Archaeologists unearth Bronze Age artefacts and Neolithic graves at proposed Stonehenge tunnel site.

7 02 2021

All kinds of ancient artefacts have been found at the A303 site. Recent excavation has uncovered late Neolithic and Bronze Age artefacts and human remains

The Guardian reports that archaeologists have examined some 1,800 test pits and more than 400 trial trenches along the path of the proposed controversial two-mile A303 tunnel at Stonehenge. The A303 road, which currently runs close to Stonehenge, will in future enter a 3km long dual-carriageway tunnel that passes through part of the ancient site, removing any vehicles from the view of visitors.

Archaeologists unearth bronze age graves at Stonehenge tunnel site

A Neolithic burial site, a mysterious Bronze Age C-shaped enclosure and ancient tools and pottery have been found by archaeologists carrying out work at the proposed new road tunnel at Stonehenge.

Wessex Archaeology’s investigations uncovered evidence of human activity dating back more than 7,000 years at the planned A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down Scheme sites.

Archaeologists have put in a huge amount of work into preliminary investigations, including more than 462 hectares of geophysical survey and 440 evaluation trenches.

One of the two Beaker-period burials found near the site of the proposed Stonehenge road tunnel. (Image: Wessex Archaeology)

One of the most fascinating discoveries is a small shale object – found in the grave of a female in her 20s or early 30s.

The burial dates to the Beaker period, around 4,500 years ago, when new types of pottery and other objects appear in Britain. This period also saw the building of some of the bluestone circles at Stonehenge.

“It’s a unique object: we have never seen one before,” says Dr Matt Leivers, A303 consultant archaeologist at Wessex Archaeology.

“Although not hugely significant, we can only speculate about what it was – it may have been a ceremonial cup purposefully damaged before it was laid in the grave, or it may be the cap off the end of a staff or club.”

Nearby pits from the same period were found to contain other traces of human activity, including fragments of pottery, worked flint for tools, and animal bones.

Archaeologists also discovered tiny ear bones from a young infant in one of the pits, buried alongside a plain Beaker.

Elsewhere, a C-shaped enclosure dating to the late Bronze Age is thought to have been an area for industrial working, due to the density of burned flint contained in the soil around it.

The investigations have informed the main archaeological fieldwork, due to begin on site in late spring this year. The main phase of fieldwork will involve around 100-150 archaeologists and last approximately 18 months ahead of construction starting on site in 2023.

Andy Crockett, A303 Project Director at Wessex Archaeology says:

“We’ve done a huge amount of initial work which has been extremely thorough – more so than any site I’ve worked on in my 40-year career – reflecting the sensitivity of this site. We now have a very clear idea of what we expect to find in the upcoming main fieldworks. Everything we find will be processed, conserved and analysed by the specialists in our Research department. We’ll also be drawing on the expertise of our partners in the archaeological sector, so that we make sure that the best possible outcomes are achieved for the archaeology.”

Ultimately, all finds will be delivered to Salisbury Museum to be displayed to the public.

David Bullock, A303 Project Manager, Highways England, says:

“It is a scheme objective to conserve and enhance the World Heritage Site and this is being achieved through close collaborative working with heritage groups, the independent A303 Scientific Committee, and our archaeology contractors Wessex Archaeology, who have an extensive track record of work in connection with the Stonehenge landscape.

“The route itself has been designed to ensure there are no direct impacts on scheduled monuments and the amount of archaeological survey and mitigation work is unprecedented because, in recognition of the significance of the WHS, the surveys are over and above what would have usually been done at this stage of a highway project.

“As part of the extensive archaeological surveys to date, we have uncovered some interesting but not unexpected finds, and we are now preparing plans with Wessex to start further archaeological excavation work later this year. This will be monitored on site by Wiltshire Council Archaeology Service, and members of the independent A303 Scientific Committee and A303 Heritage Monitoring and Advisory Group.”

Stonehenge References:
Archaeologists unearth bronze age graves at Stonehenge tunnel site – The Guardian
A303 Stonehenge evaluation works uncover glimpses of prehistoric life – Wessex Archaeology
Archaeologists unearth Neolithic graves at Stonehenge tunnel site – Somerset Live
Bronze Age graves and Neolithic pottery discovered near proposed new road tunnel could shed light on makers of the stone circle – The Daily Mail
Discoveries at Stonehenge highlight controversial new tunnel’s threat to heritage – The Art Newspaper
Stonehenge tunnel discovery: Ancient civilisation evidence found under A303 – The Express
Bronze Age Graves Uncovered At Stonehenge During Tunnel Excavations – Ancient Origins
Stonehenge Archaeology Guided Tours – Stonehenge Tour Company
Lost Bronze Age graves discovered at Stonehenge tunnel site after 4,000 years – The Sun
Scrap Stonehenge road tunnel plans, say archaeologists after neolithic discovery – The Guardian
Stonehenge Walking Tours – Stonehenge Guided Tours

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Ancient Craft at Stonehenge. Neolithic to Bronze Age living history!

