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Yearly Archives: 2014
The most important discovery at Stonehenge for a generation could be destroyed by David Cameron’s plan to build a tunnel at the World Heritage Site
Archaeologists have discovered the earliest settlement at Stonehenge – but the Mesolithic camp could be destroyed if government plans for a new tunnel go ahead.
Charcoal dug up from the ‘Blick Mead’ encampment, a mile and a half from Stonehenge, dates from around 4,000BC. It is thought the site was originally occupied by hunter gatherers returning to Britain after the Ice Age, when the country was still connected to the continent.
Experts say the discovery could re-write history in prehistoric Britain.
There is also evidence of feasting – burnt flints and remains of giant bulls – aurochs – as well…
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A detailed plan of a medieval city has been produced by experts without any digging at the site.
The latest scanning techniques were used to uncover a network of buildings at the 11th Century Old Sarum near Salisbury in Wiltshire.
The results include a series of large structures, possibly defences, with open areas of ground behind possibly for mustering resources or people.
Old Sarum was the original site of Salisbury, which is two miles away
WHAT IS OLD SARUM?
- It was the location of the original Salisbury
- It combines a royal castle and cathedral within an Iron Age fortification
- The Romans, Normans and Saxons have all left their mark there
- For 150 years it was a major centre of government
Source: English Heritage
It was originally an Iron Age fort, established around 400 BC, and occupied by the Romans after the conquest of Britain in AD 43.
This latest survey of the site was carried out by the University of Southampton and concentrated on the inner and outer baileys of what would have been the fort.
Modern techniques used to survey the land included magnetometry, earth resistance, ground penetrating radar and electric resistivity tomography, which uses electrodes to probe underground.
The university’s director of archaeological prospection services, Kristian Strutt, said: “Archaeologists and historians have known for centuries that there was a medieval city at Old Sarum, but until now there has been no proper plan of the site.
“Our survey shows where individual buildings are located and from this we can piece together a detailed picture of the urban plan within the city walls.”
Stonehenge and Salisbury Guided Tours
It’s that time of year again. With just 3 months to go before the Current Archaeology Live! conference in London, the nominations for the Current Archaeology Awards have been released.
The awards are designed to celebrate some of the stories and people featured in the magazine throughout the course of the year. There is no panel of judges, the only votes that count are those from the readership in the public vote via the website, so it really is just down to you (collectively) as to who the winners are.
As in previous years, there are four main categories to vote for:
- Research Project of the Year
- Archaeologist of the Year
- Rescue Dig of the Year
- Book of the Year
The nominees in each category are as follows:
Research Project of the Year
- How to build a dolmen: exploring Neolithic construction at Garn Turne
- Maryport’s mystery monuments: investigating gigantic timber…
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The city, established as New Sarum in the 13th century, is a common jumping off point for visitors to Stonehenge. It is also famous for its original copy of the Magna Carta; the historic document is one of four original copies in existence.
“We are delighted Lonely Planet has recognised Salisbury as one of the Top 10 Cities in the World to visit,” VisitWiltshire’s CEO David Andrews said in a statement. “We are extremely proud of Salisbury’s history and heritage such as Salisbury Cathedral and Magna Carta, as well as our arts and culture, shopping, food and drink and nightlife. Salisbury is also a great base for visitors to experience popular attractions further afield such as Stonehenge, Avebury and our White Horses.”
Salisbury ranked No. 7 on the list, while Washington, D.C. took the top spot. Milan, Italy, and Vienna, Austria, also ranked on Lonely Planet’s top 10 list.
Salisbury, Stonehenge and South Wiltshire is a truly unique destination. Set among some of the most beautiful countryside and with a 5,000 year old history the area is steeped in history but with its eye firmly fixed on the future.
The Stonehenge Travel Company provide expert guided tours of Salisbury, Stonehenge, Avebury and Wiltshire, these depart from Salisbury or Bath. Coach tours of Salisbury departing from London are also available
Another attempt is to be made to solve the mystery of how the largest stones used to build Stonehenge were moved.
In 1996, a BBC TV programme aimed to find out how the stones for the largest trilithon were put into place, and how the lintel was placed on top.
Since then the concrete replicas have remained untouched and forgotten about at an army base on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire.
They have now been rediscovered and the experiment will be repeated.
Archaeologist Julian Richards is teaming up with farmer Tim Daw see if modern techniques are any more efficient.
Mr Daw, who farms at All Cannings, near Devizes, and who created the first “Neolithic” long barrow to be built in the UK for 5,500 years, also works part-time at Stonehenge.
He said one of the most popular…
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Click here for Membership benefitsMembership gives you a whole year of unlimited entry to Stonehenge, castles and gardens, historic houses and abbeys, and kids go free!
