehistoric Britain. This book is top-notch in bringing vividly and clearly to life the personal thrill of archaeological discovery and the world of prehistoric people. Highly recommended for libraries of all kinds. Joyce L. Ogburn, Univ. of Washington, Seattle
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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