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Archive for the ‘Wiltshire Heritage’ Category

Hundreds of treasures from the golden age of Stonehenge have gone on permanent display in England, revealing the story of the people who lived amidst the area when the monument was one of the great religious focal points of western Europe.

Housed in a large, specially-designed high security and humidity-controlled exhibition facility inside the Wiltshire2013-10-stonehenge-object-overlay-jpg Museum in Devizes, 15 miles north of the megalithic stone circle, the objects make England’s largest collection of early Bronze-Age gold.

“Stonehenge is an iconic monument, but this is the first time that such a wide range of high status objects from the spectacular burials of the people who used it, has ever been put on permanent display,” David Dawson, director of the Wiltshire Museum.

PHOTOS: Stonehenge Made to Glisten

Most of the 500 Neolithic objects on show were unearthed within a half mile radius of Stonehenge, including 30 gold pieces which were excavated in 1808 from a burial mound known as Bush Barrow.

Found by William Cunnington, Britain’s first professional archaeologist, the objects became known as the crown jewels of the “King of Stonehenge.”

Overlooking Stonehenge itself, the burial indeed contained the skeleton of a chieftain who lived almost 4,000 years ago. He was buried in regal splendor with the objects that showed his power and authority.

Among the treasures on display are a magnificent bronze dagger with a gold covered haft, a golden sheath for a dagger, a ceremonial axe, gold beads, necklaces, earrings, pendants and other gold jewellery, a unique jet disc (used to fasten a luxury garment), rare traces of ancient textiles and two of the finest prehistoric flint arrow head ever found.

ANALYSIS: Stonehenge Settled 5,000 Years Earlier Than Thought

“Many of the items may well have been worn by Bronze Age priests and chieftains as they worshiped inside Stonehenge,” Dawson said.

“Axes and daggers on display are identical to images of weapons carved into the giant stones of Stonehenge itself,” he added.

The exhibition’s centerpiece is the beautifully decorated gold lozenge found on the chest of the “King of Stonehenge.”

Although the purpose of the gold lozenge remains a mystery — interpretations have ranged from an elaborate button to an astronomical instrument — its precise decorations, made of impressed lines, reveals a detailed knowledge of mathematics and geometry.

“All this was done with the naked eye as there were no magnifying glasses or microscopes,” Dawson told London’s Times.

ANALYSIS: Understanding Stonehenge: Two Explanations

The museum hopes that the $1.2 million exhibition will help attract more tourists to Devizes, generating jobs in the local community.

“Devizes is mid-way between two of the world’s most important ancient monuments — the great prehistoric stone circles of Stonehenge and Avebury. Visiting the Wiltshire Museum completes the experience of seeing these two iconic sites,” Dawson said.

Image: Some of the objects on display. Credit: Wiltshire Museum

Artcle source here: http://news.discovery.com/history/archaeology/stonehenge-treasures-reveal-worshippers-sophistication-131017.htm

‘We now visit the Wiltshire Museum on our private guided tours of Stonehenge’

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A PRE-HISTORIC elephant has revealed clues of what life was like for early humans and how it met its end.

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University of Southampton lecturer and archaeologist Dr Francis Wenban-Smith discovered remains and has spent the last ten years studying the creature.

Now he has published a book that will teach other archaeologists about life for people that existed thousands of years before Neanderthals.

The extinct straight-tusked elephant was found in Ebbsfleet in Kent, below, while construction workers were preparing the build the High Speed 1 rail link between the Channel Tunnel and London.

The species was twice the size of today’s African elephant and almost four times the weight of a family car.

The 420,000-year-old remains were buried along with other creatures, including prehistoric ancestors to cattle and extinct forms of rhinoceros and lions.

It was also found surrounded by flint tools used to cut meat from carcasses, which have lead Dr Wenban-Smith to believe early humans may have eaten and possibly hunted the creature in a group.

Dr Wenban-Smith, pictured below, said: “The key evidence for elephant hunting is that, of the few prehistoric butchered elephant carcasses that have been found across Europe, they are almost all large males in their prime, a pattern that does not suggest natural death and scavenging.

“Although it seems incredible that they could have killed such an animal, it must have been possible with wooden spears.

“Rich fossilised remains surrounding the elephant skeleton, including pollen, snails and a wide variety of vertebrates, provide a remarkable record of the climate and environment the early humans inhabited.

Full article in the Salisbury Journal: http://www.salisburyjournal.co.uk/archive/2013/09/22/10690698.Prehistoric_giant_elephant_unlocks_mysteries_of_ancient_hunters/
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Journey back to the Dark Ages this Bank Holiday weekend at Old Sarum as the Vikings take resident.

Discover more about this fascinating period with displays of weaponry and archery. Also witness combat shows where warriors go

Vikings at Old Sarum Castle

Brute Force and wily tactics.

head-to-head in competitions that will test their strength and skill in a fierce fight to the finish!  Also find out more about domestic life during the period with displays of cooking and talks on diet and lifestyle.  For our junior warriors there’s also a chance to take part in a mini battle.