Special Exhibitions at Stonehenge
The new Stonehenge Visitor Centre has a changing programme of special exhibitions so membership means you can visit as often as you wish for free.
English Heritage Members’ Events
They have an exciting new programme of events throughout the year, exclusively for members.
Events include behind the scenes and underground tours, hands-on workshops and guided tours and historical walks.
Make the most of your membership this season and enjoy our events, designed just for you.
Bringing History to Life: Enjoy free or discounted entry with your Membership
If you fancy hearing roaring tales of battle from a Viking warrior, sussing out some spy skills, becoming a top hobby horse knight or just embarking on a fun-filled trail or quest – you’ve come to the right place! With child-friendly tea rooms and hands-on exhibits, we have everything you need for a day out with the family.
- Some of the English Heritage attractions in the Wiltshire area:Stonehenge
Old Wardour Castle
Bratton Camp and White Horse
Farleigh Hungerford Castle
West Kennet Long Barrow, Avebury
Silbury Hill, Avebury
Hatfield Earthworks (Marden Henge)
Visit only three of the possibilities and the pass will pay for itself!
Stonehenge now has a transformed visitor experience, with a new world-class visitor centre, housing museum-quality permanent and special exhibitions, plus a spacious shop and café.
To be assured of entering Stonehenge you must reserve tickets in advance. If you have an English Heritage pass or are a National Trust or English Heritage member and are entitled to free entry you still need to obtain (free) tickets in advance.
The true meaning of this ancient, awe-inspiring creation has been lost in the mists of time. Was Stonehenge a temple for sun worship, a healing centre, a burial site or perhaps a huge calendar? How did our ancestors manage to carry the mighty stones from so far away and then, using only the most primitive of tools, build this amazing structure? Surrounded by mystery, Stonehenge never fails to impress.
Includes complimentary audio tour and learn more about the mysteries surrounding Stonehenge.
The superb shop for souvenirs of your visit and unusual gifts.
A walk in the prehistoric landscape around Stonehenge to see some of the other monuments in the World Heritage Site.
Join now and save money……….
Stonehenge and Salisbury Guided Tours
If you have membership we will reduce the entrance fees from the cost of any guided tours you book with us- a significant saving!
When you think about the great cities across the country, it is always the big ones that spring to mind.
While the streets of London may be paved with gold and Liverpool may have been European Capital of Culture, there is one UK city that has overtaken them all to be in the top ten cities to visit in the world in 2015.
Salisbury may be thought as somewhere to stop for lunch after visiting Stonehenge but it is so much more than that. Historically, it is one of the most important places in the country and probably the best city in the UK for a tourist to visit.
And here’s why …
1. It’s the home of the Magna Carta
In 2015 the Magna Carta will be 800 years old and Salisbury is preparing to give it a grand birthday party. One of only four surviving copies can be found in the city and it is one of the most important documents in English history.
The Magna Carta formed the basis of our country’s law for centuries and was signed by King John at the behest of barons around the land.
2. There’s the world’s oldest mechanical clock
It may not be at the top of most people’s bucket lists but Salisbury does boast a mechanical clock from the middle ages that dates from 1386, which is housed in the 13th century cathedral.
It has been hailed as one of the UK’s forgotten jewels, though I expect the person whose job it is to wind it up everyday is very much aware of it.
3. The majesty of Salisbury cathedral
Built in the 13th century, the cathedral has the tallest spire in Britain. At 404 feet high, it is also the tallest masonry structure and was completed a whole century after the cathedral was finished.
The cathedral took 36 years to build and used over 70,000 tons of local stone which was back breaking work for some poor individuals.
4. See how a prime minister lived
When he wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle of running the country, Sir Edward Heath would retire to Arundells, his sanctuary in Salisbury.
Whilst here he would enjoy his grand collection of paintings, with an eclectic mix of originals from the likes of Winston Churchill to LS Lowry and now it is preserved for everyone to enjoy.
5. You can get a decent pint
With over 80 pubs in a relatively small town, there is plenty of choice if you fancy a couple of swift ones. The good news for the discerning ale drinker is that local brewery, Hop Back, own a number of the pubs and a great pint is guaranteed.
6. It is full of literary references
The Salisbury International Arts Festival is renowned worldwide and brings together some of the biggest names. The city is also the backdrop for Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure.
Less obscure is the fact that William Golding, who was a teacher in the city, used his spare time to write Lord of the Flies and thus become the bane of English Literature students for years to come.
7. Sir Christopher Wren inspired the architecture
He was born 382 years ago and was celebrated in a Google doodlerecently and he was born not that far away from Salisbury.
