Francis Prior became an archaeologist in the early seventies, and is married to archeologist Maisie Taylor. He's best known for his marvellous work on Flag Fen, Flag Fen, a Bronze Age site developed about 3500 years ago, which has a wooden causeway about 1/2 a mile long built across the wet fenland. I created a similar Neolithic walkway for my first Shaman Mystery, In the Moors, as they are also found in Sabbie Dare's neck of the woods, the Somerset Levels. Part way across the fenland structure is a semi-man-made a small island waswhich was most likely a site of religious ceremonies and significance. Prior reconstructed a lot of the site including a typical Iron Age roundhouse dwelling, and created a visitors' centre. The fens are redolent with Bronze Age workings, the perfect high point being the discovery in 1998 of a spectacular timber sacred circle on the coast of the Norfolk coast – a strange phenomenon which suddenly seemed to be growing out of the Norfolk coastline. A dark circle with a central core; like an atom, like a cell.
The first people to see it emerging from the sea thought at first it was the rotting carcass of an old boat. But it soon became clear that this was a magical thing. It brooded like an eye, suddenly open and clear-sighted; a spectacular timber sacred circle.
This henge manifested itself from the coastal waters as they retreated, generation on generation. Constructed from wood blackened with two millennia of submersion, it had an upturned oak-bole in its very middle, the tapering fingers of the old roots pointing at the sea, the sky, the land. It emerged, from what might be considered its grave, like a benign vampire; mysterious and ancient.