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6,000-year-old Neolithic henge and barrow uncovered in Kent

6,000-year-old Neolithic henge and barrow uncovered in Kent


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Archaeologists in Britain have unearthed an ancient Neolithic henge on housing development grounds in Kent, England. According to a report in Culture24, the massive structure may have been used later on as a funerary complex, known as a barrow, in the Bronze Age, when an inner ring was also added. Researchers have said the ancient monument would have once looked quite similar to Stonehenge.

The discovery was made by Dr Paul Wilkinson and his team from Swale and Thames Archaeological Survey Company (SWAT), who investigated the site ahead of a housing development at Iwade Meadows, Sittingbourne in Kent. They commissioned a local aerial photography drone service called Skyspider Aerial Imaging to capture the spectacular sight. A high definition video of the ancient henge can be seen below.

SWAT Archaeology Iwade project from Skyspider A.I on Vimeo.

The henge measures 30 metres in diameter and is located in a position that would have once had extensive views to the Swale Estuary and the Island of Sheppey beyond. The structure consists of an inner and outer ring. The outer ring has an entrance facing north-east, which suggests it may have originated as a monument, similar to Stonehenge.

The inner ring, as well as a track from the north east leading to the causeway entrance of the ring, were later added in the Bronze Age. Dr Wilkinson believes the track functioned as a ‘sacred way’, along which people formed a procession towards what was most likely a ceremonial gathering place. However, it is believed that the use of the henge changed over the millennia.

“The archaeological evidence suggests that the outer ditch may have originated in the Neolithic and been later transformed in the Bronze Age into a funerary monument with the addition of the inner ring.”

Archaeologists excavating the inner ring of the newly-discovered Henge in Kent. Credit: Skyspider Aerial Imaging

A second smaller monument lies close to the larger rings, and experts believe it may have been a secondary Bronze Age burial mound, known as a barrow, although no human remains have been found yet.

Archaeologists have also found a series of pits close to the monuments, which suggest the site and area were in use before the construction of the henge.

The SWAT archaeology team now hopes to determine the exact date, phasing and character of the monuments.
Featured image: The Neolithic Henge discovered in Kent. Credit: Skyspider Aerial Imaging


    10 Secrets Of Drone Archaeology

    Archaeologists have long known that buried structures emit a different heat signature than the surrounding earth. However, low-altitude flights equipped with thermal units are cost-prohibitive&mdashnot to mention dangerous. Now, drones can see what archaeologists previously only dreamed about.

    Aerial technologies have crossed a threshold of functionality, affordability, and near-instant data processing. Recent discoveries prove that drones are the future of archaeology. The only remaining question: Who will embrace the technology, and who will get left behind?


    The Lovers of Valdaro: for 6,000 years, a pair of skeletons had been locked in an eternal embrace

    The Valdaro Lovers is the name given to two skeletons who have been locked in an eternal embrace for the past 6,000 years. The embracing skeletons were discovered in 2007, at a Neolithic tomb near the village of Valdaro in Mantua, Italy.

    Scientists think that the couple were no older than 20 years when they died and were approximately 5𔃼″ (157 cm) in height. After an osteological examination, there was no evidence of violent death many historians believe they died that way due to the flints tools that were found with them. The male skeleton was found with a flint arrowhead near his neck, and the female had a long stone blade along her thigh, plus two flint knives under her pelvis.

    The skeletons were found in 2007 in the village of Valdaro. Photo Credit

    The most reasonable explanation after the examination is that the flint tools were buried as grave goods along with them. It is fascinating that the bodies were positioned that way after their death. They were found in a necropolis, so they did not die that way by accident, rather, it is thought that they were positioned that way.

    What’s more impressive is that, during the Neolithic period, double burials were very uncommon which makes their position unique. The Valdaro Lovers are the only case of a double burial in Northern Italy. When they were found, the media published photos of them, causing great excitement worldwide.

    The pair of skeletons dates back 6, 000 years. Photo Credit

    The archaeologist who led the excavation was Elena Maria Menotti. Because the skeletons were found just ten years ago, it is very challenging to define anything about them so quickly. It is a long process where each bone will have to be studied thoroughly.

    Menotti decided, therefore, that the couple should not be separated and that they should be moved and preserved as they were found. So, the excavation team dug up the block of earth in which they were discovered and placed them in a wooden box.

    The Lovers are on display at the Archaeological Museum in Mantua, Italy. Photo Credit

    From the site, the Lovers of Valdaro were sent to the Musei Civici in Como. In September 2011, the skeletons were displayed in public at the Mantua’s Archaeological Museum.

