Bush craft expert Ray Mears in Norfolk and Suffolk for new show

PUBLISHED: 00:34 25 April 2018

Ray Mears. Photo: David Osborn

Ray Mears. Photo: David Osborn


Ray Mears takes a journey 4,000 years back in time to the Bronze Age in East Anglia and visits Norwich Castle, Lynn Museum, Southwold Museum and Flag Fen Archaeology Park to find out more about the region’s past.

Seahenge, which was discovered on Holme Beach in 1998. Picture: The late Wendy George.Seahenge, which was discovered on Holme Beach in 1998. Picture: The late Wendy George.

In a special programme for BBC East, Bush craft expert Ray Mears discovers the treasures of the Bronze Age and in particular, focuses on two communities at Seahenge and Flag Fen and explores what they tell us about the early civilisations that produced them.

Civilisations Stories: Treasures of the Bronze Age will be on BBC1 at 7.30pm on Monday April 30 and will delve into East Anglia’s past.

As a bushcraft expert, Ray will bring a unique perspective on the connections between the communities he studies and the story of the Bronze Age as an age of unprecedented invention- travelling back 4,000 years in time, he looks for clues about ancient East Anglians living in this mysterious yet innovative period of our history.

The Bronze Age was a crucial point in time that linked the Stone Age with the Iron Age. Ray discovers its artworks, jewellery, monuments and unusual finds - and how each object tells us something about the spirit of our ancestors. He begins at Southwold Museum in Suffolk where he examines a small and personable stone carving, the Easton Bavents Deer, made just as the Stone Age was ending and the Bronze Age was beginning. At Holme beach in north Norfolk, Ray investigates the site of an imposing timber circle Seahenge, now preserved at Lynn Museum. He discovers what it tells us about the ceremonial rites of the early Bronze Age people, and how they were capable of great engineering undertakings.

Ray Mears at  RSPB Strumpshaw Fen (C) RSPBRay Mears at RSPB Strumpshaw Fen (C) RSPB

Ray learns about the shared religious beliefs of Bronze Age people at Norwich Castle Museum where he goes behind the scenes with senior curator of archaeology Dr Tim Pestell to find a rare Bronze Age treasure - the Rudham Dirk. Heading west towards the Fens, he visits Flag Fen Archaeology Park - the site of an important Bronze Age settlement. Along with archaeologist Francis Pryor, Ray admires a beautifully made dagger with antler handle and learns of the ceremonial worship of water. At Ely Museum in Cambridgeshire, Ray marvels at the Great Gold Torc - a majestic piece of jewellery that marks the emergence of a warrior aristocracy.

The journey concludes back at Norwich Castle with one of the greatest treasures ever discovered in Britain, the Snettisham Treasure. This may have been the royal treasure of the Iceni tribe and was produced at the dawn of the Iron Age.

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