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A team of archaeologists, led by a researcher from the University of Bristol, has uncovered the remains of a possible Stonehenge-type prehistoric earthwork monument in a field in Pembrokeshire.

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Side view of the south-eastern chamber looking south-west

Members of the Welsh Rock art Organisation have been investigating the area around the Neolithic burial chamber known as Trellyffaint – one of a handful of sites in western Britain that has examples of prehistoric rock art.

The site of Trellyffaint dates back at least 6,000 years and has been designated a Scheduled Monument. It is in the care of Welsh heritage agency Cadw.

The site comprises two stone chambers – one of which is relatively intact. Each chamber is set within the remains of an earthen cairn or mound which, due to ploughing regimes over the centuries, have been slowly uncovered.

On the capstone that covers the south-eastern chamber are at least 50 engraved cupmarks (one of the most common forms of later prehistoric engraving in Western Europe), the meaning of which has been long forgotten but probably represented some sort of pictorial message.

Before now, it is thought that the site has never been fully investigated.

Dr George Nash, lead project director from the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Bristol and his team, which includes former Bristol students, have conducted a series of non-intrusive surveys in and around the monument.

The fieldwork element of the project started in December 2016 following the acceptance of a project design by Cadw.

This phase included a magnetometry study which covered 80 square metres around the monument and a detailed earthwork survey of the monument itself.

The geophysical survey uncovered a number of anomalies which are considered to be more than likely buried prehistoric features.

Dr Nash said: “To the south and southwest of the stone chamber and appearing to run underneath the southern section of the Trellyffaint mound are two clear circular anomalies.

“It is regarded that this feature may possibly be a henge (otherwise referred to as a hengiform) measuring around 12 metres in diameter.

“It is not clear if this feature possesses an accompanying ditch, however, a circular anomaly extends around this feature, again we are unclear of the relationship (if any) with the smaller circle – only excavation will tell.”

Further subsurface features of a probable later prehistoric date occur to the north-east, north and west of the Trellyffaint monument.

Although the precise depth of these features is, for the moment unknown, the team were interested to note that 2-3000-years’ worth of accumulated soil has not created any visible earthworks. This phenomenon though is not uncommon in coastal areas where soil deposition and accumulation can be rapid.

Dr Nash added: “This site, one of only nine Neolithic burial-ritual monuments in Wales with prehistoric rock art – or what I would term aptly ‘a visual communication system’.”

So far, the results of the geophysical survey have yielded a set of subsurface anomalies that reveal a complex ritualised landscape that includes the precursor to a Stonehenge-type earthwork monument and is similar to the six or more features that were found using similar geo-prospection methods at the nearby Neolithic site, Trefael, in 2012.

Dr Nash said: “The next stage of the project is to apply for Scheduled Monument Consent (SMC) which will include targeted excavation over recognised anomalies identified from the magnetometry survey.

“Before we do this, we will be widening the geophysics area and apply resistivity as well further magnetometry over a wider area.”

This fieldwork will take place between April 21 and 23. For details on how to get involved, visit the Welsh Rock Art Organisation’s Facebook page.
Full story here

Wessex Guided Tours offer archaeology tours of South West Britain.

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  • 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

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

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Historical tours of Stonehenge and Avebury Stone Circle with expert guides. Collection by private car or mini bus from your Bath hotel.  Ideal for families and groups.

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VIP Access Tour Inside Stonehenge

See the West of England‘s best loved sights – the wonder of Stonehenge and Avebury, the glorious Cotswolds, castles & gardens on our day tours from Bath in a private car or minibus. We offer half and full day tours and can also arrange special access tours at Stonehenge.  In the evening at sunset after Stonehenge is closed to the public, or at sunrise before it is open, we can arrange for you to visit this awe-inspiring prehistoric monument and walk among the giant sarsen stones.

Popular tour itineraries:
Explore the World Heritage Site of Avebury Stone Circle.
Enter West Kennet Long Barrow Neolithic Tomb
View Silbury Hill, the largest prehistoric monumment in Europe.
Explore Durrington Walls, Woodhenge and the prehistoric landscape of Stonehenge.
13th Century Lacock Village and Harry Potter Film Location
Castle Combe Cotswolds Village, unaccessible to the big coaches
Enjoy a traditional country pub lunch in an historical setting
See mysterious crop circles and the Warminster Triangle
Climb Glastonbury Tor and here about the legend of King Arthur
Do a tower tour at Salisbury Cathedral and see Magna Carta.
Join one of our fixed itineraries or tailor your own.

