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SIX Saxon skeletons dating back over a thousand years and Bronze Age round barrows have been discovered in Amesbury.

The remains, unearthed at a brownfield development site in London Road, are thought to be those of adolescent to mature

Ancient skeletons uncovered in Amesbury

Ancient skeletons uncovered in Amesbury

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.

The site is now being excavated for other artefacts by Wessex Archaeology led by Phil Harding from Channel 4’s Time Team.

Mr Harding 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.”

Contractor Mansell Ltd, part of the Balfour Beatty Group, was preparing the site for a housing development for Aster Group, when the discovery was made.

Site manager Brian Whitchurch-Bennett, 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.”

In May 2002 the Amesbury Archer was discovered during excavations of a new housing development.

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

By Elizabeth Kemble (Salisbury Journal) : http://www.salisburyjournal.co.uk/news/10428999.Ancient_skeletons_uncovered_in_Amesbury/

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A BUS company taking tourists to Stonehenge has said it will make scheduled stops in Amesbury again after residents expressed outrage over the lack of public transport links to the world heritage site.

Stonehenge Tour BusWilts & Dorset, which runs the Stonehenge Tour, currently only has a request stop in Amesbury for the tour, meaning many tourists dropped off by other coach companies often have to pay for a taxi to Stonehenge or are forced to walk there. For Amesbury, which is promoting itself as the centre of the Stonehenge region and encouraging tourists to visit, the lack of joined-up public transport has provided a “very bad image”.

Concerned residents told the Journal small groups of young tourists from abroad were often seen in Amesbury asking how they could get to Stonehenge.

Ann Riordan, who lives in the town said: “They are often confused about directions and I have come to fear greatly for their safety in walking along and then crossing the very busy A303.” Amesbury’s mayor Jan Swindlehurst welcomed the news from the bus company, saying: “I think the whole town council will be overjoyed – no-one could understand why Wilts & Dorset stopped it in the first place.

Stonehenge is a 365 day a year attraction – some days there may be no-one but on others there can be six or eight people, if it’s pouring with rain the last thing you want to do is walk there.

“It’s in our parish and yet we seem to be the only ones who can’t get people there.”

A spokesman for Wilts & Dorset said the bus stop in High Street near the bus station would be reinstated in about a week’s time.

Article Source: http://www.salisburyjournal.co.uk/news/10015192.Stonehenge_bus_link_restored/ (Elizabeth Kemble

 

The Stonehenge Tour Bus

The Stonehenge Tour Bus pictured above is the only regular public transport to Stonehenge itself. It normally runs at least hourly and more frequently in the summer months. The Stonehenge Tour Bus also allows you to stop over at Old Sarum, which is worthwhile.

 

The journey itself is quite scenic. The Stonehenge Tour Bus starts from Salisbury Rail Station and also picks up at the Bus Station. There is no left luggage facility at the train station but the Cat Tavern, a pub about 100 yards down the approach road of the rail station acts as the left luggage service for Salisbury – though its not advertised on the outside of the premises.

 

The bus works on a hop on, hop off principle. You can spend as long as you like at Stonehenge or Old Sarum, you do not have to ride on a particular schedule.
Buses depart Salisbury Station hourly from 10 a.m. daily stopping broadly in-line with the closing time of Stonehenge. You could not use this service for Special Access visits outside normal opening hours of Stonehenge.

The buses are double deck buses, so you get a great view of the countryside too. You also get a very informative commentary as you go along about Stonehenge, Salisbury and much else besides.

 

You can purchase tickets both on-line in advance or from the bus itself on the day.
There are several ticket options. You can opt to pay just for the tour bus or a ticket that combines the tour bus with admission to Stonehenge and Old Sarum or Stonehenge, Old Sarum and Salisbury Cathedral.

 

Visiting all three attractions is very much a rewarding full day out. At the end of the day do explore the centre of town and ideally find a pub or restaurant to relax before a late train out

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AMESBURY’S archaeology will come under the spotlight again this weekend with a significant dig on the outskirts of the town.

A BBC crew will be filming the excavations in the area known as Blick Mead for a documentary focussing on the area’s Mesolithic past. Thousands of flints and primitive tools have already been found at the site, and with many more expected to be uncovered, Amesbury could prove to be the home of the largest collection of Mesolithic finds in the country.

Although the dig is taking place on private land, the Amesbury community will be able to learn more about the discoveries at a special event taking place at the town’s new museum.

AMESBURY’S archaeology will come under the spotlight again this weekend with a significant dig on the outskirts of the town.

A BBC crew will be filming the excavations in the area known as Blick Mead for a documentary focussing on the area’s Mesolithic past.

