Neolithic New Year Walk – Stonehenge Landscape

28 12 2012

Welcome in 2013 with a walk around the ancient monuments of the Stonehenge Landscape. Booking essential.

Stonehenge Landscape ToursAncient ceremonial landscape of great archaeological and wildlife interest

Within the Stonehenge World Heritage Site, the National Trust manages 827 hectares (2,100 acres) of downland surrounding the famous stone circle.

Walking across the grassland, visitors can discover other prehistoric monuments, including the Avenue and King Barrow Ridge with its Bronze Age burial mounds.

Nearby, Winterbourne Stoke Barrows is another fascinating example of a prehistoric cemetery. While Durrington Walls hides the remains of a Neolithic village.

The best approach to the famous stone circle is across Normanton Down, a round barrow cemetery dates from around 2600 to 1600BC.





Ancient Stonehenge ceremonial landscape midwinter Walk

11 12 2012

Ancient ceremonial landscape of great archaeological and wildlife interest

Within the Stonehenge World Heritage Site, the National Trust manages 827 hectares (2,100 acres) of downland surrounding the famous stone circle.

Stonehenge Landscape ToursWalking across the grassland, visitors can discover other prehistoric monuments, including the Avenue and King Barrow Ridge with its Bronze Age burial mounds.

Nearby, Winterbourne Stoke Barrows is another fascinating example of a prehistoric cemetery. While Durrington Walls hides the remains of a Neolithic village.

The best approach to the famous stone circle is across Normanton Down, a round barrow cemetery dates from around 2600 to 1600BC.

National Trust Link: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/stonehengelandscape/
More Stonehenge Landscape Tours: http://stonehengetours.com/stonehenge-prehistoric-wessex-walking-tour.htm

 

Stonehenge news blog sponosred by ‘Stonehenge Guided Tours

Merlin @ Stonehenge





Prehistoric Wiltshire. Sites of Significance

1 05 2012

If you are in doubt about the key role Wiltshire plays in the long history of these Islands, and that it has done so since the time humans first set foot on our soil, this book joins the growing scholarly titles from the excellent ‘heritage; publisher Amberley Publishing will dispel it.

Prehistoric Wilsthire

Prehistoric Wilsthire

This attractive book is the latest in a successful series from the Stroud-based publisher Amberley. (Amongst others, their titles include Prehistoric Gloucestershire by Tim Darvill, and John Aubrey and Stone Circles: Britain’s First Archaeologist by Aubrey Burl.) It is well written by a knowledgeable local archaeologist in a style that is pleasingly free of jargon, and opens with a fitting tribute from Francis Pryor.

As with some other titles in the series, this pocket-sized book is specifically designed as a field guide (at 235 x 165mm it is slightly larger than A5), in this instance describing nearly 50 of the most visible and accessible prehistoric monuments within the county of Wiltshire. The selected sites are grouped by topographic region (the Marlborough Downs, the Vale of Pewsey and so on), the majority situated on the chalk uplands. All the familiar forms of earthwork from causewayed camps and long barrows to round barrow groups and hillforts are covered. Appropriately, they include the monuments of the World Heritage Site centred on Avebury and Stonehenge, but information from the latest fieldwork in those areas ensures up-to-date coverage.

An introductory section provides a brief outline of the conventional sub-divisions of later prehistory (the Mesolithic to the Iron Age). Thereafter, details are offered on how best to reach each site: although there are no maps, National Grid References and useful directions are offered. Some of the sites are on private land and hence the book judiciously warns ‘this guide does not infer rights of way’, deferring to the county’s highway authority for the latest information on footpaths and bridleways. Nonetheless, it describes what can be seen at each site from the best publicly-accessible vantage points. The entries briefly describe the history of investigation at each site and summarize current understanding of its function and date.

The book is beautifully illustrated. The majority of the figures are the author’s own fine colour photographs, although some monochrome archival images are also used where necessary. Arguably the best views are the excellent oblique aerial photographs. Their use as an invaluable aid to comprehension recalls the local tradition pioneered by O. G. S. Crawford and Alexander Keiller in their 1928 work, Wessex from the Air. Evidently, the author enlisted the help of several pilots, employing a range of micro-light and private aircraft to gain the necessary perspective. Because the book focuses on visible sites, most of the subjects are obviously upstanding earthworks. Nonetheless, the photographs include a few soil-marks, crop-marks and excavations to emphasis that even in an area which boasts some of the country’s best-known monuments, many others have been lost from normal view.