Your Gateway to the West Country.
We can also collect you from London, Salisbury or Southampton Docks and this is a great wat to maximisee your sightseeing.  Some clients prefer to travel by train to Bath from London. Our local guides will be happy to meet you at Bath’s train station with a personalised name-board. This method of travel to Bath is suitable if you would like to spend the entire day in the city and not travel in the surrounding countryside. If you would like to incorporate countryside and other historic sights en-route then it is wise to choose our flexible chauffeur guided service.

Please visit our website and contact us for a quote.

HisTOURies U.K
Mystical Landscape, Magical Tours

 

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British archaeologists have created a map of a medieval settlement using state-of-the-art scanning techniques without having to dig in to the ground.

Relying on magnetometry, ground-penetrating radar and electric resistive tomography, the team from the University of Southampton uncovered the footprint of a town located at the Old Sarum archaeological site near Salisbury, Wiltshire.

Non-invasive survey methods such as ground penetrating radar have helped archeologist to create a detailed map of Old Sarum without any digging [Credit: Scriniary]

Non-invasive survey methods such as ground penetrating radar have helped archeologist to create a detailed map of Old Sarum without any digging [Credit: Scriniary]

“Archaeologists and historians have known for centuries that there was a medieval city at Old Sarum, but until now there has been no proper plan of the site,” said Kristian Strutt, director of archaeological prospection services at the University of Southampton.

“Our survey shows where individual buildings are located and from this we can piece together a detailed picture of the urban plan within the city walls.”

Old Sarum is believed to have been one of the oldest settlements in England. Located about ten miles from the iconic Stonehenge monument, the site was inhabited as early as the Iron Age and bears some evidence of the presence of Roman soldiers in the early centuries AD.

In the recent survey, the archaeologists focused on the area around the inner and outer baileys of what was once a fortification. They discovered foundations of multiple large buildings concentrated along the southern edge of the outer defensive wall, which probably used to serve military purposes.

Some of the structures are believed to date back to the 11th century, about the time when the Salisbury (New Sarum) cathedral was built.

The researchers also found a large open area behind the big buildings, residential areas in the south-east and south-west quadrants of the outer bailey and evidence of deposits indicating industrial features, such as kilns or furnaces as well as signs of quarrying after the 1300s.

“Our research so far has shown how the entire outer bailey of the monument was heavily built up in the Middle Ages, representing a substantial urban centre,” Strutt said. “Results have given us compelling evidence as to the nature of some of the structures,” he said, adding that additional non-intrusive work will have to be carried out to further expand the knowledge about the site.”

The medieval city is believed to had been inhabited for at least three centuries but was eventually abandoned as the importance of the neighbouring Salisbury grew.

“The use of modern, non-invasive surveying is a great start to further research at Old Sarum,” said Heather Sebire, property curator at English Heritage, which is managing the site.

“From this work we can surmise much about the site’s past and, whilst we can’t conclusively date the findings, it adds a new layer to Old Sarum’s story.”

The team hopes to perform the next phase of non-invasive surveying in Easter 2015.

The research was conducted as part of the Old Sarum and Stratford-Sub-Castle Archaeological Survey Project, directed by Kristian Strutt and fellow Southampton archaeologists Timothy Sly and Dominic Barker.

Similar technology was recently deployed by archaeologists and scientists from Birmingham University and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Vienna to survey the landscape around Stonehenge. The results from there revealed that Stonehenge did not sit alone within its Neolithic landscape.

Full article by by Tereza Pultarova: http://eandt.theiet.org/news/2014/dec/old-sarum-non-invasive-archeology.cfm

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

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Want to be one of the few people to walk amongst the inner stone circle at Stonehenge? Stonehenge-close-up-access-tour (38)

For those of you who have not visited Stonehenge, we should mention that the complex is roped off. Visitors observe the stones from a distance and are not permitted within the Stone Circle which can be somewhat frustrating. Our special access tours from Bath or Salisbury allow you to be amongst the stones at sunset or sunrise “A Unique Experience!”

Enter the inner circle – Go beyond the fences…… 

We can often arrange with English Heritage for you to experience a unique visit to this ancient sacred site – beyond the fences & after the crowds have gone home. Walk amongst the stones & experience the magical atmosphere within the inner circle.  There will be time to enjoy the peace, away from the crowds, as we experience Stonehenge at its most mystical and atmospheric best. Not to be missed!   Tours Depart from Bath or Salisbury

All our special access tours can be arranged either early morning (sunrise time) or evening time (sunset) and you can choose to depart from Salisbury, Bath or even London

Don’t worry if your accommodation is in London, its very easy to get to Salisbury or Bath from London by train and the trains run till late so there is still time to get back to London last thing.

Please visit our website for further details: http://www.HisTOURies.co.uk

Wessex Guided Tours
The Best Tours in British History

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