Thousands of flints and primitive tools have already been found at the site, and with many more expected to be uncovered, Amesbury could prove to be the home of the largest collection of Mesolithic finds in the country.

Although the dig is taking place on private land, the Amesbury community will be able to learn more about the discoveries at a special event taking place at the town’s new museum.

The dig is creating widespread interest, with a leading archaeological magazine branding Amesbury “the cradle of Stonehenge”.

“With hundreds of worked flint tools appearing in every measured collection of soil sample that is wet sieved, it looks very likely that the haul of tools and finds will, in volume alone, surpass any other Mesolithic site ever found in Britain,” said Andy Rhind-Tutt, founder of the Amesbury Museum and Heritage Trust.

“Experts believe this will give sound evidence as to why Stonehenge is where it is and why our ancestors travelled hundreds of miles over thousands of years to be here.”The dig is being led by archaeologist David Jacques, who is working with a team of experts and Open University students.It will feature in a special BBC programme expected to be broadcast next year, and it is hoped the discoveries will enhance Amesbury’s bid to become a tourist destination based on its historic significance.

In addition to the special opening this weekend, Amesbury Museum is also open every Wednesday from 11am to 3pm when visitors can also use the cafe and library of local history books.

By Jill Harding – http://www.salisburyjournal.co.uk/

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Around 8,000 years ago, prehistoric hunters killed an aurochs and their grilling techniques were frozen in time.

THE GIST

Remains of a butchered and cooked female aurochs (a prehistoric cow) have been identified from a Stone Age Netherlands site.
The hunters appear to have cooked the meat over an open fire, eating the bone marrow first and then the ribs.
Aurochs hunting was common at the site for many years, but humans drove the large horned animals to extinction

aurochs bones AmesburyStone Age barbecue consumers first went for the bone marrow and then for the ribs, suggest the leftovers of an outdoor 7,700-year-old meaty feast described in the July issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science.

The remains, found in the valley of the River Tjonger, Netherlands, provide direct evidence for a prehistoric hunting, butchering, cooking and feasting event. The meal occurred more than 1,000 years before the first farmers with domestic cattle arrived in the region.

Although basic BBQ technology hasn’t changed much over the millennia, this prehistoric meal centered around the flesh of an aurochs, a wild Eurasian ox that was larger than today’s cows. It sported distinctive curved horns.

Another big difference is how meat was obtained then.

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“The animal was either caught in a pitfall trap and then clubbed on the head, or shot with a bow and arrow with flint point,” co-author Wietske Prummel, an associate professor of archaeozoology at the University of Groningen, told Discovery News.

Prummel and colleague Marcel Niekus pieced together what happened by studying an unearthed flint blade found near aurochs bones. These show that after the female aurochs was killed, hunters cut its legs off and sucked out the marrow.

According to the study, the individuals skinned the animal and butchered it, reserving the skin and large hunks of meat for carrying back to a nearby settlement. Chop marks left behind by the flint blade show how the meat was meticulously separated from the bones and removed.

Burn marks reveal that the hunters cooked the meaty ribs, and probably other smaller parts, over an open fire. They ate them right at the site, “their reward for the successful kill,” Prummel said.

The blade, perhaps worn down from so much cutting, was left behind and wound up slightly scorched in the cooking fire.

Niekus told Discovery News, “The people who killed the animal lived during the Late Mesolithic (the latter part of the middle Stone Age). They were hunter-gatherers and hunting game was an important part of their subsistence activities.”

The researchers suspect these people lived in large settlements and frequented the Tjonger location for aurochs hunting. After the Iron Age, the area was only sparsely inhabited — probably due to the region becoming temporarily waterlogged — until the Late Medieval period.

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Aurochs must have been good eats for Stone Age human meat lovers, since other prehistoric evidence also points to hunting, butchering and feasting on these animals. A few German sites have yielded aurochs bones next to flint tool artifacts.

Aurochs bones have also been excavated at early dwellings throughout Europe. Bones for red deer, roe deer, wild boar and elk were even more common, perhaps because the aurochs was such a large, imposing animal and the hunters weren’t always successful at killing it.

At a Mesolithic site in Onnarp, Sweden, for example, scientists found the remains of aurochs that had been shot with arrows. The wounded animals escaped their pursuers before later dying in a swamp.

The aurochs couldn’t escape extinction, though.

“It became extinct due to the destruction of the habitat of the aurochs since the arrival of the first farmers in Europe about 7500 years ago,” Prummel said. “These farmers used the area inhabited by aurochs for their dwellings, arable fields and meadows. The aurochs gradually lost suitable habitat.”

The last aurochs died in 1627 at a zoo in Poland.

Source: http://news.discovery.com/history/ancient-barbeque-aurochs-110627.html

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