2 03 2019

Ancient Craft will be at Stonehenge to demonstrate Neolithic to Bronze Age living history and crafts! Ancient Craft have decided to have two days focused towards the Neolithic and the second two on the Bronze Age. There will be a camp where you can watch crafts like flintknapping, cordage making, grain grinding, cooking and bronze casting! There will be two experienced prehistoric crafts people to show you lots of different objects and skills from the time of Stonehenge so don’t miss out!

EVENT DATE: 22nd April at 10:00 – 25th April at 16:00

ancient-craft

Details will be available on the English Heritage website soon!

What is AncientCraft?

AncientCraft is dedicated to the archaeology of primitive crafts and technologies during prehistory – mainly focused on the Stone Age and Bronze Age. This includes references to materials such as lithics (also known as “flintknapping”), wood, bone, horn, leather, metals and cloth (linen and wool).

AncientCraft was setup and is run by James Dilley, an archaeologist and craftsman who specialises in prehistoric technologies and has around 16 years experience of flintknapping and other ancient crafts. James has worked with museums and heritage sites such as The British Museum and Stonehenge as well as media companies such as the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, The Discovery Channel, National Geographic and Dorling Kindersley publishing. The outreach objective of AncientCraft is to encourage people of all ages to explore prehistory through their own research or by practising prehistoric skills. By working with museums or media outlets it is possible to provide a unique view of prehistoric archaeology as James is an academic at the University of Southampton with a strong practical background. It is this combination of academic understanding of prehistoric archaeology, and strong roots in crafts from the Palaeolithic – Bronze Age that makes AncientCraft one of the most popular prehistoric displays for museums in the UK and Ireland.
Their Facebook page shows some of the things James gets up to with AncientCraft across the UK and Ireland from living history events and workshops to some of the replicas being made for museum displays or film work.
You can also visit the website via www.ancientcraft.co.uk

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Bronze Age burial near Stonehenge discovered by badger

9 02 2016

A Bronze Age cremation burial has been discovered near Stonehenge after being accidentally dug up by a badger.

bronze-age-find

An archer’s wrist guard and shaft straighteners were among the objects discovered

Objects found in a burial mound at Netheravon, Wiltshire, include a bronze saw, an archer’s wrist guard, a copper chisel and cremated human remains.

Experts believe the burial may have been that of an archer or a person who made archery equipment.

The artefacts date back to 2,200-2,000BC, senior archaeologist Richard Osgood, of the MOD, said.

The burial mound, about five miles north of Stonehenge, lies on MOD land.

Mr Osgood, from the MOD’s Defence Infrastructure Organisation, said it was “an exciting find”.

“It was utterly unexpected. These are wonderful artefacts from the early Bronze Age, about 2,200-2,000 BC,” he said.

wilts-map

Other archaeological finds in Wiltshire:

1. Bronze Age burial discovered by a badger

2. Soldiers uncover 27 ancient bodies at Barrow Clump on Salisbury Plain

3. Researchers find large Neolithic site at Durrington Walls

4. Stonehenge dig finds 6,000-year-old encampment at Blick Mead

5. Bronze Age child’s skeleton discovered at Wilsford henge

6. Bronze Age jewellery discovered in a Wiltshire field

7. Iron Age woman’s footless body found near West Knoyle

8. Bronze Age hoard found near Tisbury


Also among the finds were shaft straighteners for straightening arrows, and pieces of pottery.

Mr Osgood said the badger had dug out the cremation urn and sherds of pottery were lying on the surface when they were spotted.

A full archaeological dig was then carried out on the site.

Mr Osgood said: “There are badger setts in quite a few scheduled monuments – the actions of burrowing animals is one of the biggest risks to archaeology in Britain – but to bring out items of this quality from one hole is unusual.

“We would never have known these objects were in there, so there’s a small part of me that is quite pleased the badger did this… but it probably would have been better that these things had stayed within the monument where they’d resided for 4,000 years.”

Injured military personnel and veterans helped to excavate the site.

The items are due to be put on display at Wiltshire Museum in Devizes later this year.

Read the full story (source) on the BBC website

The Stonehenge News Blog





Crown jewels of Stonehenge go on dazzling display: new prehistory galleries opening 14th October!

12 10 2013

In September 1808, William Cunnington, who was Britain’s first professional archaeologist, wrote to his patron to tell him that he had discovered what were to become known as the crown jewels of the “King of Stonehenge”.

On Monday, some of the treasures he found will go on permanent public display for the first time.

Gold from the time of Stonehenge:  new prehistory galleries at the Wiltshire Bush Barrow LozangeMuseum in Devizes Opening on 14 October, a completely new display over 4 galleries will tell the story of the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site.

On display for the first time are dozens of gold items dating to the time of Stonehenge. Many were found Bronze Age burial mounds within sight of Stonehenge, and were worn by people who worshipped inside the stone circle. These nationally important objects have never been on permanent display, and are now on show as part of this £750,000 gallery development at the Wiltshire Museum – home of Britain’s richest Bronze Age collection.

