Page last updated at 18:10 GMT, Monday, 12 May 2008 19:10 UK

Old timbers bring in new visitors

Seahenge in museum
The Seahenge gallery at the Lynn Museum is drawing new visitors

A Norfolk museum has recorded a large increase in visitors since opening a unique display of the Bronze Age wood circle known as Seahenge.

The Lynn Museum in King's Lynn underwent a 1.2m redevelopment before the exhibition was opened last month.

Norfolk Museums Service said 1,500 visited in its opening month, 73% more year-on-year before the display opened.

Seahenge was moved from its site at Holme-next-the-Sea and preserved in 1999, a year after being discovered.

Seahenge - 55 oak posts in a circle with a central stump - sat unnoticed and undisturbed off the Norfolk coast for almost 4,000 years.

Full-size replica

Archaeologists at the Bronze Age Centre, believe between 50 and 80 people may have helped build the circle, possibly to mark the death of an important individual.

Seahenge became exposed at low tides after the peat dune covering it was swept away by winter storms.

The museum said if the rate of visits continues it will exceed forecasts.

Charles Wilde, from the Norfolk Museums Service, said: "Lynn Museum has been a much-loved attraction with local people for years.

"The recent re-development and the arrival of the Seahenge display have created a contemporary museum that has much wider appeal.

"Early indications are that the museum is attracting more people on a day trip to King's Lynn and as such the museum is contributing much more to local tourism."

Seahenge in situ
Seahenge as it was discovered at Holme-next-the-Sea

The display allows visitors to see around half of the Seahenge timbers in a display which shows how they were found on the beach.

The arrangement allows visitors to view the timbers from both sides, including the 4,000-year-old marks left by around fifty bronze axes.

This display is mirrored by a full-size replica showing how the structure would have appeared at the time of its construction, which visitors can enter and explore.

Ancient Seahenge 'returns home'
25 Mar 08 |  England
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24 Aug 06 |  England
Permanent home plan for Seahenge
22 Jun 03 |  Norfolk


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