Whilst Christopher Wren may forever be linked with redesigning London after the Great Fire, he also had a hand in the architecture of his home city too.
He pointed out that the cathedral spire needed straightening (and strengthening), which probably went down a treat with the proud engineers who were involved with maintaining it.
8. Independent shops have flourished
With most town centres having a familiar look to them, Salisbury has become a whole lot more independent. All the usual big names can still be found, but it is individuality that is at the fore and boutique shopping should be your expectation.
Daily guided coach tours from London visiting Salisbury Cathedral and Medieval City.
Private guided tours of Stonehenge and Salisbury for and small groups
The Stonehenge Travel Company,
Stonehenge and Salisbury Guided Tours
Why Bonfire Night Is One British Tradition You Don’t Want To Miss
There are plenty of Guy Fawkes night celebrations taking place across Wiltshire in 2014. Many are free and some require tickets to be pre-purchased, so check out where you can catch the fireworks displays in Wiltshire this November and start planning your evening outside. Don’t forget your woollies!
Bonfire Night, Fireworks Night, or Guy Fawkes Night? Whatever you call it, the 5th November celebration is one of the best nights out you’ll have this winter! We have poor Guy Fawkes to thank for this uniquely British tradition that guarantees an explosion of fun on a gloomy November night!
Guy Fawkes’ grisly end and the beginning of Bonfire Night traditions
Guy Fawkes probably didn’t know he would become a legendary figure in English history when he opted to join in with the Gunpowder Plot! In 1605, Fawkes and a group of fellow conspirators planned to blow up King James I and his government. Unhappy with the King’s Protestant faith, the Catholics wanted to return England to its former beliefs.
After stashing 36 barrels of gunpowder underneath the Houses of Parliament, the plot was busted after a letter from one of the group to his friend in Parliament was intercepted by the King’s supporters. Guy Fawkes was arrested where he was hiding underneath the Houses of Parliament, tortured until he named his co-conspirators and then executed. Brutal!
Of course, that’s not the last that was heard of Guy Fawkes. An annual celebration takes place every year on 5 November to mark the anniversary of the failed Gunpowder Plot!
What happens on Bonfire Night?
- The highlight of 5 November is the fireworks display! Ranging from little to large, numerous fireworks displays take place on or around 5 November. Expect to be dazzled by colourful rockets, sparkling fountains and exploding Roman Candles.
- Hand-held sparklers are lit and used to create pretty patterns in the darkness.
- An effigy of Guy Fawkes is burned on bonfire, hence the term ‘Bonfire Night’. It’s not always Guy Fawkes who ends up on the fire though – often people will burn figures of modern day villains! The effigy is usually made with old clothes stuffed with newspaper or straw (burns like a dream!)
- Piping hot food is eaten to warm people up in the cold night air – think fluffy jacket potatoes, hot chocolate, filling stew and hot dogs!
Celebrate Bonfire night and enjoy firework displays in some beautiful settings in Wiltshire. Fireworks displays that we know of include:
- An early fireworks and bonfire night with ‘no big bangs’ at Roves Farm, near Swindon on 25 October.
- Firework Spooktacular, Royal Wootton Bassett Academy, 31 October, 6pm.
- Fireworks at Longleat at various dates during October until early November.
- Rotary Spireworks, Salisbury Livestock Market, 1 November.
- Chippenham Rotary Club Bonfire Night, 1 November.
- Bulkington Fireworks and Bonfire, 1 November, gates open 6pm.
- Malmesbury Bonfire Display organised by the Round Table held at St Aldhems Mead, 1 November start time approximately 6.30pm.
- Warminster Garrison Fireworks Display, Land Warfare Centre, 1 November, 6.30pm.
- The Lions Fireworks Spectacular and Funfair, Polo Grounds, Marlborough Road, Swindon, 1 November from 5.30pm.
- Fireworks at Lydiard Park, 1 November from 5.30pm.
- Highworth Fireworks, Highworth Recreation Centre, 1 November, 6.30pm.
- Cricklade fireworks display, Cricklade Cricket Field, Abingdon Court Lane, 5 November, 7.30pm.
- Melksham Fireworks Display, Forest Community Centre, 5 November.
- Bonfire and Fireworks evening, Heytesbury 7 November.
- Biddestone Fireworks display and bonfire, Village Hall, 7 November, 6.30pm
- Fireworks and Fun, Bishops Cannings, 7 November from 6pm.
- Bonfire and Fireworks, Crown Inn, Broad Hinton, 7 November, 5.30pm.
- Calne Bonfire and Firework display at Beversbrook Sports & Community Facility, 8 November.
- Christian Malford Bonfire Night, 8 November.