The centrepiece of the stunning new displays is Britain’s most important Bronze Age burial. The Bush Barrow chieftain lived almost 4,000 years ago and was buried in a barrow overlooking Stonehenge wearing the objects that showed his power and authority – including a gold lozenge, a ceremonial mace and a gold-decorated dagger. Axes and daggers like those found in the grave are carved onto the Sarsen stones at Stonehenge. The precision and design of the Bush Barrow lozenge proves that the people who built and used Stonehenge had a detailed knowledge of mathematics and geometry. The gold finds from Bush Barrow have never before been on permanent display in Wiltshire.

The image alongside show Sebastian Foxley of the Wiltshire Council Conservation Service and David Dawson, Director, moving the Stonehenge Urn to its new home.

Wiltshire Heritage Museum: http://www.wiltshireheritage.org.uk/news/index.php?Action=8&id=162&page=0

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Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge News Blog





Telling the story of prehistoric Wiltshire.

18 08 2013

The Wiltshire Museum in Devizes is opening new prehistory galleries in the autumn.

The centrepiece of the stunning new displays are the objects buried with the Bush Barrow Chieftain almost 4,000 years ago. He was buried close to Stonehenge with the objects that showed his power and authority– a gold lozenge, a ceremonial mace and a gold-decorated dagger.These are just some of the rich Bronze Age objects that are on display for the first time in new high security showcases. Gold ornaments, amber necklaces, ritual costume, polished stone axes and bronze daggers tell the story of the people who lived at the time when Stonehenge, Avebury and Marden henges were great ceremonial centres.

Bronze Age artefacts on show at the Wiltshire Museum

Bronze Age artefacts on show at the Wiltshire Museum

 

The displays feature models and full-size reconstructions that bring archaeology to life. There is lots for children to do, with trails and quizzes, a chance to build Stonehenge and Bronze Age clothes to try on.

Some of the important Bronze Age gold finds from the museum will be on loan for display at the new Stonehenge visitor centre. This is part of an integrated strategy to encourage visitors to Stonehenge to explore Wiltshire and to visit the museums in Devizes and Salisbury. These new displays have been developed with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage and the North Wessex Downs AONB

More details here: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/content/imported-docs/k-o/megalith-jul2013.pdf

Museum link: http://www.wiltshireheritage.org.uk/

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge News Blog

 





Archaeologists uncover Pagan skeletons at housing development near Stonehenge

21 05 2013

Archaeologists have discovered six Pagan Saxon skeletons dating back over 1,000 years on a housing development site just a few miles from Stonehenge.

Wessex Archaeology

Wessex Archaeology

The discoveries, which also include round barrows dating back to the Bronze Age 4,000 years ago, were unearthed at a redundant brownfield development site in Amesbury, Wiltshire, which is also famous for the Amesbury Archer – an early Bronze Age man found buried among arrowheads.

The remains are thought to be those of adolescent to mature males and females. Five skeletons were arrayed around a small circular ditch, with the grave of a sixth skeleton in the centre. Two lots of beads, a shale bracelet and other grave goods were also found, which suggest the findings are Pagan.

The site is now being excavated for other artefacts by Wessex Archaeology, led by Phil Harding, known for his work on Channel 4’s Time Team, while colleagues back at the unit’s laboratory examine the remains and jewellery, which have already been removed.

Phil said: “Given that the Stonehenge area is a well-known prehistoric burial site, it was always very likely some interesting discoveries would be made here. The fact that these round barrows were previously unknown makes this particularly exciting.

“Finding the skeletons also helps us to get a clearer picture of the history of this area. To my knowledge these are the first Pagan Saxon burials to be excavated scientifically in Amesbury. “

Landowner Aster Group is building 14 affordable homes at the redundant brownfield site, which will be available to rent from 2014.

Anna Kear, Aster’s regional development director for Hampshire and Wiltshire, said: “Wiltshire is a treasure trove of archaeology, drawing people from across the world.

“Discovering a burial site in this beautiful county is always a possibility when building affordable homes. We’re working with everyone involved to ensure Phil and his team can investigate this exciting find while the build continues.”

Contractor Mansell, a Balfour Beatty brand, was preparing the site for the build when it made the discovery.

Site manager Brian Whitchurch-Bennett, of Mansell, said: “When we’re working in an area of historical importance we always undertake archaeological investigations to make sure that our construction works don’t damage hidden remains or artefacts. The findings within this particular site really are a one off, we’ve been amazed by the number of discoveries and the level of preservation. It’s certainly a project to remember.”

The archaeologists are expected to be on site for six weeks in total. Footage from the site may also be included in an archaeological production for ITV’s History Channel, due to be aired in January 2014.

Source: Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com: http://www.24dash.com/news/housing/2013-05-17-Archaeologists-uncover-Pagan-skeletons-at-housing-development-near-Stonehenge

Merlin @ Stonehenege
The Stonehenge News Blog








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