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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

 

Plains, Trains and Automobiles: Salisbury, Stonehenge and South Wiltshire is a truly unique destination

Take some time out and escape to Wiltshire this year. Find out more about this mysterious and beautiful part England. 

The newly completed Stonehenge visitor centre deserves an extended visit. We recommend staying in Wiltshire and Salisbury Plainexploring the surrounding area, rich in history, myths and legends.  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.

Salisbury is a bit of a rail hub with main lines and frequent trains going east to London, south to Southampton and west to Bath and Bristol.  Frequent trains run from London’s Waterloo station taking approximately 80 minutes to do the journey.  There are normally two trains an hour operating up until very late evening. During the week, the cheap tickets are not available until after the morning commuter rush. Don’t worry if your accommodation is in London, its very easy to get to Salisbury or Bath from London by train and the trains run till late so there is still time to get back to London last thing.

Here are some examples of how accessible Wiltshire is using the Inter-City services from central London:
• London (Paddington) – Bath and Bristol via Swindon (55 mins),Chippenham (70 mins)  and Great Bedwyn (90 mins).
• London (Waterloo) – Salisbury (90 mins) and Tisbury (103 mins).

Cathedral Steam TrainSalisbury is one of England’s most wonderful cities – a medieval masterpiece with something for everyone. From traditional English pubs to cosmopolitan street cafes and from hard-to-find specialist shops to major high street stores, you’ll find it in Salisbury. And at its heart there is the magnificent Salisbury Cathedral, towering over the city as it has for over 750 years. Step outside of the city and you are in another world. Green hills, crystal clear rivers and picturesque towns and villages just waiting to be discovered. And, of course, there’s Stonehenge. The world’s most famous stone circle stands just a few miles north of Salisbury – a must see destination.

Stonehenge Stone Circle is the most famous and enigmatic Megalithic site in the United Kingdom. Dominating the landscape of Salisbury Plain in the county of Wiltshire, the giant standing stones of Stonehenge – some weighing up to 50 tonnes – are a mysterious icon left by mysterious ancient peoples. You may have a special interest in burial chambers, the construction of Stonehenge, the purpose and culture of the people that built the henge.
English Heritage Stonehenge Visitor Centre. The fantastic new £27m visitor centre at Stonehenge is now open, offering tourists an interactive experience and the chance to examine prehistoric objects. Visitors are transported by shuttle bus more than a mile (2km) from the venue to see the stones.

Salisbury Plain
Discover prehistoric sites and rare species preserved on Salisbury Plain.  An ocean of grassland and a sweep of big sky. Ancient Private Guided Toursmonuments loom out of the mist; camouflaged soldiers crouch in the undergrowth. Salisbury Plain is a landscape of extremes. It is the largest remaining area of chalk grassland in Northwest Europe and home to 2,300 prehistoric sites yet also the largest military training area on British soil.

Avebury Stone Circle Avebury rivals – some would say exceeds – Stonehenge as the largest, most impressive and complex pre-historic site in Britain. Avebury is part of a wider complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments, with many other ritual sites in English Heritage care. West Kennet Avenue joined it to The Sanctuary, and another stone avenue connected it with Beckhampton. West Kennet Long Barrow and Windmill Hill are also nearby, as is the huge and mysterious Silbury Hill. This extraordinary assemblage of sites seemingly formed a huge ‘sacred landscape’, whose use and purpose can still only be guessed at. Avebury and its surroundings have, with Stonehenge, achieved international recognition as a World Heritage Site.

Mysterious Crop circles Salisbury Plain is well known for its crop circles and much mystery still remains as to why they occur and the meanings behind their complex formations. A tour of the ancient hills and vales of Wiltshire which are, inexplicably, the world capital of crop circles Crop circles in Wiltshire often occur around the heart of the county in and around Avebury, usually first appearing in April and continuing into the summer months.  Crop circle guided tours can be arranged from Salisbury or Bath

Guided Tours from Salisbury can return to Salisbury or why not make the most of your sightseeing and be dropped off in Bath, Southampton or even London. Popular destinations can include: Salisbury Cathedral and the Magna Carta | Old Sarum Hillfort | Stonehenge Stone Circle and the new visitor centre | Woodhenge and  Durrington Walls | Ancient Chalk Hill Figures | Pewsey valleys | Salisbury Plain and mysterious crop circles | Avebury Stone Circle | West Kennet Long Barrow | Silbury Hill | Lacock Village | Castle Combe Village | The Cotswolds | Glastonbury Tor and The Isle of Avalon

Needless to say private guided tours are bespoke and can be tailoured to suit your needs in the date(s) you wish to travel.  Stonehenge private access tours allow you to enter the inner circle of Stonehenge before or after it is officially open to the public.
A once in a lifetime opportunity!

