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





Fundraising Event: A talk by Mike Parker Pearson ‘Stonehenge and Durrington Walls: new research’

18 09 2016

Archaeological excavations are being carried out in 2016 at Durrington Walls and in Preseli, to shed yet more light on the mystery of Stonehenge and its stones. Was there a ‘superhenge‘ of standing sarsen stones at Durrington Walls that dwarfed Stonehenge?

mppWas Stonehenge itself actually a ‘secondhand monument’, built from bluestones brought from an earlier monument in west Wales? New advances in scientific methods, both in the field and in the laboratory, are also helping archaeologists find out more about the people who built Stonehenge, how they lived and why they went to such effort to build this remarkable structure.

Join Mike Parker Pearson for an evening lecture to hear about the latest exciting developments in Stonehenge’s story.

Salisbury Museum: Thursday, October 13th, 2016 – 18:30 to 20:00
Booking required. Please contact the museum.~

The Stonehenge News Blog





Sights to visit around Stonehenge.

4 03 2016

While Stonehenge is by far and away the superstar of southern England, and no visit to Wiltshire is complete without touring it, Stonehenge is in fact just one of many ancient sites in the area. Indeed, the surrounds of Stonehenge contain the most densely-grouped collection of neolithic sites and monuments within England – and more are being discovered all the time. It’s thought that the nearby settlement of Amesbury (believed to be the oldest in Britain) was a major cultural centre during the island’s ancient days. If you’ve got some time to spare during your Stonehenge trip, and want to take in some of the area’s other sights, here are a few suggestions:

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Within Walking/Cycling Distance Of Stonehenge – Woodhenge, Durrington Walls, The Cuckoo Stone

In all fairness, you can strike out in pretty much any direction from Stonehenge and hit archeological gold – although you may not always recognise it as such. Just be careful not to wander into the path of the military (who train on Salisbury Plain). If you’re cycling, be sure that you’re properly prepared for historically significant (but nonetheless unexpected) bumps and tumbles! Woodhenge, less than four miles from Stonehenge, is an odd sight at first glance. However, once you understand what you’re looking at, it becomes much more impressive. It’s thought that this was once a large burial mound with a complex system of banks and ditches (now eradicated through ploughing). Thousands of years ago, six concentric rings of wooden posts may have supported an enormous building. Today, the position of these posts are marked with stumps. It’s an atmospheric and very interesting place! A short walk away from Woodhenge is Durrington Walls – a recently discovered monument which in its heyday would have dwarfed Stonehenge. The ‘Walls’ were formed by lines of enormous stones, which could possibly have formed a processional way leading to Stonehenge itself. There’s not masses to see there now, but it’s still a lovely area! West of Woodhenge is the Cuckoo Stone – a sarsen boulder lying on its side. It was once a standing stone, the origins of which remain a matter of debate. It’s an enigmatic piece of history in a very atmospheric location.

Salisbury – Old Sarum, Salisbury Museum

Old Sarum is a wonderful visit for anyone with an interest in history. It’s the site of Salisbury’s oldest settlement – a hilltop fort commanding absolutely incredible views over Wiltshire. There’s an iron age hillfort to walk around, the remains of a castle to admire, and an absolutely breathtaking panorama which will give the camera-happy everything they could ever dream of. There are also plenty of events put on by English Heritage throughout the year, giving people the opportunity to really step back in time! Down in Salisbury itself, the Salisbury Museum is packed full of fascinating finds from all over the county. It’s a well laid-out and beautifully explained museum, with some truly intriguing exhibits. You can find it just opposite Salisbury Cathedral – which it itself a beautiful and interesting building.

A Short Drive Away – Avebury, West Kennet Long Barrow, Silbury Hill

A 40 minute or so drive from Stonehenge is Avebury. Managed by the National Trust, this ancient stone circle sits in a Neolithic landscape incorporating avenues of standing stones, a henge, and an enormous stone circle in which a village was once situated. The stone circle itself is the largest in the world, and contains two smaller circles. A short walk away is West Kennet long barrow, which can be entered by those who are neither claustrophobic nor fearful of our long-dead ancestors! Then, of course, there are the round barrows with which the landscape is littered, and the curious structure of Silbury Hill. Silbury Hill is the largest prehistoric mound in Europe, and would have taken similar effort to construct as its contemporary pyramids in Egypt. It was clearly important to those who built it – although, unlike most barrows of its kind, it contains no burial. Its purposes remain perplexing, but its presence is both beautiful and fascinating! Anyone with an interest in Stonehenge and its ilk, particularly those who enjoy the mystery of the structure, will find much to whet their appetites at Avebury and Silbury!

