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Monthly Archives: October 2016

Massive 25 ton stones of Stonehenge may have come from further afield

Stonehenge News and Information

The builders of Stonehenge are known to have sourced the smaller bluestones used in the 5000-year-old monument from Wales.

But a new theory suggests that the entire monument might have come from elsewhere, even the huge 25 ton Sarsen stones which make up the large circle of the Wiltshire megalith.

unesco-stonehenge_3293166a-large-large_trans2oueflmhzzhjcyuvn_gr-bvmxc2g6irfbtwdjolshwg The huge sarsens at Stonehenge could have come from elsewhere

Katy Whitaker, of the University of Reading, will present a new paper at symposium at University College London next month suggesting that the sarsens could have come from sites as far away as Ken.

“Most people are aware that some of Stonehenge’s stones came all the way from south-west Wales,” she said.

“The really huge sarsen stones at Stonehenge are assumed to have come from sources on the Marlborough Downs in Wiltshire, about 30km to the north of Stonehenge. Sarsen stone, however, is found in other locations across southern England.

“There are…

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Visit the Amesbury History Centre

For a town which has such a close association with Stonehenge, a history of royal patronage, military activity and Arthurian legend, it has always seemed strange to me that there was no museum or interpretation centre.

In 2012 that situation changed when the Town Council purchased Melor Hall on Church Street and with the help of a team of volunteers created what has become the Amesbury History Centre.

ahc

The centre is open from 10am until 3.30pm, Tuesday to Saturday, and is an excellent starting point for your exploration of this remarkable area. Tour groups and educational visits are welcomed and you can book in advance to have exclusive access to the facilities.

Exhibits and displays tell you about the discovery of the Mesolithic hunter-gatherer settlement at Blick Mead which dates back at least 10,000 years and has led the Guinness Book of Records to label Amesbury as the longest continually inhabited settlement in Britain.

Finds from the University of Buckingham’s archaeological digs from the last several years are on show, from Mesolithic flint tools and bones of prehistoric cattle called aurochs through to the astonishing magenta pink flints that are found in the spring.

interior-view

You can also learn about the discovery of the Amesbury Archer, a Bronze Age burial found in 2002 when a new housing estate was being built in the town.

This man was obviously someone of huge importance because he was buried with extensive grave goods including five beaker pots, three copper knives, 16 barbed flint arrowheads, some boar’s tusks, a flint-knapping and metalworking kit and two beautiful gold hair ornaments – the earliest gold yet found in England.

Analysis of the Archer’s teeth indicates that he wasn’t a local man, but had travelled from central Europe. He may have been one of the first metalworkers to bring his skill to Britain.

Amesbury’s fascinating history continues through the Iron Age, Roman Britain, Anglo-Saxon times and beyond. There is a tale that the legendary King Arthur’s wife Guinevere retired to a convent in the town.

Outside of legend, Henry III’s wife Eleanor of Provence was buried within the grounds of Amesbury Abbey in 1291 although her burial place has been lost and she is the only Queen of England with no known grave.

In more modern times, the military have had a large presence in the surrounding area beginning over 100 years ago with the use and eventual purchase of land on Salisbury Plain for their training.

Nearby, military aviation began at Larkhill in the early 20th century and later Boscombe Down airfield – Britain’s “Area 51” – was the site of the development of many types of experimental aircraft.

All these stories are told in the History Centre, which also has an extensive reference library, maps, interactive models and souvenirs as well as excellent tea and cakes.

Outside in the car park there is the famous mural that used to adorn the wall of the underpass that led up to Stonehenge from the old visitor centre, so if you’ve ever had your photo taken pretending to climb over the stones into the middle of the monument, you can recreate it here.

mural

The Amesbury History Centre has its own website (http://www.amesburyhistorycentre.co.uk/) where you can find out more.

Article submitted by local historian Simon Banton

We now include the centre on our Stonehenge private guided tours from Salisbury.

The Stonehenge Travel Company
The Local Stonehenge Tour Experts
http://www.StonehengeTravel.co.uk

 

Wiltshire’s Story in 100 Objects: Salisbury Museum 8th October – 7th January

The Salisbury museum is proud to take its turn as host for The Wiltshire’s Story in 100 Objects project, managed by the Wessex Museums Partnership and funded by Arts Council England. This project aims to shine a spotlight on the diverse and important collections warminster-jewel
that Wiltshire’s museums collect, care for and interpret, using 100 carefully selected objects to celebrate the rich history of the county from 10,000 BC to the present day.

See hundred of carefully selected objects celebrating the rich history of the county from 10,000 BC to the present day.

Saturday, October 8, 2016 to Saturday, January 7, 2017
The Salisbury Museum

Stonehenge and Salisbury Guided Tours
http://www.StonehengeTravel.co.uk

 

Dog tooth found near Stonehenge ‘evidence of earliest journey’

A tooth unearthed near Stonehenge shows dogs were man’s best friend even in prehistoric times, it has been claimed.

The tooth, dug up at Blick Mead in Wiltshire, is believed to be evidence of the earliest journey in British history.

Tests found the dog was born in the York area

Tests found the dog was born in the York area

It is thought to be from a pet Alsatian-type dog that travelled 250 miles from York with its owner.

Archaeologist David Jacques said it was significant as it was not known people travelled so far 7,000 years ago.

The shape and size show the tooth was from a domestic dog, he said.

It also suggests people were visiting Stonehenge 2,000 years before the monument was built.

‘New understanding’

“The fact that a dog and a group of people were coming to the area from such a long distance away further underlines just how important the place was four millennia before the circle was built,” Mr Jacques said.