We would be delighted to arrange a private guide tour of Wiltshire and help you with your Salisbury Travel plans.  Email us: tours@StonehengeTravel.co.uk or visit our website: http://www.StonehengeTravel.co.uk

Some Salisbury and  Stonehenge links:
Visit Wiltshire: Discover things to do and places to visit across Wiltshire. Plan your visit, book hotels and accommodation and find out what’s on in the county. http://www.VisitWiltshire.co.uk

Download the Visit Wiltshire Apps here: http://www.visitwiltshire.co.uk/plan-your-visit/apps

Magnificent Salisbury Cathedral with the tallest church spire in the United Kingdom, home to the finest of the four surviving original Magna Carta 1215: http://www.salisburycathedral.org.uk/

Old Sarum Hillfort: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/old-sarum/

Longleat Safari and Adventure Park, in Wiltshire, England was opened in 1966 and was the first drive-through safari park outside Africa: http://www.Longleat.co.uk

Wilton House is an English country house situated at Wilton near Salisbury in Wiltshire. It has been the country seat of the Earls of Pembroke for over 400 years: http://www.WiltonHouse.co.uk

Amesbury Museum & Heritage Centre: http://www.visitwiltshire.co.uk/ideas-and-inspiration/amesbury-museum-and-heritage-centre-p1536253

Salisbury & South Wiltshire Museum: Showcasing the medieval Cathedral town of Salisbury and the ancient wonders of Stonehenge. http://www.salisburymuseum.org.uk/‎

The Cathedral Express. Wonderful days out by steam train:  http://www.steamdreams.com/

English Heritage: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/stonehenge/

The Stonehenge Tourism Website: http://www.Stonehenge-Tourism.com

London to Salisbury Trains: http://www.thetrainline.com/

Discover Britain: http://www.discoveringbritain.org/walks/region/south-west-england/salisbury-plain.html

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

For Stonehenge and Salisbury News follow us on Twitter: @SalisburyTours

Local Wiltshire Tour Guide
The Stonehenge Travel Company

Stonehenge story to be retold in Wessex Gallery of Archaeology at Salisbury Museum

Salisbury’s exact connection to Stonehenge and the story of Bronze Age Britain will be told in spectacular style at a new gallery set to open next year

The remains of the Amesbury Archer, the Bronze Age man whose arrow-littered grave held the largest

Polished macehead made from gneiss, found with a cremation burial at Stonehenge (3,000 – 2,500 BC)

Polished macehead made from gneiss, found with a cremation burial at Stonehenge (3,000 – 2,500 BC)
© Salisbury Museum

collection of artefacts ever found in a burial from the era, will form the skeletal centre of a much-anticipated new gallery full of Stonehenge stories at Salisbury Museum.

A gneiss mace-head, found by Colonel William Hawley in 1924, and an axe and dagger which were found to match the carvings on stone 53 when they were discovered in 1953, will appear in the Wessex Gallery of Archaeology.

The £2 million space will knock through and combine the astonishing Pitt Rivers Archaeological Collection and the Early Man gallery.

Nottingham-based architects Metaphor will emphasise the theme of discovery in their design, with building beginning this week. Curators say the corridors will explain precisely why the Wiltshire town and its World Heritage Sites play a crucial part in the history of Britain, using timber flooring and glass-reinforced concrete to recreate the feel of the terrain through the centuries.

“By Christmas this year the major construction work will be complete,” revealed museum director Adrian Green, pronouncing himself “absolutely overjoyed” to be creating a “world class gallery of archaeology”.

“We are developing an integrated approach to the interpretation of Stonehenge.

“It means that the Salisbury Museum will be able to create exhibitions directly relating to new displays in the Stonehenge Visitor Centre.

“If you like, we will all be part of the same extended conversation.

“Metaphor have a very impressive CV. Their recent work includes the Holburne Museum in Bath and the Ashmolean, Oxford, in addition to smaller projects such as the refurbishment of the Museum of the Order of St John in Clerkenwell.”

Despite being Grade I-listed and facing Salisbury Cathedral, Green says the museum’s finds from Northern Europe have long been a “best-kept secret”, and expects the museum to “step out of the shadows” when the gallery opens next summer. Antler picks, animal bones, flint and stone tools, chalk plaques and pottery all feature.

The museum has already lent around 250 objects to the visitor centre at Stonehenge.
Full story: : http://www.culture24.org.uk/history-and-heritage/archaeology/megaliths-and-prehistoric-archaeology/art460402#.UqVl6oUD_Ug.twitter

If you are visiting Salisbury organise a private guided tour of Wessex with a local expert: http://stonehengetravel.co.uk

The Stonehenge Travel Company, Salisbury, England
Guided Tours of Stonehenge and Salisbury

 

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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