Where was the Stonehenge Festival?

29 08 2013

Mike Pitts – Digging Deeper

 

All over the place really. On my first summer solstice visit in 1971 it was little more than a gaggle of people sleeping in the ditch around the stones. These two photos from Julian Richards’ excellent collection published by English Heritage show where it went from there: first immediately outside the earthwork to the south-west, so that it faced the rising sun on June 21; then across the road into what we call the Cursus field, National Trust land between Byway 12 and the Fargo Plantation. At its greatest extent it did run onto the Cursus itself (thanks for the comment, Francis Stoner), and spread eastwards into the Avenue field. Damage was reported at the time to the woodland at Fargo and to some of the barrows.

It’s high time a proper academic study was done of this story. There must be a great deal of information out there…

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A344 memories: Real archaeology at Stonehenge, as work continues to remove the road and car park

29 08 2013

Mike Pitts – Digging Deeper

car park panorama small

If you visit Stonehenge now – as huge numbers did in August – you’ll really see signs that things are changing. Work continues in the car park to prepare a turning circle at the end of what will be the stub of the old A344. The road itself as it once continued eastwards to Stonehenge Bottom has now all but gone, exposing the chalk below. Wessex Archaeology has been monitoring it, and has excavated parts of the two parallel Avenue ditches, and a small part of what looks like the lip of the Heelstone ditch, as Ollie Good kindly showed me.

My interest in this was naturally strengthened by my excavations immediately beside the road there in 1979 and 1980. We had several advantages over the modern archaeologists.

The team were almost all volunteers, archaeology students and staff from Southampton University, so brought considerable skill, but at no cost to…

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