The Henge Hopper

3 04 2011

The Wiltshire Heritage Museum is planning to launch a bus service to link Stonehenge and Avebury. At the moment, it is extremely difficult to travel between the two, and the Museum hopes to be able to boost tourism in the Vale of Pewsey and the Avon Valley. They hope to launch a service in due course.

Stonehenge

Stonehenge

The Community Bus Service will be operated by minibuses, and the route would take in a range of archaeological sites and monuments in the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site, including Silbury Hill, West Kennet Long Barrow and Woodhenge.

The ‘hop on, hop off’ service would include free entry to the Wiltshire Heritage Museum in Devizes, encouraging people to discover the collections excavated from the World Heritage Site.

The Henge Hopper enables you to visit:

Avebury
Britain’s largest stone circle, at the centre of a remarkable complex of monuments, including stone circles, burial mounds, two stone-lined avenues and Silbury Hill.

Alexander Keiler Museum, Avebury Manor
Explore the world famous stone circle. The bus starts from just outside the Museum, which features fascinating finds from Alexander Keiler’s excavations at Avebury, and, in the barn, interactive displays bring the Avebury landscape to life. Explore also Avebury Manor and its wonderful garden. Cafe, toilets and shop.

Silbury Hill
The largest man-made mound in Europe, mysterious Silbury Hill compares in height and volume to the roughly contemporary Egyptian pyramids.

West Kennet Long Barrow
One of the largest, most impressive and most accessible Neolithic chambered tombs in Britain. Built in around 3650 BC, it was used for a short time as a burial chamber, nearly 50 people being buried here before the chambers were blocked.

Wansdyke / White Horse Trail
Massive Saxon defensive ditch and bank running along the top of the North Wessex Downs. Walk along the Wansdyke, following the White Horse Trail, with stunning views over the Vale of Pewsey.

Marden Henge
Britain’s largest henge, Excavations in 2010 have revealed much about its fascinating story.

Alton Barnes White Horse
Dominates the landscape of the Vale of Pewsey.

Adam’s Grave / Wansdyke
Neolithic chambered tomb on the summit of the Downs. Walk along the Wansdyke, following the White Horse Trail.

Stonehenge

The most sophisticated stone circle in the world, at the centre of a remarkable sacred landscape. Includes the cursus, a 3km long earthwork and the Avenue, leading from the River Avon.

Winterbourne Stoke

The most impressive barrow cemetery – a Neolithic long barrow and a line of Bronze Age burial mounds.

Normanton Down
Cemetery of over 50 round barrows, including the famous Bush Barrow.

Amesbury

Amesbury is an attractive small town embraced by a loop of the River Avon as it cuts through the high plateau of Salisbury Plain. The town has served the needs of travellers for centuries. Highlights include the Amesbury is the closest settlement to Stonehenge.

Durrington Walls / Woodhenge
Durrington Walls is a massive henge, the site of the recent discovery of Neolithic houses, where the people who used Stonehenge may have lived. Nearby is Woodhenge, where excavations showed a series of concentric circles of wooden posts, enclosed by a bank and ditch.

Where to Stay
Local accomodation listed by VisitWiltshire.

Alternatvley you could join a guided sightseeing coach tour with ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’ or a privat tour with ‘Histouries UK’ or ‘SalisburyGuidedTours‘ based is Salisbury

The Henge Hopper – http://www.stonehenge-avebury-bus.org.uk/
Stonehehenge Tour Companies – http://www.stonehenge-stone-circle.co.uk/stonehenge-tours.htm

However you get there, get there…………………….

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website





How Stone Age man kept his pores clean… in the SAUNA

28 02 2011

The remains of a 4,500-year-old sauna have been discovered by archaeologists excavating a Stone Age temple.
They unearthed the foundations of the building at Marden Henge, near Devizes in Wiltshire. Located close to the River Avon, the neolithic ‘sauna’ was in a key position overlooking a ceremonial area at the site.

English Heritage’s Jim Leary said: ‘The building brings to mind the sweat lodges of the native North Americans and the reason for that sauna or sweat lodge interpretation is that the floor plan was utterly dominated by a large hearth – so large in fact there does not appear to be any space for living, cooking or doing anything much at all.

‘It is also located very close to the River Avon and would have had a ready source of water, which is a necessary criteria for a sweat lodge. ‘If it was a sweat lodge then perhaps one could envisage it being used for purification ceremonies within the henge.

‘Unfortunately we’ll never know exactly what it was for – that’s the nature of archaeology.’

Marden Henge, which has no standing stones, is located on a line which connects stone circles at Stonehenge and Avebury but remains a mystery for archaeologists. Some believe the huge Stonehenge megaliths were stored there after being dragged from Avebury.

Mr Leary said: ‘The relationship between the three monuments is interesting. They are broadly contemporary and one wonders what the interaction between them must have been – were they competing with one another or were they used by the same communities but for different occasions and ceremonies? ‘We don’t know the answer yet

Merlin @ Stonehenge





The heat was on at Marden Henge

14 02 2011
Marden henge’s chalk foundations contained a sunken hearth which could have been used for purification ceremonies

Marden henge’s chalk foundations contained a sunken hearth which could have been used for purification ceremonies

A building whose foundations were unearthed during an excavation at Marden Henge near Devizes last summer could have been a Neolithic sauna.

Archaeologist Jim Leary told his audience at Devizes town hall on Saturday that the chalk foundations contained a sunken hearth that would have given out intense heat.

“It brings to mind the sweat lodges found in North America,” he said. “It could have been used as part of a purification ceremony.”

Also found was a midden or rubbish heap with dozens of pig bones, some still attached, likely to be the remains of a huge feast that took place 5,000 years ago.

Mr Leary was supposed to give his talk at the museum, but such was the interest in his subject that it was transferred to the town hall. All 150 tickets were sold and people queued for returns.

Mr Leary said Marden Henge is the biggest henge in England but because it did not have a stone circle associated with it, tended to be overlooked. Before Professor Geoffrey Wainwright examined its northern sector in 1969, it had not been investigated since the early 19th century.

A huge mound, like a smaller version of Silbury Hill, named Hatfield Barrow, once existed there, but it collapsed after a shaft was dug through its centre and was levelled shortly afterwards.

The English Heritage team investigated that area as well as two sites further south, and it was at the area known as the Southern Circle that they made their most exciting discoveries.

It was in the bank of this henge within a henge that they found the chalk floor. Mr Leary described the dig as a work in progress. He said: “We are at a very early stage and there is a lot more to be found. But our fate is in the hands of the government cuts.

“Clearly there is more work to be done, at least another season, but we need funding to do any further investigation.”

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Website








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