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Archive for November, 2016

  • The large complex was found in a city around 1.5 miles from Stonehenge
  • The 656 foot diameter complex consists of around 3,000 feet of ditches 
  • Around 300 feet (100 metres) of the ditches have been excavated so far
  • Evidence of cattle bones, ceramic dishes and human remains were found

A new discovery could help shed light on why the mysterious Stonehenge was built.

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A new discovery could help shed light on why the mysterious Stonehenge was built. The large complex, found in a city around 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from the famous stone circle, is thought to date back more than 1,000 years before Stonehenge (pictured) Daily Mail

The large complex, found in a city around 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from the famous stone circle, is thought to date back more than 1,000 years before Stonehenge.

The researchers say the complex was a sacred place where Neolithic people performed ceremonies, including feasting and the deliberate smashing of ceramic bowls.

The new discovery shows the entire area around Stonehenge was even more sacred and ritually active than archaeologists had thought, hundreds of years before Stonehenge appeared.

The complex was built about 5,650 years ago, around 3650 BC, more than 1,000 years before the stones of Stonehenge were erected.

The 656 foot (200 metre) diameter complex consists of around 3,000 feet (950 metres) of ditches and is the first major early Neolithic monument discovered in the Stonehenge area for more than a century.

It was discovered in a village called Larkhill in Wiltshire, just 1.5 miles (2.4 km) north east of the famous site.

A group of archaeologists found the site after the UK Ministry of Defence was preparing to build British Army houses on the land.

The researchers, led by Wessex Archaeology, found evidence of cattle bones, ceramic dishes and human remains.

Freshly broken pottery, dumps of worked flint and even a large stone saddle quern used to turn grain into flour were also found.

The researchers will now test the remains of the the findings, including the ceramic bowls, to try to determine what they were used for.

Each bowl could have held up to 10.5 pints (six litres) of beverage or partially liquid food, potentially a broth.

‘The newly found site is one of the most exciting discoveries in the Stonehenge landscape that archaeologists have ever made,’ a prehistorian from Wessex Archaeology said.

‘These discoveries are changing the way we think about prehistoric Wiltshire and about the Stonehenge landscape in particular,’ said Martin Brown, Principal Archaeologist for WYG, consultancy company WYG, which is leading the Larkhill housing development.

‘The Neolithic people whose monuments we are exploring shaped the world we inhabit: They were the first farmers and the first people who settled down in this landscape, setting us on the path to the modern world.

‘It is an enormous privilege to hold their tools and investigate their lives.’

Around 300 feet (100 metres) of the ditches have been excavated so far.

Read the full article in the Daily Mail. written by ABIGAIL BEALL

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Trethevy Quoit

Heritage Futures

DCP_3234.JPG Trethevy Quoit © David Gill

The neolithic burial chamber of Trethevy Quoit in Cornwall was given to the nation in November 1931. It is now in the care of English Heritage and is managed by the Cornwall Heritage Trust.

For other prehistoric sites in the care of English Heritage see here.

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Archaeologists have discovered 81 “extremely rare” tree-trunk coffins at a “previously unknown” early Christian Anglo-Saxon community’s cemetery.

saxon-grave

Historic England believes the finds will “advance our understanding of Middle-Saxon religious beliefs”

Found at Great Ryburgh in Norfolk, their “remarkable preservation” was due to the waterlogged conditions of the river valley.

The Historic England excavation was carried out ahead of the construction of a lake and flood defence system.

Chief executive Duncan Wilson said the graves were “a significant discovery”.

Anglo-Saxon coffins seldom survive because wood decays over time.

James Fairclough, an archaeologist from the Museum of London Archaeology which led the dig, said: “The combination of acidic sand and alkaline water created the perfect conditions for the skeletons and wooden graves to survive, revealing remarkable details of Christian Anglo-Saxon burial practices.”

Archaeologist Matt Champion made the initial discovery.

Landowner Gary Boyce had asked him to put in trial trenches ahead of the planning application for the lake and flood defence system. These revealed high status Anglo-Saxon pottery and Roman Samian Ware.

He said it was all the more remarkable because prior to the dig “all the evidence suggested the field had never been developed”.

They decided to carry out a full excavation in January – and within an hour found the first of over 80 human burials. The dig was completed in June but its findings have only just been released to the press.

Historic England said other important finds included six “very rare” plank-lined graves “believed to be the earliest known examples in Britain” and evidence of a timber structure thought to be a church.

Historic England believes the burials date from between the 7th and 9th Centuries AD and were “the final resting place for a community of early Christians”.

Research is continuing to find out where the bodies came from, how they were related and what their diet and health was like.

Some of the finds will go on display at Norwich Castle Museum.

Article Source (BBC)

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The Stonehenge Bluestones.

Stonehenge News and Information

The bluestones at Stonehenge are the smaller rocks you can see standing inside the huge sarsens that form the outer circle and the inner trilithons.

Stone 62.jpgThey range in size from stumps barely visible in the turf through to slender pillars standing nearly 2.5m tall (plus another metre or more below gound) with the largest weighing between 2 and 3 tonnes.

These rocks definitely come from the Preseli Mountains in southwest Wales, 150 miles from Stonehenge as the crow flies. Their place of origin was first established in 1923 by the geologist H. H. Thomas and has been confirmed by modern geochemical analysis. They used to be known as the “foreign stones” because it was recognised that they weren’t local to the Stonehenge area.

The name bluestone is a collective term and there are two main types – spotted dolerite and rhyolite.

It’s not obvious why they’re called bluestones to most…

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Solar Astronomy at Stonehenge

Stonehenge News and Information

Most people are aware that Stonehenge is somehow aligned to the annual movements of the Sun.

Each year thousands of pilgrims, druids and party-goers gather in celebration, hoping to Stonehenge Avenue.jpgwitness the most famous of these – the Summer Solstice Sunrise on June 21st.

At this time of year, as seen from the centre of the monument, the Sun rises in the same direction as the centre-line of the Avenue – the ancient processional approach to Stonehenge – towards the northeast.

The Stonehenge Avenue alignment was first pointed out by William Stukeley in 1740.

Even though almost everyone believes the Heel Stone was put up by the builders to exactly mark the summer solstice sunrise position, this can’t be true because it stands off to the right hand side of the alignment.

Today the Sun seems to rise out of the top of the Heel Stone due to the modern trees…

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