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Great News for Tour Operators as New Stonehenge Coach Park Plans are Approved.

 26-space coach park is set to be built at Stonehenge and will operate for two years, councillors in Wiltshire have agreed.

A temporary coach park will be built near to Stonehenge, Wiltshire Council has agreed

A temporary coach park will be built near to Stonehenge, Wiltshire Council has agreed

English Heritage will convert farmland next to the existing coach park and will include walkways for pedestrians.

Concerns had been raised over increased traffic, landscape impact and what would happen after the two-year period.

Wiltshire Council’s conditions include ensuring the land can easily be returned to its original state.

Last month, the council rejected plans to resurface an overflow car park on the grounds of visual impact on the landscape.

More than 1.3 million people have visited the prehistoric monument since the opening of a new visitor centre in December 2013.

Seven councillors approved the vote, with three against and one abstaining

Full story on the BBC news website

The Stonehenge Travel Company
Guided Tours of Stonehenge from Salisbury

U.K Travel Tip: Free entry to Stonehenge with an English Heritage Visitor Pass!

Free entry to Stonehenge and their collection of over 400 historic properties throughout England. Membership gives you a whole year of unlimited entry to Stonehenge, castles and gardens, historic houses and abbeys, and kids go free! Click here for Membership benefits

NOTE: There is a special temporary overseas visitor pass (9 – 16 days) available to none UK residents and tourists visiting Britain. Click here to see howJoin English Heritage this tourist pass could save you money

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 Sarum
    Old Wardour Castle
    Bratton Camp and White Horse
    Nunney Castle
    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 Highlights:

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!

The Stonehenge Travel Company, Salisbury, Wiltshire
Mystical Landscape, Magical Tours
Proud Member of Visit Wiltshire

http://www.StonehengeTravel.co.uk

English Heritage has opened five recreated Neolithic houses, in the shadow of Stonehenge.

The recently built Neolithic houses built by volunteers next to the new Stonehenge visitor centre have proved popular with tourists.  Overseas visitors have found them fascinating. This recent international article in Newsweek gives an indepth insight:

Stonehenge Reconstructions Show Brits Have Always Been Houseproud

English Heritage has opened five recreated Neolithic houses, in the shadow of Stonehenge, revealing how the builders of the monument lived 4,500 years ago. At first glance, we could be forgiven for thinking they were built in the modern age. Certainly, their building techniques are very similar to those used on Victorian cottages in nearby Wiltshire villages. The walls were made from cob, a mixture of the local chalk and hay, slapped, when wet, onto seven-year-old hazel stakes. These walls were then topped with thatched roofs, made from knotted straw tied onto a woven hazel frame.neolthic-houses

Far from being dark, little Hobbit spaces, the interiors are surprisingly bright, illuminated by the white chalk walls and floors, and open door. A tall man can easily stand up straight inside. In the middle of the room, the ash-log fire on the hearth sends up smoke, which seeps through the thatch. As the smoke slowly dissipates, it creates a thin carbon dioxide layer against the straw that stops any spark from the fire igniting the thatch. As if that weren’t ingenious enough, the thatch expands in the rain, providing an even more waterproof membrane.

The houses are pretty small – around 5m across – but they were certainly big enough to hold a family: English Heritage has managed to fit in 15 people easily into a single house, gathered around the fire.

It wasn’t just the architecture that was astonishingly avant-garde. Furniture in 2,500 BC, when Stonehenge and these cottages were thought to have been built, was pretty advanced too. Neolithic man slept on animal skins on wooden beds, with cupboards and shelves carefully inserted into the wall. In the house and outside the front door, there were handy pits, filled with handsome, striped pottery, known as “grooved ware”, the first pottery in Britain with a flat base. The pits also contained a selection of flints and animal bones, carved to create every conceivable mod con. Near Stonehenge, archaeologists have found chalk axes, bone tweezers, flint awls for piercing holes in bone and leather, flint saws and flint “fabricators” to create sparks for igniting fires.

The beauty of these objects – and the advanced engineering of the houses – seems particularly astonishing when we consider how early on in European, and global, civilisation they were made. In 2,500 BC, the Great Pyramid was being built at Giza, in Egypt. It was 500 years before the Minoan civilisation flourished at the Palace of Knossos; 900 years before the Mycenean civilisation in mainland Greece; and 2,000 years before the Parthenon was constructed. Jesus Christ is 500 years closer to us today than he was to the people who lived in these houses

Constructed over five months by 60 English Heritage volunteers, the buildings were closely based on the remains of Neolithic houses discovered in 2006 and 2007 at Durrington Walls, a ceremonial earthwork enclosure just north-east of Stonehenge. Radiocarbon dating has placed that settlement at about the same time that the mammoth sarsen stones from north Wiltshire, and the smaller bluestones from south Wales, were being raised at Stonehenge. So they’re among the earliest houses ever found in Britain.