“Discoveries like this give us a completely new understanding of the establishment of the ritual landscape and make Stonehenge even more special than we thought we knew it was.”

You can find more stories about archaeology on our Pinterest board

Bones found near the tooth suggest the dog would have feasted on salmon, trout, pike, wild pig and red deer.

Researchers at Durham University used carbon dating to discover the age of the tooth and isotope analysis on the enamel.

Mr Jacques, a senior research fellow at the University of Buckingham, said: “We know it was probably born in the area of York.

“It was drinking from the area when it was young, it went on a journey of about 250 miles to the Stonehenge area with people and it ate what the people were eating on this site at Blick Mead.

“You would not get a wolf travelling 250 miles but you’re much more likely to get a dog doing that because it’s travelling with its people.”

Previous excavations have uncovered tools from Wales and the Midlands and evidence people lived near Stonehenge for long periods of time, near the natural springs used hollowed out tree trunks for shelter.

Full story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-37574881

Join us on a guided tour and explore Stonehenge and the nearby landcaspe. rich in archaeological finds.

Stonehenge and Salisbury Guided Tours
The Local Stonehenge Experts
www.StonehengeTravel.co.uk

 

DNA to Durrington Walls: New British Archaeology

Mike Pitts – Digging Deeper

British Archaeology 151.jpgI’m excited about the new British Archaeology. It looks good, and it’s full of interesting things. On the cover is a symbol of the revolutionary changes sweeping through archaeology, led by fast-moving developments in science. It’s a story of ancient DNA.

The DNA of living people is widely used to investigate ancestry, but there are problems with interpreting the results. These were avoided when, for the first time, three separate projects considered identity and migration in England using ancient DNA from excavated skeletons. In all 32 individuals were examined, of iron age, Roman and Anglo-Saxon date. In a major feature, with the help of key scientists and archaeologists involved, we review the discoveries and the science behind them.

Skipsea castle.jpgOur lead news story is about the great iron age mound in Yorkshire, up to now assumed to have been raised as a medieval motte. Only excavation will reveal what was really…

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Exploring Prehistoric Wessex

Stonehenge News and Information

Visit atmospheric and inspirational sites and museums and follow a trail from Avebury and Stonehenge to Dorchester and Maiden Castle.

1. SILBURY HILLprehwsxmap
The largest man-made mound in Europe, mysterious Silbury Hill compares in height and volume to the roughly contemporary Egyptian pyramids.
Satnav SN8 1QH
Details on English Heritage website

2. AVEBURY
With its huge circular bank and ditch and circles of standing stones, Avebury is at the centre of a remarkable ritual landscape. Visit the Alexander Keiller Museum and Avebury Manor.
Satnav SN8 1RF
Details on National Trust website

3. WINDMILL HILL
Causewayed camp, set on a commanding hilltop above Avebury. Used for rituals, feasting and trading.
Details on English Heritage website

4. WEST KENNET LONG BARROW
The most impressive and accessible Neolithic
chambered tomb in Britain.
Satnav SN8 1QH
Details on English Heritage website

5. WILTSHIRE MUSEUM
See Gold from the Time of Stonehenge in our award-winning…

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The Great West Way: Wiltshire to star in long-distance touring route.

VisitWiltshire has secured funding for its plan to create one of the world’s long-distance touring routes between London and Bristol with about a quarter being in Wiltshire.

avebury-great-west-way

Avebury is one of the World Heritage destinations to be highlighted on the Great West Way

The project is currently operating under the working title of ‘The Great West Way’, and aims to create a world class tourism experience, winning new business and market share for Britain, raising awareness, boosting the visitor economy and transforming the visitor experience along and around the route.

‘The Great West Way’ is one of a number of successful projects to receive funding from the £40m Discover England Fund administered by VisitEngland.

It is a Government-funded programme of activity aimed at offering world-class English tourism products to the right customers at the right time and will be supported by match funding from partners in the public and private sectors.

VisitWiltshire is leading on the project with a £250,000 grant to be spent between October and March 31, 2017.

The project will include:

  • Concept testing and case study analysis
  • An environmental assessment and economic impact study
  • Developing a brand proposition and messaging for the route
  • Developing new pilot itineraries for launch in key target markets.

Those supporting the bid include Local Enterprise Partnerships and towns along the route, transport operators, arts and heritage organisations, World Heritage Sites and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, tour operators, guiding companies and a wide range of tourism businesses.

Sally Balcombe, VisitEngland chief executive, said: “We had an exceptionally high number of submissions far outweighing the allocated funding available and following a rigorous applications process we are delighted to work closely with those excellent winners on building world-class ‘bookable’ tourism products showcasing the best of England to international and domestic visitors.

“VisitWiltshire’s project will test the concept of a long-distance touring route in England that will promote places to visit and stay and feature an outstanding, high quality local food and drink offer, providing visitors with a new and exciting experience of rural England.”

And David Andrews, chief executive of VisitWiltshire, said: “We are delighted to have secured funding for this project, and particularly pleased that it has been so well received by so many partners.

“We now have the opportunity to open up a new touring corridor to encourage visitors to travel west of London, creating compelling road, rail, canal, cycling and walking tourism experiences.

“For an international visitor, this route presents many of England’s most iconic attractions – London, Bristol and Bath, the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site, Windsor, Castle Combe, Lacock and the Cotswolds.

“The aim of the project is to encourage visitors to tour and explore more of the region using a range of new itineraries to experience less-well known areas, slowing and lengthening visits.

“This new project will create a new and exciting addition to England’s existing tourism offer.”

The Discover England Fund was announced by the Government in November 2015, which is aimed at supporting tourism partly through joined-up geographies, themes and transport.

Article by Bruno Clements Wiltshire Times

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