It is well known that Wiltshire contains a remarkable number of well-preserved field monuments of various forms, and hence the author is in the enviable position of being able to select the most impressive. Because of the quality and visibility of its ancient monuments, Wiltshire is an ideal region to serve as an introduction for those unfamiliar with prehistoric remains, but equally it is an unceasing source of inspiration for the most experienced archaeologist. The field monuments are complemented by outstanding local museums whose displays reflect the long history of archaeological investigation within the county. Yet, despite the richness of their collections, these museums remain the responsibility of private trusts and societies that constantly struggle to find the necessary resources to conserve and exhibit their assets. It is most commendable, therefore, that Bob Clarke, the author, has written Prehistoric Wiltshire as a personal contribution to the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society’s fund raising effort to re-display the famous Bronze Age gallery at Devizes Museum. There are thus two compelling reasons to buy this excellent book – to guide you to some of the best prehistoric sites in Southern England, and to help display the spectacular objects found in some of those sites.

Sponsored by The Stonehenge Tour Companywww.StonehengeTourscm

Merlin says “Visiting Wiltshire ? Buy this book!”

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website





Mystery of Britain’s Largest Meteorite Solved. Found at Druids burial site near Stonehenge

10 02 2012

With a weight that rivals a baby elephant, a meteorite that fell from space some 30,000 years ago is likely Britain’s largest space rock. And after much sleuthing, researchers think they know where it came from and how it survived so long without weathering away.

Likely the largest meteorite found in Britain, this one spans about 1.6 feet (0.5 meters) across and has been on Earth some 30,000 years.

Likely the largest meteorite found in Britain, this one spans about 1.6 feet (0.5 meters) across and has been on Earth some 30,000 years.

The giant rock, spanning about 1.6 feet (0.5 meters) across and weighing 205 pounds (93 kilograms), was likely discovered by an archaeologist about 200 years ago at a burial site created by the Druids (an ancient Celtic priesthood) near Stonehenge, according to said Colin Pillinger, a professor of planetary sciences at the Open University.

Pillinger curated the exhibition “Objects in Space,” which opens today (Feb. 9th) and is the first time the public will get a chance to see the meteorite. The exhibition will explore not only the mystery that surrounds the origins of the giant meteorite, but also the history and our fascination with space rocks.

As for how the meteorite survived its long stint on Earth, researchers point to the ice age.

“The only meteorites that we know about that have survived these long ages are the ones that were collected in Antarctica,” said Pillinger, adding that more recently, some ancient meteorites have been collected in the Sahara Desert. This rock came from neither the Sahara Desert nor Antarctica, but rather the Lake House in Wiltshire.

“Britain was under an ice age for 20,000 years,” Pillinger told LiveScience, explaining the climate would have protected the rock from weathering.

At some point, the Druids likely picked up the meteorite when scouting for rocks to build burial chambers. “They were keen on building burial sites for [the dead] in much the same way the Egyptians built the pyramids,” Pillinger said.

Then, years later, an archaeologist with ties to other, famous archaeologists, likely found the rock while excavating the Druids’ burial sites, he said. The archaeologist then brought the rock back to his house in Wiltshire, where its more recent residents took notice and alerted researchers.

“The men whose house this was found at spent a lot of time opening these burial sites 200 years ago for purposes of excavating them,” Pillinger said. “Our hypothesis is that the stone probably came out of one of those burial chambers.”

The meteorite is called a chondrite, a group that includes primitive meteorites that scientists think were remnants shed from the original building blocks of planets. Most meteorites found on Earth fit into this group.

The much smaller meteorite on display at the Royal Society's exhibit was excavated from a grain pit where ancient peoples of the Iron Age stored their crops.

The much smaller meteorite on display at the Royal Society's exhibit was excavated from a grain pit where ancient peoples of the Iron Age stored their crops.

Other objects on display include a much smaller meteorite, weighing about an ounce (32 grams), and excavated from a grain pit where ancient peoples of the Iron Age stored their crops. It was discovered in the 1970s at Danebury Hill Fort in Hampshire, though it wasn’t until the 1980s when scientists analyzed metal in the walnut-size object did they realize its extraterrestrial origin.