Just like those nearby Wiltshire villages today, Durrington Walls consisted of a series of these cottages – and there may be 100s more, yet to be found – clustered closely together, but separated by woven wooden fences.

Again like lots of modern villages, Durrington Walls was built next to the River Avon – a crucial water source, home not just to trout and salmon, but to beavers and otters, much prized for their fur. Edible plants grew in the nearby damp soil, and red deer came to drink at the water’s edge. Deer antlers were used both as pickaxes and rakes to build the ditch and banks that circle Stonehenge. One red deer antler pick was found, laid carefully right on the floor of the ditch, perhaps to celebrate the end of the work.  

The Flintstone diet wasn’t so different to ours, either: surviving cow and pig bones, some of them still with butchering marks on them, reveal a meat-rich diet, although there’s little trace of any cereal grain.

Already at this early stage, there are plenty of signs of human migration by water, too. The Amesbury Archer – whose burial was discovered in 2002, 5km east of Stonehenge – was born in the Alps, probably in what is now Switzerland. His origins were found thanks to chemical analysis of his teeth. The Amesbury Archer is thought to have been buried in 2,400 BC, a century after Stonehenge was built.

His body was surrounded by a glittering array of treasures: three copper knives, 16 flint arrowheads and a pair of gold hair ornaments, the earliest gold found in Britain. He was also buried with two archers’ stone wrist-protectors, which gave him his moniker. Alongside him, there were five delicately-carved and shaped Beaker pots, which gave their name to the neolithic Beaker culture, which spread right across western Europe, from present-day Holland to Spain, France and Germany.

The more archaeological research is made into Stonehenge man, the more evidence emerges that Britain wasn’t some remote backwater in the Neolithic Age, waiting for the Romans to provide it with the basics of civilised life. In the new Stonehenge visitors’ centre, hidden in a fold of Salisbury Plain close to the stones, there stands the skeleton of another early Neolithic Briton – whose recent bone analysis reveals quite how advanced this supposedly primitive civilisation was. The skeleton – excavated from a long barrow at Winterbourne Stoke, 3km west of Stonehenge – belonged to a man active in 3,000 BC, when the first earthwork enclosure at Stonehenge was built. Examining the enamel in his teeth – and the levels of strontium and oxygen, elements which vary in quantity from location to location – archaeologists have determined that he was probably born in Wales, moved to Wiltshire at two, went back to Wales at nine, and then shuttled between Stonehenge and Wales from 11 to 15. These regular journeys might explain the Welsh bluestones at Stonehenge – they were religious and sentimental reminders of the old country. This Neolithic man wasn’t so different from us. He was 1.72m, only 25mm shorter than the average British male today. He was 76kg, and lived off a classic West Country diet of dairy products and meat – mostly beef, mutton and venison.

Dr Simon Mays, the English Heritage scientist who carried out the bone analysis, determined that he’d led a peaceful life, with no injuries apart from a damaged knee ligament and a torn back thigh muscle. There was no sign of any illness, disease or nutritional stress in the body. He seems to have died in his late 20s or 30s. Life expectancy was a lot shorter, then, but what’s clear is that the great British obsession – class – was already alive and well 5,500 years ago. Our man was buried in one of the area’s grandest mausolea – and was initially the only body there, until he was joined around a thousand years later by other bodies in less prominent spots in the 82m-long grave.

There are around 350 of these long barrows in Britain. Half of them had no one buried in them at all; another quarter had five to 15 people in them; and only a quarter were allotted to a single person. So we are dealing with a major toff here, moving between his various smart residences in Wales and Wiltshire. A second home for the rich is nothing new.

The Durrington Walls houses may also help unlock one of the great secrets of mankind -–what was Stonehenge actually for? No one can be definitively sure but one of the most popular current theories is that it was a sort of holy cemetery. Its circles of cold stone, with cremated human bones all around, have been called “the land of the dead”. This is contrasted with “the land of the living” – with the timber houses of Durrington Walls, next door to another circular monument, Woodhenge, also built out of timber. Just walking around the Neolithic houses, we begin to see why this part of the West Country is so rich in Neolithic and Bronze Age finds. Not only is the open, rolling country so well-suited to farming – as it still is today – but also it’s purpose-built for house construction.

As visitors stroll around Stonehenge, they still kick up great lumps of chalk, studded with fragments of flint – the same chalk that built those ancient houses, the same flint that lit those long-extinguished ash fires. Suddenly, the Stone Age doesn’t seem so far away.

Stonehenge Reconstructions Show Brits Have Always Been Houseproud
http://www.newsweek.com/2014/06/20/meet-flintstones-265268.html

Neolithic House Project: Stonehenge builders’ ‘bright and airy’ homes re-created

Five Neolithic houses have been recreated at Stonehenge to reveal how the ancient monument’s builders would have lived 4,500 years ago.