Date: Sat 25 – Mon 27 May 2013 (bank holiday)

How to Book

Tickets will be available to purchase at the event site on the day

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/events/the-vikings-os-25-may/

Prices

Ticket price includes entry to event & Old Sarum Castle

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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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VisitWiltshire has launched the county’s first ever tourism App, which showcases the best of the Wiltshire tourism offering and provides unique content, including App-only special offers, and will be an interactive and invaluable source of information for visitors.

The App is part of VisitWiltshire’s marketing strategy to boost tourism visits and spend to the county. Wiltshire snow

The mobile app is now available to download for free from the Apple and Google Play stores. The wide range of content on the app will reflect the breadth of attractions and activities the county has to offer, including Salisbury Cathedral; the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site; Longleat and Wiltshire’s renowned white horses; the Kennett and Avon Canal and Caen Hill Locks; and Wiltshire’s variety of scenic villages and historic market towns.

It also includes details of all VisitWiltshire’s 480+ tourism partners, as well as sections on towns and villages, things to do, accommodation, shopping, food and drink, outdoor activities, and what’s on in the county. Other features include interactive mapping – so visitors will be able to find places nearby, special offers, Wiltshire-themed games, and weather updates.

Fiona Errington, Marketing Manager, VisitWiltshire said:

We’re delighted to be launching our new VisitWiltshire App, which will showcase Wiltshire as a fantastic tourist destination and offer visitors a wealth of ideas and information on what to see and do when out and about or planning a visit to our county. The VisitWiltshire App shows visitors our fantastic attractions, great range of accommodation, restaurants, pubs, great shops, and many other highlights and locations. Having over 480 Wiltshire tourism businesses contribute makes this a tremendous resource for our visitors.

Almost a third of visitors to visitwiltshire.co.uk now use a smart phone or tablet and are increasingly looking for tourist information in their hand and on the move. This new App gives them access to the best of Wiltshire at their fingertips .”
Wiltshire tourism business interested in being included on the App should contact Fiona Errington on: fionaerrington@visitwiltshire.co.uk

Full story: http://www.heart.co.uk/wiltshire/news/local/first-tourism-app-wiltshire/

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The sounds of battle will be erupting at Old Sarum when members of The Medieval Siege Society lay siege to the Castle and recreate The Wars of the Roses this Bank Holiday weekend. Enjoy displays of medieval martial skills such as swordsmanship and archery, culminating in dramatic battle re-enactments. Don’t miss the mighty medieval trebuchet in action too!

Old Sarum EventsThroughout the day visitors will be invited to step back in time and tour the living history camps, seeing how an army would live on campaign and give an insight into life for fifteenth century soldiers and their families

Sun 5 & Mon 6 May 2013 (bank holiday

More information: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/events/siege-os-5-may/

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Human beings were occupying Stonehenge  thousands of years earlier than previously thought, according to  archaeologists.

Research at a site around a mile from  Stonehenge has found evidence of a settlement dating back to 7500BC, 5,000 years  earlier than previous findings confirmed.

Research at a site around a mile from Stonehenge has found evidence of a settlement dating back to 7500BC, 5,000 years earlier than previous findings confirmed

Research at a site around a mile from Stonehenge has found evidence of a settlement dating back to 7500BC, 5,000 years earlier than previous findings confirmed

And carbon-dating of material at the site has  revealed continuous occupation of the area between 7500BC and 4700BC, it is  being revealed on BBC One’s The Flying Archaeologist tonight.

Experts suggested the team conducting the  research had found the community that constructed the first monument at  Stonehenge, large wooden posts erected in the Mesolithic period, between 8500  and 7000BC.

Open University archaeologist David Jacques  and friends started to survey the previously-unlooked at area around a mile from  the main monument at Stonehenge, when they were still students in 1999.

The site contained a spring, leading him to work  on the theory that it could have been a water supply for early man.

He said: ‘In this landscape you can see why  archaeologists and antiquarians over the last 200 years had basically honed in  on the monument, there is so much to look at and explore.

‘I suppose what my team did, which is a  slightly fresher version of that, was look at natural places – so where are  there places in the landscape where you would imagine animals might have gone  to, to have a drink.

‘My thinking is where you find wild animals,  you tend to find people, certainly hunter-gatherer groups, coming  afterwards.

‘What we found was the nearest secure  watering hole for animals and people, a type of all year round fresh water  source.’

He described the site as  ‘pivotal’.

Dr Josh Pollard, from Southampton University  and the Stonehenge Riverside Project, said he thought the team may have just hit  the tip of the iceberg in terms of Mesolithic  activity focused on the River Avon around Amesbury.

‘The team have found the community who put  the first monument up at Stonehenge, the Mesolithic posts 9th-7th millennia  BC.

‘The significance of David’s work lies in  finding substantial evidence of Mesolithic settlement in the Stonehenge  landscape – previously largely lacking apart from the enigmatic posts – and  being able to demonstrate that there were repeated visits to this area from the  9th to the 5th millennia BC.’

The Flying  Archaeologist is being shown on BBC One (West and South) at 7.30pm  tonight.

By Mark Prigg (source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2311173/Stonehenge-occupied-humans-5-000-years-EARLIER-thought–animal-watering-hole.html)

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