There are Stonehenge tour companies who operate guided tours of the area and the Visit Wiltshire webiste lists the best ones.  If you want to explore the Stonehenge landscape with a local expert then we recommend ‘The Stonehenge Travel Company

The Stonehenge News Website





Coming 2016: “Stonehenge – A Hidden Landscape” exhibition at MAMUZ Museum Mistelbach

16 11 2015

Coming 2016: “Stonehenge – A Hidden Landscape” exhibition at MAMUZ Museum Mistelbach | Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeologmamuz-stonehenge-mamuz_vorderseite

New discoveries and insights into Stonehenge landscape made possible by the LBI ArchPro’s intensive research over the last five years will be – for the first time – presented in a comprehensive exhibition in Austria.

Starting on 20th March 2016, the “Stonehenge – A Hidden Landscape” exhibition at the MAMUZ Museum Mistelbach will take the visitor on a journey of more than 8.000 years through Stonehenge and its surrounding landscape including the newly discovered stone monument at Durrington Walls and original finds from the Salisbury, Wiltshire and Dorchester Museum.

MAMUZ “Stonehenge – A Hidden Landscape” website:
Article source

The Stonehenge News Blog





Stonehenge Opening Hours Summer 2015

21 07 2015

You now park over a 2 kilometres from Stonehenge itself, out of sight of the Stonehenge monument. Here there is a modern visitor centre and excellent exhibition and education facilities plus a spacious cafe and souvenir gift shop. A Stonehenge shuttle bus transports you between the visitor centre and the Stone Circle.  English Heritage advise to budget for a visit of around 2 hours. The Visit Wiltshire App is a must for those visiting Stonehenge and the surrounding area.

Last admission time is 2 hours before the advertised closing time.

Entrance to Stonehenge is now managed through timed tickets and advance booking is required. Booking is the only way to guarantee entry on the day and at the time of your choice. Advance bookings are advised!

A temporary coach park will be built near to Stonehenge, Wiltshire Council has agreed

This includes FREE visits by English Heritage and National Trust members (applicable to members of the National Trust in England only – does not include National Trust Scotland or other National Trust affiliated organisations).

1 JUNE – 31 AUGUST 2015

Monday 9:00 – 20:00
Tuesday 9:00 – 20:00
Wednesday 9:00 – 20:00
Thursday 9:00 – 20:00
Friday 9:00 – 20:00
Saturday 9:00 – 20:00
Sunday 9:00 – 20:00

1 SEPTEMBER – 15 OCTOBER 2015

Monday 9:30 – 19:00
Tuesday 9:30 – 19:00
Wednesday 9:30 – 19:00
Thursday 9:30 – 19:00
Friday 9:30 – 19:00
Saturday 9:30 – 19:00
Sunday 9:30 – 19:00

16 OCTOBER 2015 – 15 MARCH 2016

Monday 9:30 – 17:00
Tuesday 9:30 – 17:00
Wednesday 9:30 – 17:00
Thursday 9:30 – 17:00
Friday 9:30 – 17:00
Saturday 9:30 – 17:00
Sunday 9:30 – 17:00

HOLIDAY OPENING TIMES FOR THIS PERIOD

Christmas Eve
24 Dec 2015
Closed
Christmas Day
25 Dec 2015
Closed
Boxing Day
26 Dec 2015
10:00 – 16:00
Boxing Day Bank Holiday
28 Dec 2015
9:30 – 17:00
New Year’s Eve
31 Dec 2015
9:30 – 17:00
New Year’s Day
1 Jan 2016
10:00 – 16:00

Please visit the English Heritage Website for details and current prices

Visit Wiltshire Official Website
Salisbury Museum
Devizes Museum
Amesbury Museum
Stonehenge Transport from Salisbury
Stonehenge Guided Tours from London

Enjoy your visit to Stonehenge!

The Stonehenge News Blog
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Did you know today (April 18th) is World Heritage Day? Celebrate it with a visit to Stonehenge or Avebury.

18 04 2015

World Heritage is the shared wealth of humankind. Protecting and preserving this valuable asset demands the collective efforts of the international community. This special day offers an opportunity to raise the public’s awareness about the diversity of cultural heritage and the efforts that are required to protect and conserve it, as well as draw attention to its vulnerability.

On 18th April 1982 on the occasion of a symposium organised by ICOMOS in Tunisia, the holding of the “International Day WHSfor Monuments and Sites” to be celebrated simultaneously throughout the world was suggested. This project was approved by the Executive Committee who provided practical suggestions to the National Committees on how to organise this day.

The idea was also approved by the UNESCO General Conference who passed a resolution at its 22nd session in November 1983 recommending that Member States examine the possibility of declaring 18th April each year “International Monuments and Sites Day”. This has been traditionally called the World Heritage Day.

Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites

Stonehenge and Avebury, in Wiltshire, are among the most famous groups of megaliths in the world. The two sanctuaries consist of circles of menhirs arranged in a pattern whose astronomical significance is still being explored. These holy places and the nearby Neolithic sites are an incomparable testimony to prehistoric times.

Stonehenge and Avebury form part of one of the UK’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The explanations behind why the sites are located where they are and what their exact purposes are still remain a mystery to this day.

Stonehenge

Managed by English Heritage dates back approximately 5,000 years. Evolving between 3,000 and 1,600 BC, Stonehenge is aligned with the rising and setting of the sun at the solstices. The summer solstice in June often attracts up to 20,000 visitors to view the sunrise. When visiting Stonehenge pick up one of their audio guides (available in different languages) giving details of the history and legends behind the site. For a more intimate experience there’s an inner circle tour which takes place before and after the site is open to the general public (pre-booking is essential) or view tour companies who offer general and inner circle visits to the stones.

Around the Stonehenge landscape there are other sites of notable importance including Durrington Walls, the largest henge monument in Britain and Woodhenge, a Neolithic monument dating from around 2,300 BC.

Avebury

The largest stone circle in the World, Avebury was erected around 4,500 years ago and consists of around 100 stones. Many of the stones were re-erected by Alexander Keiller in the 1930s.

The Alexander Keiller Museum in the village holds many of the archaeological finds that Keiller discovered during the excavations of Avebury during this time and the history of the excavations. Today Avebury is managed by the National Trust.

The site is open daily (due to its village location) and visitors can not only explore the stone circle but also the Avenue, the West Kennett Long Barrow and can look over at Silbury Hill – the largest man-made hill in Europe. Similarly to Stonehenge, Avebury is also plays host to both Winter and Summer Solstices.

In 2012, Avebury Manor opened its doors following the BBC TV programme ‘The Manor Reborn’ which also saw the kitchen garden transformed into a working Victorian kitchen garden.

See objects excavated from the World Heritage Site at Salisbury Museum and the new prehistory displays at Wiltshire Museum in Devizes. Salisbury Museum has recently reopened its Wessex Gallery. The Wiltshire Museum in Devizes has new displays featuring gold from the Time of Stonehenge, including Britain’s richest Bronze Age burial.
Visit Wiltshire Website

“Celebrate it with a visit to Stonehenge or Avebury and observe a minute of silence for the ones we have lost to insensitive developments”

The Stonehenge News Blog





Wessex Gallery of Archaeology Grand Opening Activity Day.

12 07 2014

To mark the opening of the new Wessex Gallery of Archaeology by celebrity anthropologist Professor Alice Roberts, the Salisbury Museum is hosting an admission-free day of action-packed interactive events, exciting living history displays and demonstrations on Saturday, 12th July in The Close, Salisbury.

 BBC Time Team and Coast presenter Professor Alice Roberts

BBC Time Team and Coast presenter Professor Alice Roberts

Have a go at flint knapping, reconstructing a prehistoric face, carving a Stone Age chalk animal or the learning the ancient art of coppicing, wool-dyeing and pottery-making.

Facial reconstruction and chalk carving
Along with a free view of the new Wessex Gallery, members of the public will have the opportunity to see amazing Norman falconry displays; try on beautiful Norman dresses, or get suited and booted in a knight’s hefty chainmail armour complete with sword. There will also be ancient coppicing, stone masonry, pottery-making and wool dyeing demonstrations as well as a chance for people to try their hand at reconstructing a prehistoric face, carve a Stone Age chalk animal and experience an Anglo Saxon burial ritual.
With more than 2,500 rare and exciting pieces on show, the Gallery provides a fascinating look at early Britain.
“The Grand Opening of our new Wessex Gallery is going to be a fantastic all-day event with lots of exciting activities to see and do for all age groups,” says Adrian Green, Salisbury Museum director. “It’s also a great opportunity for people to see our amazing new Wessex Gallery which brings the prehistory and history of Stonehenge and Wessex to life. It’s one of the best displays and collections of its kind in the world with more than 2,000 rare and fascinating artefacts which tell the story of Stonehenge and early Britain from the mathematical genius of the ancient Britons to the transformational Roman and Norman invasions.”
The new gallery replaces the old Stonehenge, Pitt-Rivers and Early Man galleries and was funded with a grant of nearly £1.8 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Wessex Gallery Grand Opening is on Saturday, 12 July from 10am to 4pm at Salisbury Museum, The King’s House, 65 The Close, Salisbury SP1 2EN. For further visitor information ring 01722 332151 or visit: www.salisburymuseum.org.uk
Admission is free on the opening day.

Merlin @ Stonehenge
Stonehenge News Blog

Run by: Salisbury Museum








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