Neolithic houses at Stonehenge

More than 20 tonnes of chalk, 5,000 rods of hazel and three tonnes of wheat straw were used

The single-room, 5m (16ft) wide homes made of chalk and straw daub and wheat-thatching, are based on archaeological remains at nearby Durrington Walls.

Susan Greaney, from English Heritage, said the houses are the result of “archaeological evidence, educated guess work, and lots of physical work.”

The houses open to the public, later.

The “bright and airy” Neolithic homes are closely based on archaeological remains of houses, discovered just over a mile away from Stonehenge.

Dated to about the same time as the large sarsen stones were being erected, English Heritage said experts believe they may have housed the people involved with constructing the monument.

Excavations at Durrington Walls, not only uncovered the floors of houses but stake holes where walls had once stood – providing “valuable evidence” to their size and layout.

“Far from being dark and primitive, the homes were incredibly bright and airy spaces” – Spokesman English Heritage

Neolithic houses at Stonehenge

Sited by the new visitor centre, the houses are furnished with replica Neolithic axes, pottery and other artefacts

“We know for example, that each house contained a hearth and that puddled chalk was used to make the floor,” said a spokesman for English Heritage.

“And far from being dark and primitive, the homes were incredibly bright and airy spaces with white chalk walls and floors designed to reflect sunlight and capture the heat from the fire.”

‘Labour of love’

Using authentic local materials including 20 tonnes of chalk, 5,000 rods of hazel and three tonnes of wheat straw, it has taken a team of 60 volunteers five months to re-create the homes.

Susan Greaney, a historian at English Heritage, said it had been a “labour of love” and an “incredible learning experience” for the volunteers.

“One of the things we’re trying to do at Stonehenge is to re-connect the ancient stones with the people that lived and worked in the surrounding landscape,” she said.

“Now visitors can step through the door of these houses and get a real sense of what everyday life might have been like when Stonehenge was built. ”

They are furnished with replica Neolithic axes, pottery and other artefacts

Article source: BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-27656212

Link: http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2014/jun/02/neolithic-houses-recreated-at-Stonehenge

English Heritage: https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/stonehenge/discover/neolithic-houses/

Stonehenge Neolithic Houses Blog

We operate guided tours of Stonehenge.  Learn more about the Neolithic Houses and explore the Stonehenge Landscape with a local expert.

The Stonehenge Travel Company, Salisbury, Wiltshire
Mystical County, Magical Tours

Stonehenge Community Open Days: 20th February and 20th March

There are still some spaces left for the 20th February and 20th March open days from 12pm -2pm at the new Stonehenge Visitor Centre. These are free events but you must pre book and call 0870 3331183 stating Stonehenge Community Open Days as the event you want to book onto.  You can book up to 4 people and must be a Wiltshire resident.

The Stonehenge Learning and Outreach Group with ourselves, Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum, English Heritage Stonehenge open daysWiltshire Museum Devizes, Wessex Archaeology and National Trust will meet this week and share their learning events that are happening too.

Join us for a series of open days for the local community at the new Stonehenge visitor centre, featuring a special tour with Susan Greaney, Senior Properties Historian and Lisa Holmes, Community Projects manager.

Come and find out about the making of the exhibition, the opportunities for local voices to contribute to future exhibitions and how you will be able to make use of the centre for learning events.

www.english-heritage.org.uk/stonehenge

Community Heritage Ambassador
Stonehenge and Salisbury Guided Tours

 

New pre-historic galleries at Wiltshire Museum, Devizes

The Wiltshire Museum in Devizes has just opened 4 new fantastic pre-historic galleries following a £750,000 project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage, Wiltshire Council, the North Wessex Downs Area of Natural Beauty and other sources.

Wiltshire Heritage MuseumFor the first time for many years some of the “crown jewels” of Stonehenge can be viewed in state of the art exhibition cases.  It includes the largest collection of Early Bronze Age gold ever put on public display in England.

David Dawson, Director of Wiltshire Museum said: “Devizes is mid-way between two of the world’s most important ancient monuments – the great prehistoric stone circles of Stonehenge and Avebury. Visiting the Wiltshire Museum completes the experience of seeing these two iconic sites.

A visit to the Wiltshire Museum is essential to really understand the rich history of the WHS and life in the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age.

You can read about the new galleries here.

Stonehenge visitor centre opens on 18 December and the new interpretation gallery features loans from Wiltshire Museum.

The Salisbury Museum opens its newly refurbished prehistoric galleries in Spring 2014.

Links: http://www.stonehengeandaveburywhs.org/new-galleries-at-wiltshire-museum-devizes/
Links: http://www.wiltshiremuseum.org.uk/news/?Action=8&id=163&home=1

Our guided tours from Salisbury will be including this fascinating museum in 2014.

Stonehenge Guided Tours, Salisbury

 

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