By indexer
19 days ago

Grimes Graves, Norfolk

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A field in the heathland near Thetford in Norfolk looks like a grassy equivalent of the surface of the moon, with many shallow depressions giving the landscape a pockmarked appearance.

However, this area has not been subject to bombardment by meteorites. Instead, it is a very early example of an industrial landscape, the industry in question being flint mining in Neolithic times, at around the time that Stonehenge was being built.

Miners used deer antlers as picks to dig vertical shafts that were up to 40 feet deep. They were searching for pieces of flint that could then be shaped, chiselled and polished to produce axes and knife blades. Although flint was easy to find on the surface, being a type of quartz that is commonly found in chalk and limestone rocks, this was subject to weakening through regular freezing and thawing. Harder flints were available underground, hence the need to mine for them.

When a pit was exhausted, the spoil that had been dug from it was used as refill material. This would later settle down to form a depression in the ground. It can therefore be seen that more than 400 pits were dug in this area, which covers some 34 acres, during a period of around 1,000 years.

The site is now in the care of English Heritage, and visitors will be most interested in the single pit that has been re-opened and which they can descend to see exactly how the flint miners worked. Short galleries were dug off a central “hub” to reach the best flints. These were held hauled to the surface in baskets.

The name “Grimes Graves” dates from Saxon times, when the real purpose of the site was unknown. Grim was another name for the god Odin, and the depressions might easily have been imagined as the burial places of giants.
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19d
fortune Good that it is heritage site, sounds very interesting . What the god Odin has common with England? Its Norwegian god.
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19d
19d
indexer The Anglo-Saxons brought their Germanic religion with them and were later converted to Christianity. The days of the week from Tuesday to Saturday were named after Norse/Germanic gods including Woden - Wednesday.
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19d
16d
RasmaSandra Sounds fascinating. I would like to explore this place.
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16d