The exhibition will also include a Damien Hirst “spot painting,” which features the famous Beagle 2 spacecraft as its center spot. In addition, part of Newton’s apple tree will be on display.

The story of how researchers are uncovering the origins of these impressive specimens will astonish and delight visitors to this remarkable exhibition, which also contains letters and books charting the history of scientific interest in meteorites.  

The Royal Society’s London headquarters will house the exhibit through March 30.

Follow LiveScience for the latest in science news and discoveries on Twitter @livescienceand on Facebook.
Sore: http://www.livescience.com

Sponsored by ‘The stonehege Tour Company’www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin says “Out of this world”

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website





Stonehenge Landscape Tour – Winter archaeology walk

31 01 2012

Stonehenge snow sceneWinter archaeology walk – Saturday, 04 February 2012

Explore the wider Stonehenge World Heritage Site with a guide and discover hidden histories, ancient mysteries and winter wildlife.

Enjoy a winter afternoon walk up on the downs learning about the ancient archaeology of the Stonehenge World Heritage Site and the area’s varied wildlife. On this three mile walk with views of the stone circle, we’ll visit ancient earthworks that have revealed much about the people who once lived and celebrated here. Talking points include the Cursus, the many and varied barrows, and an ancient avenue connecting ceremonial centres

NOTES:

Sponsored by ‘The Sonehenge Tour Company’ www.StonehengeTours.com

Melin says “This is a great tour of the Stonhenege landscape by The National Trust’

Merlin @ Stonehenge





Stonehenge: Up Close 12th December 2011

4 12 2011

Stonehenge access guided tourGain a rare and fascinating insight into the famous World Heritage Site with an exclusive tour around the site led by one of English Heritage’s experts. Start the tour with exclusive early morning access to the stone circle at Stonehenge accompanied by our expert. Visit key archaeology sites including Durrington Walls, Woodhenge and The Cursus and learn more about the archaeological landscape and investigative work that has gone on in recent years. Includes tea and coffee.

MEMBERS EXCLUSIVE EVENT

How to Book

Purchase your tickets today by calling our dedicated Ticket Sales Team on 0870 333 1183 (Mon – Fri 8.30am – 5.30 Sat 9am – 5pm). Please note: Booking tickets for this event is essential as places are limited 

Prices

Ticket price includes entry to event site only

TYPE PRICE
Member (Adult) £30.00
 
Link: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/events/stonehenge-up-close-s-12-dec/

Durrington Walls – is the site of a large Neolithic settlement and later henge enclosure. It is 2 miles north-east of Stonehenge. Recent excavation at Durrington Walls, support an estimate of a community of several thousand, thought to be the largest one of its age in north-west Europe. At 500m in diameter, the henge is the largest in Britain and recent evidence suggests that it was a complementary monument to Stonehenge

Woodhenge – Neolithic monument, dating from about 2300 BC, six concentric rings, once possibly supported a ring-shaped building.

Stonehenge Cursus –  (sometimes known as the Greater Cursus) is a large Neolithic cursus monument next to Stonehenge. It is roughly 3km long and between 100 and 150m wide. Excavations by the Stonehenge Riverside Project in 2007 dated the construction of the earthwork to between 3630 and 3375 BC. This makes the monument several hundred years older than the earliest phase of Stonehenge in 3000 BC.

Bronze Age round barrows – The Stonehenge UNESCO world heritage site is said to contain the most concentrated collection of prehistoric sites and monuments in the world. One monument type missed by the casual observer is that of the Bronze Age round barrow (burial mounds). As we walk through this landscape, you will come into contact with these intriguing ancient burial sites and through the expertise of our tour leaders, you will come face to face with the customs and people of Bronze Age society buried in close proximity to the unique stone circle of Stonehenge. Stonehenge Avenue – Walk along the Stonehenge Avenue and approach this unique stone circle as was the intended route experienced by the Stonehenge’s contempories.

Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’ www.StonehengeTours.com
http://www.stonehengetours.com/html/stonehenge_archaeology_avebury_landscape_tour.htm

Merlin says: The Stonehenge landscape is more important than the Stone Circle – do this tour with the English Heritage………..

Merlin @ Stonehenge

 







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