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This rich archaeological landscape offers a wealth of prehistoric temples, Neolithic harvest hills for fertility rituals and communal tombs. Visit mysterious Silbury Hill, Europe’s largest artificial mound, the Neolithic communal tomb of West Kennet Long Barrow, Old Sarum, Overton Hill Sanctuary, Avebury, Britain’s largest henge and Stonehenge. These tours depart from Bath but can be organised from Salisbury or even London

At Wessex Guided Tours we aim to provide the best planned, best led and altogether the most fulfilling and enjoyable archaeological tours available.  Our private day excursions offer the best opportunity to explore and experience some of Britain’s most iconic and significant ancient sites, guided by our archaeologist guides.

We specialise in archaeology tours, and as a result we believe we offer an excellent Stonehenge Access Toursspecialist service.

Private Tours:

Our itineraries are original, imaginative, well-paced and carefully balanced. Knowledge of the subject matter and the destinations combine with detailed attention to practical matters to ensure an enriching and smooth-running experience.

If you are travelling as a small group, you can design your own day trip or simply select one of our regular itineraries but have exclusive use of the vehicle for the day. We will collect you from any location within central London, Bath or Salisbury. The duration of your vehicle hire is 8-10 hours depending on the places that you are visiting and traffic conditions on the day.

Our most popular tours include:

Stonehenge, Bath and Avebury Archaeologist Guided Tour: Walk the paths of ritual specialists and builders of Britain’s most fascinating and awe-inspiring prehistoric sites.

Stonehenge, Salisbury and Avebury Archaeologist Guided Tour: Walk the paths of ritual specialists and builders of Britain’s most fascinating and awe-inspiring prehistoric sites. Britain’s most beautiful landscapes. Visit one of England’s most impressive Cathedrals at Salisbury.

Wessex Guided Tours
The Best Tours in British History www.HisTOURies.co.uk

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Prepare to immerse yourself in the story of England at History Live! – an action-packed blockbuster and Europe’s biggest historical event.

History AliveOver 2,000 re-enactors and performers bring two millennia of history to life through stunning combat displays, thrilling battle re-enactments and a host of interactive experiences.

Gladiators, redcoats, and the Roman Imperial Army will be among the returning favourites at the event, which will also feature breathtaking displays of skill and valour from clashing knights on horseback in the Grand Medieval Joust and of bravery from Allied soldiers storming the beaches of Normandy.

New for this year will be a re-enactment of the Battle of Hastings, the battle that changed the course of the nation, as well as a demonstration of the impressive artillery used before gunpowder was even invented.

Away from the arena and parade ground, visitors can also step into living history encampments, discover fun activities and enjoy expert talks. With plenty to keep the whole family entertained, this is a weekend you will not want to miss.

 

Image courtesy of Point and Shoot Medieval Photography.

  • Date: Sat 20 & Sun 21 July 2013
  • Property:
    Kelmarsh Hall, Northamptonshire
  • Time: 9.30am-6.00pm
  • <!–

  • Booking :
  • –>

  • Suitable for: Everyone

Purchase your tickets today by calling our dedicated Ticket Sales Team on 0870 333 1183 (Mon – Fri 8.30am – 5.30 Sat 9am – 5pm) or online below. Tickets will also be available to purchase at the event site on the day.

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/events/history-live-kelmarsh-20-jul/

Wessex Tours
The Best Tours in British History

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Engineers digging the Crossrail tunnels have uncovered a plague pit believed to date from the Black Death in the 14th century. Here’s the BBC’s video of the site.

Photo courtesy of Crossrail.

Photo courtesy of Crossrail.

Over the past two weeks 13 skeletons have been discovered at a shaft in Charterhouse Square, just outside the boundaries of the  City of London, with more being unearthed every day. Experts believe they date from the Black Death, which killed tens of millions during the medieval period, wiping out up to 60% of the continent’s population.

A burial site was understood to be in the Farringdon area, but until now its precise location was uncertain. The Smithfield area is proving a fecund ground for archaeologists: in 2011 researchers were able to reconstruct the plague’s genetic code, using skeletons discovered in the 1980s.

This is the second major archaeological discovery in London of recent weeks, after the remains of a Roman settlement were uncovered in February. A pit of ‘lunatic’ skeletons was also discovered by Crossrail workers in 2011.

Source link: http://londonist.com/2013/03/14th-century-plague-pit-found-during-crossrail-dig.php

Wessex Guided Tours
The Best Tours in British History

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It feels as if we’ve always cherished the ruins of our stately homes, great abbeys, castles and ancient monuments. Yet our love affair with historic buildings is relatively recent. It’s been a revolution that flew in the face of industrial change and has been inspired both by acts of personal bravado and government intervention.

Main Image: BBC/English Heritage

Main Image: BBC/English Heritag

A new series on BBC Four this month called “Heritage! The Battle for Britain’s Past” looks at those pioneers of the past who fought to save the physical remains of the nation’s history. Some like William Morris, Octavia Hill and John Betjeman are familiar names, others – the “men from the ministry” /who worked quietly behind the scenes – are unsung heroes.

