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A Second Timber Circle, Trackways, and Coppicing at Holme-next-the-Sea Beach, Norfolk: use of Salt- and Freshwater Marshes in the Bronze Age

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 May 2016

David Robertson
Affiliation:
Historic Environment Service, Norfolk County Council, Union House, Gressenhall, Dereham, Norfolk, NR20 4DR Email: david.robertson@norfolk.gov.uk
Maisie Taylor
Affiliation:
Department of Archaeology, King’s Manor, York, YO1 7EP Email: archaeology@york.ac.uk
Ian Tyers
Affiliation:
Dendrochronological Consultancy Ltd Email: ian@dendro.co.uk
Gordon Cook
Affiliation:
Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory, Scottish Enterprise Technology Park, Rankine Avenue, East Kilbride, G75 0QF Email: gordon.cook@glasgow.ac.uk
W. Derek Hamilton
Affiliation:
Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory, Scottish Enterprise Technology Park, Rankine Avenue, East Kilbride, G75 0QF Email: derek.hamilton.2@glasgow.ac.uk

Abstract

Since 1998 archaeological investigations on Holme-next-the-Sea beach have recorded the waterlogged remains of two Bronze Age timber circles, timber structures, coppiced trees, metal objects, and salt- and freshwater marshes. The second timber circle (Holme II) is only the third waterlogged structure of its type to be discovered in Britain and only the second to be dated by dendrochronology. The felling of timbers used in Holme II has been dated to the spring or summer of 2049 bc , exactly the time as the felling of the timbers used to build the first circle (Holme I). This shared date provides the only known example of two adjacent monuments constructed at precisely the same time in British prehistory. It also informs comparisons between Holme II and other British timber circles and therefore helps develop interpretations. This paper suggests Holme II was a mortuary monument directly related to the use of Holme I.

Résumé

Second cercle de bois, sentiers et taillis sur la plage de Holme-next-the-Sea, Norfolk: utilisation des marais d’eau de mer et d’eau douce à l’âge du bronze, de David Robertson

Depuis 1998 des recherches archéologiques sur la plage de Holme-next-the-Sea ont répertorié les vestiges saturés d’eau de deux cercles de bois de l’âge du bronze, des structures en bois, des taillis des objets en métal et des marais d’eau salée et d’eau douce. Le second cercle de bois (Holme II) n’est que la troisième structure saturée d’eau de ce type à avoir été découverte en Grande-Bretagne et seulement la seconde à être datée par dendrochronologie. La coupe des bois utilisés dans Holme II a été datée du printemps ou de l’été de 2049 av. J.-C., le moment exact de l’abattage des bois utilisés pour construire le premier cercle (Holme I). Cette date commune fournit le seul exemple connu de deux monuments adjacents construits à précisément la même période de la préhistoire britannique Ce qui nous éclaire aussi sur les comparaisons entre Holme II et les autres cercles de bois britanniques et donc facilite le développement d’interprétations. Cet article suggère que Holme II était un monument mortuaire directement lié à l’utilisation de Holme I.

Zussamenfassung

Ein zweiter Holzkreis, Wege, und Niederwaldwirtschaft am Strand von Holme-next-the-Sea, Norfolk: Die Nutzung von Salzwasser- und Süßwassermarschen in der Bronzezeit, von David Robertson

Seit 1998 wurden bei archäologischen Untersuchungen am Strand bei Holme-next-the-Sea die durch Feuchterhaltung konservierten Überreste von zwei bronzezeitlichen Holzkreisen, weiteren hölzernen Strukturen, auf Stockausschlag gesetzten Bäumen sowie Metallobjekte und Salzwasser- und Süßwassermarschen dokumentiert. Der zweite Holzkreis (Holme II) ist erst der dritte Nassholzbefund dieser Art, der in Großbritannien entdeckt wurde, und erst der zweite, der dendrochronologisch datiert wurde. Das Fällen der für Holme II genutzten Stämme wurde auf den Frühling oder Sommer 2049 BC datiert, was genau der Zeit entspricht, zu der die Hölzer für den ersten Kreis (Holme I) gefällt wurden. Diese übereinstimmenden Daten stellen das einzige bekannte Beispiel der britischen Vorgeschichte dar für zwei benachbarte Monumente, die zu genau der gleichen Zeit errichtet wurden. Sie helfen auch beim Vergleich von Holme II mit anderen britischen Holzkreisen und somit auch bei der Ausarbeitung von Interpretationen. Dieser Beitrag diskutiert, dass Holmes II ein Begräbnismonument war, das unmittelbar verknüpft mit der Nutzung von Holme I war.

Resumen

Un segundo círculo de madera, senderos y trasmochos en la playa de Holme-next-the Sea, Norfolk: el uso de humedales salinos y dulces en la Edad del Bronce, por David Robertson

Desde 1998 las investigaciones arqueológicas desarrolladas en Holme-next-the-Sea han documentado los restos anegados de dos círculos de madera de la Edad del Bronce, estructuras de madera, árboles trasmochos, objetos de metal y humedales de agua dulce y salada. El segundo círculo de madera (Holme II) constituye la tercera estructura sumergida de este tipo que se ha descubierto en Inglaterra y la segunda que ha sido datada por dendrocronología. La tala de los troncos empleados en Holme II ha sido datada en la primera o el verano del 2049 BC, exactamente el mismo momento en el que se produjo la tala de las maderas empleadas en la construcción del primer círculo (Holme I). Esta datación compartida proporciona el único caso conocido en la Prehistoria Británica de dos monumentos adyacentes construidos precisamente en el mismo momento. También permite comparar Holme II con otros círculos de madera británicos y ayuda a desarrollar interpretaciones. Este artículo sugiere que Holme II constituyó un monumento funerario directamente relacionado con el uso de Holme I.

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© The Prehistoric Society 2016 

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