Exploring Prehistoric Wessex

1 10 2016

Visit atmospheric and inspirational sites and museums and follow a trail from Avebury and Stonehenge to Dorchester and Maiden Castle.

1. SILBURY HILL prehwsxmap
The largest man-made mound in Europe, mysterious Silbury Hill compares in height and volume to the roughly contemporary Egyptian pyramids.
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Details on English Heritage website

2. AVEBURY
With its huge circular bank and ditch and circles of standing stones, Avebury is at the centre of a remarkable ritual landscape. Visit the Alexander Keiller Museum and Avebury Manor.
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Details on National Trust website

3. WINDMILL HILL
Causewayed camp, set on a commanding hilltop above Avebury. Used for rituals, feasting and trading.
Details on English Heritage website

4. WEST KENNET LONG BARROW
The most impressive and accessible Neolithic
chambered tomb in Britain.
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Details on English Heritage website

5. WILTSHIRE MUSEUM
See Gold from the Time of Stonehenge in our award-winning new Prehistoric Wiltshire displays. See the spectacular treasures of the people who held their ceremonies at Stonehenge.
Open 7 days a week. Satnav: SN10 1NS
www.wiltshiremuseum.org.uk

6. 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 – a processional way lined with the Winter solstice.
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Details on English Heritage website

7. DURRINGTON WALLS
A massive henge, the site of the recent discovery of Neolithic houses, where the people who gathered from across Britain to build Stonehenge may have lived.
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Details on National Trust website

8. OLD SARUM
The original site of Salisbury – a Norman castle and cathedral, set within the impressive ramparts of an Iron Age hillfort.
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Details on English Heritage website

9. SALISBURY MUSEUM
Stunning new Wessex Gallery of Archaeology
featuring the famous ‘Amesbury Archer’
and unique finds from Stonehenge,
Old Sarum and Durrington Walls.
Open Mon – Sat & Sun (in summer). Satnav: SN1 2EN
www.salisburymuseum.org.uk

10. ANCIENT TECHNOLOGY CENTRE
Visit for special Open Weekends and Ancient Days. Experience the realities of daily life in the past and learn ancient skills and crafts in an authentic landscape
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Ancient Technology Centre website

11. DORSET CURSUS
The banks and ditches of a Neolithic cursus runs for six miles, surrounded by barrow cemeteries. Contact in advance to arrange a tour and to visit the private museum at Down Farm.
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Dorset Cursus

12. KNOWLTON HENGE
An impressive Neolithic henge, with a Norman church built inside the bank and ditch.
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Details on English Heritage website

13. DORSET COUNTY MUSEUM
Discover the story of Dorset’s rich landscape
unfolding in a range of fascinating displays.
Find out about Maiden Castle and the stunning
Bronze Age finds from nearby Clandon barrow.
Open Mon – Sat & Sun (in summer). Satnav: DT1 1XA
www.dorsetcountymuseum.org

14. MAIDEN CASTLE
The largest and most complex Iron Age hillfort
in Europe. Multiple ramparts once protected
an important settlement, but the site has 4,000
years of history, from a Neolithic causewayed
enclosure to a small Roman temple.
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Details on English Heritage website

HOW TO GET HERE BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT
You can use coaches, trains & buses to visit many of these sites & museums.
Swindon – train connections & the
No.49 bus to Avebury & Devizes
Devizes – coach from London &
the No.2 bus to Salisbury
Salisbury – train connections, the Stonehenge Tour
bus service & the No.183 to Blandford Forum
Dorchester – train connections & the
No.184 from Blandford Forum

WHERE TO STAY
Details of quality assured accommodation:
http://www.visitwiltshire.co.uk
http://www.visitdorset.com

SPECIALIST TOUR OPERATORS
Stonehenge Guided Tours (London)
Stonehenge and Salisbury Guided Tours (Salisbury)
Wessex Guided Tours (Bath)

The Stonehenge News Blog





Dorset history experts turn Stone Age home-makers.

14 05 2013

A team of Dorset archaeologists have been brought in to help with the £27 million project to transform the visitor experience at Stonehenge.

Stone age homes construction smallStaff from Dorset County Council’s Ancient Technology Centre (ATC), at Cranborne, have been commissioned by English Heritage to test build three Neolithic houses and help discover how Stone Age man fashioned his homes.

Working at the historic site of Old Sarum, near Salisbury, the ATC team (with the help of English Heritage volunteers) is constructing the houses using the same tools and locally sourced materials as their Stone Age counterparts.

The final constructions will go on permanent display at the new Stonehenge visitor centre early next year.

Susan Greaney, senior properties historian at English Heritage, said:

“The reconstructed houses will be an immediate and sensory link to the distant past and will bring visitors as close as they can to appreciate what life was like for the extraordinary individuals who built Stonehenge.”

An excavation at Durrington Walls near Stonehenge revealed evidence of the houses believed to be seasonal homes of the people who built the ancient monument 4500 years ago, uncovering floors and stakeholes where the walls once stood. But above ground, the appearance of the structures is unknown. One of the aims of the project is to test different materials and structures to see which ones work best.

The Ancient Technology Centre (part of Dorset County Council’s Outdoor Education Service)  is an educational facility which provides a unique blend of hands-on ancient skills and crafts activities, long-term construction projects and an opportunity for children of all ages to experience the realities of past life.

The staff’s extensive expertise and experience made them ideal candidates for the Stonehenge project. The team have gathered materials for the huts from Garston Woods in Sixpenny Handley and the Cranborne Estate, and are using traditional Stone Age flint axes and tools to carry out the work.

ATC manager Luke Winter, who is leading the project and guiding the volunteers said:

“The evidence from Durrington Walls brought to light the remains of several types of building. We’re trying to reconstruct what they looked like above ground. We’re testing lots of different thatching and walling methods, and new questions about how the Neolithic people lived are appearing every day.”

The experimental Neolithic houses at Old Sarum are open to the public, with a chance to ask questions and view demonstrations, from Saturday, 25 May to Monday 27 May, between 11am and 5pm. For more information please call English Heritage Customer Service on 0800 333 1183.

You can keep up to date with this project via the Ancient Technology Centre  webpage.

For more information, please contact: Dorset County Council

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge News Blog








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