 
The first episode charts the birth of the heritage movement and the battle to save Britain’s great sites from destruction. The second episode looks at the interwar years, the rise of the day out to a historic site, and the struggle for the future of the English country house. And the final episode examines how in the second half of the 20th century, the definition of what did and did not constitute “heritage” changed.heritage-bbcfour

Made in partnership with English Heritage, the series features contributions from many of EH’s experts and draws upon its research into the early acts of heritage legislation – including the landmark Ancient Monuments Act of 1913.

A timely reminder to all of us about just how important these buildings remain, how we so nearly lost so many and the lessons we mustn’t forget.

Heritage! The Battle for Britain’s Past starts tomorrow at 21.00 on BBC Four
Links source: http://www.primeresi.com/heritage-the-battle-for-britains-past/12094/

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Human remains found in the resting place of Richard III have already been identified as those of the king but information is being held back ahead of a major press conference next month, sources close to the project claim

A source with knowledge of the excavation told the Telegraph archaeologists will richard_3
name the skeleton found beneath a Leicester car park in September as the
Plantagenet king even if long-awaited DNA results on the bones prove
inconclusive.

Additional evidence not revealed at a major press conference after the remains were found demonstrates beyond all reasonable doubt that the body is the King’s, even without genetic proof, the source said.

Leicester University experts announced earlier this year that there was convincing evidence suggesting the remains were those of Richard III, but have always insisted DNA analysis is needed before a conclusion can be reached.

Clues to the body’s identity include a wound to the skull and a twist in the spine which match historical accounts of the King and his death in battle, but these alone are not enough to prove it is the King, archaeologists said at the time.

A spokesman for Leicester University denied any information had been withheld from the public at the press event in September, but said various new evidence gathered since then will be announced to the public next month.

This will include the results of radiocarbon dating tests, which will indicate the date the individual died within an 80-year range, and analysis of dental calculus which could reveal details about their and lifestyle, as well as the first images of the body.

The spokesman said: “There will be things that have been discovered during the course of the investigation that will be announced at the press conference, but everything we were willing to reveal and that we were sure of, we revealed [in September].”

A Channel Four documentary, which initially led to the university’s involvement, will also be screened in January and is expected to reveal new information about the project.

The University insists it has been open about the analysis of the skeleton from the start, but a number of people close to the study have become uncomfortable that new evidence is not being published.

A source told the Telegraph: “Unfortunately, an awful lot of stuff is being kept from the public.

“I am told that circumstantial evidence of the find which is not going to be broadcast until this programme (on Channel Four) is brought out in January will confirm the body is Richard III’s, even if the DNA does not.”

The University said all available information will be announced at the press event and insisted it had no knowledge of any information which is being withheld for the documentary.

The body was identified just weeks into a project which began when experts identified a council car park in Leicester as the most likely historical location of the church of Grey Friars, where the King was said to have been buried after his defeat in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.

The archaeologists initially described the dig as a “long shot” but have since uncovered the foundations of a church along with two bodies, one of which is thought to be that of the King.

By , Science Correspondent – Full article

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Had the question been posed at the dawn of time – which is the species most likely to survive and dominate the planet? – mankind would probably not even have featured.

After all, we’re a somewhat puny lot. We don’t have claws or sharp teeth to help us hunt, or fur to keep us warm. We’re neither the tallest nor the fastest animals on Earth.

Our babies are born pitifully weak. As species go, you’d have been crazy to have bet on us.

Jane's new TV series Mankind: The Story Of All Of Us on the History Channel tells the whole story of humankind in 12 hours

Jane’s new TV series Mankind: The Story Of All Of Us on the History Channel tells the whole story of humankind in 12 hours

Yet survive we have, while 99 per cent of all life forms have become extinct. How on Earth did we do it? My new TV series Mankind: The Story Of All Of Us on the History Channel sets out to answer this question. It tells the whole story of humankind in 12 hours.

We wanted to take a completely new look at who we are and where we came from, and make it thrilling television at the same time.

It’s a ridiculously huge undertaking, but with the world beset by economic crisis and threatened by climate change, we wanted to tell an optimistic story of the incredible things that we, as a species, have accomplished.

We have, after all, manipulated the forces of our planet. We used fire to cook our food, making it easier to digest – giving us smaller stomachs and bigger brains (they’ve doubled in size in  2 million years). We turned other animals into companions – our Ice Age enemy, the wolf, became a hunting buddy and man’s best friend.

These ancient wolves are the ancestors of all the dogs alive today. And we unravelled the chemistry of our planet, unlocking nitrogen from the atmosphere to use as fertiliser – revolutionising food production and helping our population to grow faster in the first 50 years of the 20th century than it did in the previous 50,000.

Mankind’s journey from a few thousand hunter-gatherers on the African savannah 100,000 years ago to a population of seven billion today has been one built around science, invention and warfare.

Along the way we have learned about the weather, navigation and trade, about medicine, evolution and the explosive power of the atom. The sacking of Rome, the industrial revolution and mapping our own DNA are just a handful of the pivotal points along the route.

