Walking the Dead: Exploring the Stonehenge Ceremonial Landscape

20 02 2016

A guided tour of the amazing collections of the Wiltshire Museum, followed by a guided walk from Durrington Walls to Stonehenge. This full day tour will be led by Museum Director, David Dawson.

10:30 am, Saturday, 21st May, 2016

walking-deadThe morning visit to the Museum starts at 10.30am and the walk begins at 2pm. We should reach the Stonehenge Visitor Centre at about 5.30pm.

The day begins with coffee and a guided tour of the Wiltshire Museum. The early story of Wiltshire is told in new galleries featuring high quality graphics and leading-edge reconstructions. On display are dozens of spectacular treasures dating to the time of Stonehenge and worn by people who worshiped inside the stone circle.

The tour is followed by a light lunch,

The walk will take approximately 3.5 hours, and starts at Durrington Walls and Woodhenge, close to the River Avon. The route passes the Cuckoo Stone, a megalithic standing stone, before following the Apple Track – a WW1 light railway. The route then passes the prehistoric Cursus, before passing the Bronze Age barrows of Kings Barrow ridge.

The route then follows the Avenue – the Neolithic ceremonial route that leads to Stonehenge following the line of the solstice.

At Stonehenge, you have three options:

1. Visit Stonehenge. This is free for English Heritage and National Trust members, but is not included in the cost. If you are not a member, then you should book your visit online from the English Heritage and you should choose a timed ticket for about 4.30 pm. You can then take the English Heritage shuttle bus to the Stonehenge Visitor Centre.
2. Continue to the Cursus barrows and the Western end of the cursus, before continuing to the Stonehenge Visitor Centre.
3. Take the English Heritage shuttle bus to the Stonehenge Visitor Centre and purchase a well-earned snack and cup of tea.

At about 5.30pm, at the end of the walk, there will be car-share transport back to your car at the start of the walk, or back to the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes.

Cost: £35 (WANHS member), £40 (non-member)

Booking: Visit Wiltshire Museum Website

The Stonehenge News Blog

Essential.
Please note that the cost does not include entrance to Stonehenge.





Moving on from Stonehenge: Researchers make the case for archaeoastronomy

16 08 2014

The field of archaeoastronomy is evolving say researchers seeking a closer relationship between astronomy and merging of astronomical techniques and archaeology.

Summer Solstice Sunrise over Stonehenge 2005. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Summer Solstice Sunrise over Stonehenge 2005. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The merging of astronomical techniques with the archaeological study of ancient man-made features in the landscape could prove Neolithic and Bronze Age people were acute astronomical observers, according to researchers. 

Dubbed archaeoastronomy, the developing and sometimes maligned field takes a multi-disciplinary approach to exploring a range of theories about the astronomical alignment of standing stones and megalithic structures.

Some of these theories were highlighted recently at the 2014 National Astronomy Meeting in Portsmouth.

Archaeoastronomy expert Dr Fabio Silva of University College London has been studying 6000-year-old winter occupation sites and megalithic structures in the Mondego valley in central Portugal.

He said recent research shows that all the entrance corridors of passage graves in a necropolis in the valley aligned “with the seasonal rising over nearby mountains of the star Aldebaran, the brightest star of Taurus”.

Dr Silva believes this link between the appearance of the star in springtime and the mountains where the dolmen builders would have spent their summers “has echoes in local folklore” which recounts how the Serra da Estrela or ‘Mountain Range of the Star’ received its name from a shepherd and his dog following a star.

Some of the most debated claims about archeological alignment continue to be those relating to Stonehenge, which remains subject to a range of theories about solar and lunar alignments. Some archaeoastronomers are however keen to move the debate beyond the famous standing stones of Salisbury Plain.

Dr Daniel Brown of Nottingham Trent University, who presented updates on his work on the 4000-year-old Gardom’s Edge in the UK’s Peak District, which he believes to be astronomically aligned, said: “there’s more to archaeoastronomy than Stonehenge.

“Modern archaeoastronomy encompasses many other research areas such as anthropology, ethnoastronomy and even educational research.”

“It has stepped away from its speculative beginnings and placed itself solidly onto the foundation of statistical methods,” he added.

“However, this pure scientific approach has its own challenges that need to be overcome by embracing humanistic influences and putting the research into context with local cultures and landscape.”

Dr Silva, who is co-editor of the Journal for Skyscape Archaeology, which promotes the role and importance of the sky in archaeological interpretation, added: “We have much to gain if the fields of astronomy and archaeology come together to a fuller and more balanced understanding of European megaliths and the societies that built them.”

Article source: http://www.culture24.org.uk/history-and-heritage/archaeology/art495449 (By Richard Moss)

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge News Blog

 








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