Jewellery from the mysterious ‘queen’ of Stonehenge goes on display: Stunning pieces were found in the grave of a high-status woman 200 years ago

24 03 2016
  • Woman’s remains were found in 1808 in a grave overlooking Stonehenge
  • Collection includes amber earrings, buttons from a cloak and pendants that indicate the woman had social status
  • Her identity is unknown it is unclear why she was given such a lavish burial
  • Objects are going on display for first time at Stonehenge Visitors Centre

In the early 19th century, William Cunnington discovered a burial site near Stonehenge.

In one of the barrows he excavated at Normanton Down, the remains of a woman were found alongside some of the most well-preserved jewellery historians have ever seen.

Now, more than 200 years later, these artefacts are going on display for the first time.
visitor-treasure

Mysterious jewellery and belongings (pictured) of a woman so important she was buried at a prime spot overlooking Stonehenge are going on display for the first time. Archaeologists are still baffled by some of the items found alongside the body of a female interred in a burial chamber on a ridge

In the early 19th century, William Cunnington discovered a burial site near Stonehenge.

In one of the barrows he excavated at Normanton Down, the remains of a woman were found alongside some of the most well-preserved jewellery historians have ever seen.

Now, more than 200 years later, these artefacts are going on display for the first time.

The treasures that will go on display include amber earrings which are the earliest items found in Britain to show signs of being worked with a lathe.

Buttons from a cloak and pendants also indicate the woman had social status, although her identity has never been established and it is not known why she was given such a lavish burial.

The objects were discovered in the early 19th century by William Cunnington.

‘No barrow that we have yet opened has ever produced such a variety of singular and elegant articles,’ archaeologist Sir Richard ‘Colt’ Hoare wrote at the time.

This Easter the objects are going on display at the Stonehenge Visitors Centre.

By ABIGAIL BEALL FOR MAILONLINE
Read the full story and see the gallery on the Daily Mail website

The Stonehenge News Blog





RSPB creates wildflower meadow for butterflies at Stonehenge World Heritage Site.

9 02 2015

Hundreds of wildflowers have been planted at Normanton Down on the Stonehenge World Heritage Site to help gives butterflies a home during the summer months.

Flowers such as classic chalk grassland herbs, common rockrose and wild thyme are among many more that make up the wildflower meadow that was created on four iron-age barrows across the ancient site.

The wildflowers, which were all grown from seed and collected from Salisbury Plain, will serve as a food source for the caterpillars of the iconic chalk downland butterfly and many pollinators during the summer season.

The work for the project was completed by the RSPB, who manage the Normanton Down nature reserve, which is known for its ground nesting birds and downland wildlife.

Stonehenge Flowers

Chalkhill Blue – female © Tony Davison, from the surfbirds galleries.

RSPB Site Manager, Patrick Cashman, said: “These barrows already support fragments of a once more widespread flower-rich downland landscape. We are taking this opportunity to top them up with key butterfly food plants, so their warm southern flanks can become new homes for butterflies from nearby Salisbury Plain and help provide stepping stones in the wider landscape.”

The wildflower planting was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund as a part of ‘Save Our Magnificent Meadows’ project, which is a national partnership of 11 organisations led by Plantlife to help transform the fortunes of vanishing meadows, grasslands and wildlife.

English Heritage’s Stonehenge World Heritage Site co-ordinator, Beth Thomas, said: “We are delighted to see the historic monument being treasured for their relict ancient grassland, and having their profile raised as resource to help reconnect the natural and historic landscape.”

Through the RSPB’s Giving Nature a Home campaign, you can help tackle the housing crisis facing the UK’s threatened wildlife. The charity is asking people to provide a place for wildlife in their own gardens and outside space – whether it’s a dead wood pile for mini beats and other insects, putting up a nestbox for a house sparrow, or creating a pond that will support a number of different species.

To find out more about Giving Nature a Home and to receive a free guide packed full of simple, fun activities to help wildlife where you live, visit: rspb.org.uk/homes

Notes

1. The RSPB is the UK’s largest nature conservation charity, inspiring everyone to give nature a home. Together with our partners, we protect threatened birds and wildlife so our towns, coast and countryside will teem with life once again. We play a leading role in BirdLife International, a worldwide partnership of nature conservation organisations.

2. Giving Nature a Home is the RSPB’s latest campaign, aimed at tackling the housing crisis facing the UK’s threatened wildlife. The charity is asking people to provide a place for wildlife in their own gardens and outside spaces – whether it by planting pollen-rich plants to attract bees and butterflies, putting up a nestbox for a house sparrow, or creating a pond that will support a number of different species. The charity hopes to inspire people across the UK to create a million new homes for nature.

3. Normanton Down lies within the Stonehenge World Heritage Site, and comprises 47 ha of former arable land in the process of being reverted to species-rich chalk grassland, through a management agreement with the private owner. Reseeding of the arable land has taken place over the last three years, and the diversity of wild flowers, along with butterflies and other invertebrates, is gradually increasing. The site is also being managed to encourage breeding stone-curlews and other birds such as lapwings and corn buntings.

4. The wildflowers that are being planted on the site are; the classic chalk grassland herbs; kidney and horseshoe vetch, common rockrose, wild thyme, dropwort, harebell, small scabious and devil’s-bit scabious.

5. Iconic downland butterflies expected on the site include; chalkhill blue, adonis blue, brown argus and marsh fritillary.

Article source: http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/blog/2015/02/08/rspb-creates-wildflower-meadow-for-butterflies-at-stonehenge/

The National Trust offer guided tours though the Stonehenge Landscape: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/stonehenge-landscape/

The Stonehenge News Blog








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