Today, one in three people on the planet is Christian, but word of the death of a man called Jesus from Nazareth 2,000 years ago might never have spread across the world if it hadn’t been for the might of the Roman Empire.

It was the Romans who mastered road-building and built a vast network of shipping lanesIt was the Romans who mastered road-building and built a vast network of shipping lanes, allowing goods and ideas to flow across three continents. In the Andes, the Spanish opened up the largest silver mine in the world in the 16th century, minting millions of coins which transformed the global economy – filling the chests of pirates, fuelling a stock market boom and, via the British Empire, helping to pay for the Taj Mahal.

As trade boomed, millions of people came into the New World as slaves, bringing their customs and culture with them and creating a diaspora that has spread around the planet.

The tale we’re telling is a global story. What most of us learn at school is our own history: I learned British history, but now I live in America with my British husband and very American seven-year-old daughter, Molly.

She gets taught American history and knows everything about George Washington, but not so much about Brunel. It’s the same story across the world: in Shanghai you learn Chinese history, in Lima, Peruvian history. None of us grows up thinking about how astoundingly interconnected the whole world is.

How many of us realise that ancient Britons built Stonehenge around the same time as the Egyptians constructed the pyramids, over 2,000 miles away? Or that farming was discovered – across the world – at almost exactly the same time?

How different would the world be if every child, everywhere, grew up thinking about all the things that have united mankind for millions of years, rather than the things that divide us right now?

People ask me how you go about condensing so much information into 12 hours of television, and the answer is prodigious planning, then breaking it down into manageable nuggets. We decided where we wanted to start (the Big Bang) and end (the near future).

Then our team spoke to an awful lot of people. Our main consultant was Ian Morris, the British professor of History and Classics at America’s Stanford University, but we also spoke to a further 200 or so historians across the globe.

 

When we made the series The British for Sky TV earlier this year we had experts who knew our entire history. With Mankind we had to find the one person who knew about the Vikings in America, for example, then someone else who knew about corn in the Mayan diet, and so on.

Most importantly we wanted to create must-see television. I want there to be a buzz and for people to want to be at home for it. To realise that feeling of excitement we’ve tried not only to tell incredible tales from the past, but to show them in a totally different way.

We spent two years filming in four different countries to give the shows a variety of landscapes that would make them visually astounding.

We’ve tried to give people a feature-film experience. I want the audience to feel as though the history is growing around them – which we’ve attempted to do with computer graphics to complement the drama.

The final piece of the jigsaw was securing Stephen Fry for the voice-over. His excitement about knowledge is a joy to behold and very close to the heart of what we’re trying to do.

I hope everyone watching will discover something new. For me, it all comes down to one big thing. The world we live in has to contend with ferocious storms and economic meltdowns, but in the mid-14th century plague wiped out a third of the population of Europe in a couple of years.

Mankind survived, and a new world emerged. We are incredibly resilient and we go on and on. If you take the really long view, things always get better.

Mankind: The Story Of All Of Us, Wednesday, 10pm, History Channel

Link source and ful ariticle: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2233399/Former-BBC2-controller-Jane-Root-ambitious-TV-project–condensing-entire-history-human-race-just-12-hours.html

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A new find in the region surrounding the Ring of Brodgar, a stone-pillar construction mounted atop a sloping terrain, has overthrown the scientific conception of Stone Age life in the British Isles. Archeologists have uncovered a six-acre temple complex of painted stone and paved walkways, which was built five thousand years ago—before the pyramids of Egypt or even Stonehenge.

Archaeologists excavate the ruins. Photo: Susan van Gelder

Archaeologists excavate the ruins. Photo: Susan van Gelder

As Robin McKie writes in The Guardian, although the Ring of Brodgar has long been a focus of archeological excavation, a geophysical survey of the Ness of Brodgar, the region around the temple, “revealed that for all their attention, scientists had completely overlooked a Neolithic treasure that utterly eclipses all others on Orkney – and in the rest of Europe.”

What archaeologists thought to be a natural moraine, a pile of dirt and rock left over by a receding glacier, turned out to be much more. Buried beneath the dirt were “two giant walls, each more than 100m long and 4m high.” Within these walls, says McKie,

[T]he complex at Ness contained more than a dozen large temples – one measured almost 25m square – that were linked to outhouses and kitchens by carefully constructed stone pavements. The bones of sacrificed cattle, elegantly made pottery and pieces of painted ceramics lie scattered round the site. The exact purpose of the complex is a mystery, though it is clearly ancient. Some parts were constructed more than 5,000 years ago.

According to scientists working on the dig, the findings suggest the northern Orkney Islands may be spawning point for much of Stone Age British culture. As Nick Card with the Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology told The Guardian,

Orkney was the centre for innovation for the British isles. Ideas spread from this place. The first grooved pottery, which is so distinctive of the era, was made here, for example, and the first henges – stone rings with ditches round them – were erected on Orkney. Then the ideas spread to the rest of the Neolithic Britain. This was the font for new thinking at the time.

Full Article: http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/smartnews/2012/10/archaeologists-uncover-massive-stone-age-complex-in-scotland/

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