- Codford Fireworks evening, 13 November, 6.30pm.
- White Horse Country Park, Westbury, 13 November.
- Chitterne, 14 November, from 6pm.
London Firework Displays – click here
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Guided Tours of Stonehenge and the Salisbury area
SALISBURY has been announced as one of the top cities to visit in the world by the guidebook Lonely Planet in its latest edition – Best in Travel 2015.
Salisbury features seventh on the city list, above Vienna and Toronto, whilst Washington DC takes top spot.
VisitWiltshire’s CEO David Andrews said: “We are delighted Lonely Planet has recognised Salisbury as one of the Top 10 Cities in the World to visit.
“We are extremely proud of Salisbury’s history and heritage such as Salisbury Cathedral and Magna Carta, as well as our arts and culture, shopping, food and drink and nightlife. Salisbury is also a great base for visitors to experience popular attractions further afield such as Stonehenge, Avebury and our White Horses.
“Here at VisitWiltshire we are focused on growing the county’s visitor economy by raising awareness to increase tourism visits and spend.”
The leader of Salisbury City Council Andrew Roberts welcomed the news and is looking forward to a boost in tourism in 2015.
He said: “I am very pleased with the news. I think that Salisbury is a great place to visit and hopefully tourists will want to come to the city in 2015.”
With Salisbury Cathedral set to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta the book calls visitors to see a “quintessentially English city”.
Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015 contributor Tom Hall said: “We included Salisbury in this year’s Best in Travel Top 10 Cities list because it deserves to be recognised as one of the UK’s most important destinations for travellers next year.
“Bursting with history, top class restaurants, atmospheric nightlife and a host of festivals planned for 2015, we believe Salisbury is a must-see for domestic and international travellers alike.”
The full list is below:
- WASHINGTON, DC, USA
- EL CHALTÉN, Argentina
- MILAN, Italy
- ZERMATT, Switzerland
- VALLETTA, Malta
- PLOVDIV, Bulgaria
- SALISBURY, UK
- VIENNA, Austria
- CHENNAI, India
- TORONTO, Canada
by Alex Rennie, Reporter (The Salisbury Journal)
The Stonehenge Travel Company,
Stonehenge and Salisbury Guided Tours
Salisbury Museum is extremely proud to announce a new exhibition of national importance, throwing new light on the earliest work of the young artist J.M.W. Turner in and around Salisbury and its magnificent cathedral.
The museum is situated a few meters from Salisbury Cathedral in the historic town of Salisbury, where the 800 year-old Magna Carta will be displayed in 2015. Salisbury Museum is also less than 20 minutes by car from the ancient monument of Stonehenge, and houses a fabulous new gallery where the archaeology of Stonehenge can be explored.
Building on recent successes, particularly the 2011 exhibition exploring Constable’s links with the area, Salisbury Museum will showcase Turner’s meteoric rise as he worked for two very rich patrons in the Salisbury region.
Turner first visited Salisbury in 1795 when he was 20 years old. As his career developed, he returned to paint an area that captivated him as an artist. Set in the vast plains of the Wessex landscape, his depictions of Stonehenge in particular proved to be among his most hauntingly atmospheric works.
In the late 1790s, Sir Richard Colt Hoare commissioned Turner, then barely into his twenties, to produce a series of watercolours of Salisbury, the most impressive of which depict the newly restored great cathedral. Hoare was a wealthy gentleman-antiquarian who inherited the nearby Stourhead estate in 1784. His involvement in the first archaeological surveys of the ancient landscapes around Salisbury led him to publish volumes documenting the history of Ancient and Modern Wiltshire.
Another local patron, who gave the young Turner invaluable work, was William Beckford, described by Byron as ‘England’s wealthiest son’. Turner turned down a commission to work with Lord Elgin in Greece for a year, in favour of Beckford’s much more lucrative commission to paint the famous folly that Beckford was building at Fonthill.
The third part of this exhibition will chart Turner’s fascination with the wider Wessex region – spanning the area of Wiltshire around Salisbury, as well as the Dorset coast, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. It culminates in Turner’s record of the historic visit made by the French King, the first such visit to England since the fourteenth century, to Queen Victoria in 1844
The exhibition has been selected by Turner scholar Ian Warrell to build a picture of a brilliant young artist, driven by self-belief and limitless ambition, grafting his way in the world.
The inventive and dizzying watercolours at the heart of the exhibition, reassembled for the first time since 1883, will show how commissions from Wiltshire’s great patrons provided the crucial springboard for the career of one of England’s best-loved artists.
The Salisbury Museum
The Kings House
65 The Close
Another great reason to visit Salisbury in 2015!
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