Antiquarians: John Aubrey 1626-1697

12 03 2013

The Heritage Journal

John Aubrey was born on this day, 12th of March, 1626 in Easton Piercy, a couple of miles north of Chippenham in Wiltshire, and was educated at Trinity College, Oxford.

From an antiquarian perspective, he is probably best known for including in a plan of Stonehenge a series of slight depressions immediately inside the enclosing earthwork. These depressions, 56 in all and excavated in the 1920’s, were found to be post holes for timber uprights, and were named ‘Aubrey Holes’ in honour of his original observations. There is however some doubt as to whether the holes that he actually observed are the same as those that currently bear his name.

As a pioneer archaeologist, who recorded (often for the first time) numerous megalithic and other field monuments in southern England, his most important contribution to the study of British antiquities was the lengthy “Monumenta Britannica”, which was never actually published…

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Stonehenge and Avebury: Ruskin at Avebury

12 03 2013

The Heritage Journal

Postcards to friends of the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site


In July 1882, the year in which Sir John Lubbock introduced the Ancient Monuments Protection Act, his friend, the highly influential John Ruskin, was to be found staying with Nevil Story Maskelyne and his wife Thereza at Basset Down House. Enjoying a picnic on the downs, Ruskin had visited Avebury:

“the day was delicious and there was a Druid circle and a British fort, and tumuli as many as you liked like molehills, and a Roman Road and a Dyke of the Belgae all mixed up together in a sort of Antiquary’s giblet pie it was like dreaming of the things, they were so jumbled up.”



This is part of a series of short “postcards” that anyone with something to share is welcome to submit, whether that is a digital snap and a “wish you were here”…

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