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In 1549, when the infamous Henry VIII was on the throne, Salisbury was the 7th biggest city in the country and its cathedral was the tallest building – some must of predicted great things for the city at the time…
Today, Salisbury is the UK’s 262nd largest settlement- but it still has the UK’s tallest
cathedral, which itself possesses the largest cathedral close and the longest cathedral cloisters. Besides, Salisbury is still alive with the history of its former glory, every street steeped in intrigue or beauty of some kind, a truly delightful place to visit. Wandering the streets, you will give thanks that it hasn’t maintained its position in the top ten cities, but what will you see?
Since 1258 Salisbury cathedral has been the most important building in Salisbury. And since the spire was added in 1320 it has towered over the city, standing at 123m. It is the unignorable pride of the city (The only reason we can call Salisbury a city at all).
A fine example of early gothic architecture, as a spectacle, the cathedral in itself is reason enough to visit. Those with a keener eye will also notice the tilt of its spire; caused by shallow foundations (and inspiration for William Golding’s The Spire)
Yet, inside the cathedral is where you can find one of the most valuable treasures of all – an original copy of the Magna Carta. Displayed in the cathedral’s chapter house, the 804 year old document is shielded from any natural light. The document represented an agreement to lessen the powers of the King, still considered an important early symbol of liberty today.
Salisbury’s market is a crucial part of its identity – and has been since it began in 1219! Today, the market runs twice a week on Tuesdays and Saturdays and is still as varied and vibrant as it has always been.
Salisbury also contains a variable treasure trove of antiquated buildings.
One of the most famous is John a’Port’s House and William Russel’s House, located in the Market Place next to Guildhall. They are regarded as the oldest buildings in Salisbury – instantly recognisable by their twinned white and black timber frames.
Everywhere you go you encounter history – The Salisbury Tourist Information Centre on Fish Row occupies a 14th century former fishmonger. Even the Odeon Cinema on Salisbury’s New Canal inhabits a 15th century Tudor mansion.
And if you fancy some refreshments but still want to remain an antiquarian- The Haunch of Venison, a pub, is over 800 years old- complete with its own folklore – a severed hand and a secret tunnel leading to a church.
As old as it is, Salisbury wasn’t always here! In fact, it was preceded by Old Sarum, a near prehistoric site, the remains of which are still visible today. 2 miles north of Salisbury or New Sarum, the settlement it was abandoned for in 1190- the walls of the cathedral close are built from stones taken from the site! Hand in hand, Salisbury and old Sarum bridge over 2,000 years of history. It is worth the walk up the hill to visit the ruins of Old Sarum – which hosted both Romans and Saxons in its time.
So why not visit Salisbury? Take a walk-through centuries of British history, see how it has blended with the modern day, see the magnificent cathedral that still towers over us, see the pubs, the market, the beautiful cathedral close, take a walk up to old Sarum and cast your mind back thousands of years- doesn’t sound like such a bad day?
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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.
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.
“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.”
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
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It’s a question that has plagued archaeologists and stone enthusiasts for centuries: what’s the deal with Stonehenge?
No one has ever been quite sure where the famous circle of giant bluestones came from or how they came to be arranged in such a precise formation in the wilds of Wiltshire.
A recent paper from researchers at UCL suggested that the stones were collected in at quarries Carn Goedog and Craig Rhos-y-felin around 5,000 years ago, then dragged from Wales to Wiltshire by men.
But archaeologists writing the Archaeology in Wales journal says that UCL got it all wrong.
This newer report says there are “no traces of human intervention in any of the features” that the UCL researchers “so excited”.
Instead, the Arachaeology in Wales paper’s authors, Dr Brian John, Dr Dyfed Elis-Gruffydd and John Downes, think they have evidence that suggests the rocks were moved by glaciers.
Accusing the UCL team of getting carried away by a good yarn, Dr John wrote, “There is substantial evidence in favour of glacial transport and zero evidence in support of the human transport theory.
“We think the archaeologists have been so keen on telling a good story here that they have ignored or misinterpreted the evidence in front of them.
“That’s very careless. They now need to undertake a complete reassessment of the material they have collected.”
Visit Stonehenge and explore the ancient landscape with a local expert tour guide and hear all about the many new theories. Our Stonehenge Special Access Tours allow you to enter the inner circle and walk freely amongst the Stones at sunset or sunrise
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26-space coach park is set to be built at Stonehenge and will operate for two years, councillors in Wiltshire have 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
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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
Five Neolithic houses have been recreated at Stonehenge to reveal how the ancient monument’s builders would have lived 4,500 years ago.
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
“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
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Wiltshire Museum boss David Dawson believes the new Stonehenge Visitor Centre will benefit the museum and vice-versa.
The museum, based in Devizes, recently opened new Prehistoric Wiltshire galleries which have helped to draw more visitors, but is also making sure Devizes has a high profile at the new Stonehenge Visitor Centre.
The museum is lending some 50 objects, including gold treasures, to the centre and they will be seen by the million visitors that go to Stonehenge each year.
English Heritage is encouraging people to visit the rest of Wiltshire, and especially to see the Prehistoric galleries at Wiltshire Museum.
Museum director Mr Dawson said: “Since our new galleries opened we have more than tripled the number of visitors, and we look forward to welcoming more people who are visiting Stonehenge to come and see the gold treasures that we have just put on display from the time of Stonehenge.”
Wiltshire Museum, Telling Wiltshire’s Story
500,000 years of Wiltshire’s story told in a brand new £750,000 gallery featuring high quality graphics and leading-edge reconstructions: http://www.wiltshiremuseum.org.uk/
Reported in the Gazette and Herald:
Our guided tours from Salisbury can include a visit to the excellent Wiltshire Museum?
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