    According to professor Silvia Bangoli, the president of the association “Lovers in Mantua”, around €250,000 should be enough for the Lovers to have an exhibition center of their own, and €200,000 more could be used for a multimedia space in which the world can hear the story of the embracing lovers. The association “Lovers of Mantua”, is still seeking a home for this ancient couple where they can be displayed permanently.


    Prehistoric Sites

    Unleash your imagination and unravel the mysteries of time at our many prehistoric sites, stone circles, ritual landscapes, burial mounds, hillforts and settlements which span nearly four mysterious millennia of England's story.

    Stonehenge is the most famous prehistoric monument in the world. Begun over 5,000 years ago, archaeologists still debate theories of its use and meaning. English Heritage has campaigned to enhance the visitor experience with a brand new interactive Visitor's Centre and plans for a tunnel concealing the busy A303.

    Stonehenge is now considered to be part of a 'sacred landscape' which includes other historical and ancient sites. Another sacred landscape around Avebury Stone Circle includes Windmill Hill, The Sanctuary, West Kennet Avenue with its burial mound West Kennet Long Barrow, and of course the famous, enduring mystery of Silbury Hill.

    So follow in the footsteps of your ancestors and see if you can solve the mystery of some of our most famous and ancient sites.

    Under the guardianship of English Heritage, these prehistoric monuments of the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Sites are among nearly sixty prehistoric sites we care for all over England. The earliest date from the Neolithic ('New Stone Age') period around 3,800 BC, when the 'First Farmers' began to create permanent monuments. These include 'causewayed enclosure' gathering places such as Windmill Hill, and 'long barrow' communal chambered tombs, where the dismembered remains of a small proportion of the population - selected why or how we don't know - were deposited in stone-built chambers. Originally these chambers were covered by long earthen mounds, as they still are for example at Belas Knap, Nympsfield and Uley Long Barrows, but elsewhere, as at Kit's Coty House in Kent, Trethevy Quoit in Cornwall and Arthur's Stone in Herefordshire, the stone burial chambers are now impressively exposed.

    Next in time, around 3,500 BC, came circular ditched earthwork 'henges' including Mayburgh Henge and Hatfield Earthworks (Marden Henge). To these might later be added internal circles of timber posts (as at Woodhenge) or the most famous and legend-haunted type of prehistoric monument - stone circles. Imposing examples include Castlerigg Stone Circle in Cumbria, possibly one of the oldest, Arbor Low in the Derbyshire Peak District. Other notable examples are Stanton Drew Circles near Bristol Avebury Stone Circle and of course Stonehenge itself. There, apparently uniquely, the standing stones were tooled to provide a smooth finish, and in their final complex arrangement topped by huge stone lintels, forming a continuous circle enclosing triple-stone 'trilithons'.

    Archaeologists have recently discovered evidence that the builders or users of Stonehenge lived nearby at Durrington Walls. It is possible to explore the remains of similar prehistoric settlements which include Carn Euny, Chysauster and Grimspound, now isolated among West Country moorland.

    For many millennia, the tools and weapons prehistoric people used were of stone or flint, mined from sites such as the hauntingly named Grime's Graves, the only Neolithic flint mine in Britain open to visitors. But by around 2,300 BC the introduction of metalworking into Britain ushered in the Bronze Age, when the focus also shifted from 'communal monuments' like long barrows and stone circles to round barrows for individual burials, often accompanied by rich grave-goods. We care for groups of these at Flowerdown Barrows and Winterbourne Poor Lot Barrows.

    Later still, around 800 BC - the Iron Age - this new metal gradually replaced bronze for tools and weapons, which coincided with competition for land and an increase in tribal warfare. The emphasis now shifted again from burial mounds to ditched and ramparted defensive hillforts, including powerful multi-ramparted Old Oswestry, Uffington Castle and Maiden Castle, the biggest hillfort in Europe. Along with massive tribal power centres such as Stanwick Iron Age Fortifications, some of these were still in use when the Romans arrived in AD 43, ending the prehistoric period in England and ushering in a whole new era.


    Ancient Beer: 13,000-Year-Old Site May Be the World’s Oldest Brewery

    For many people, nothing tastes better than a glass of cold beer, whether enjoyed at the end of a long day of work or while relaxing on a summer afternoon. But brewing beer—not baking bread𠅌ould be the reason our ancestors began cultivating grains in the first place.

    Inside a cave in Israel, researchers from Stanford University have found evidence of the earliest known beer-making operation, which they think may predate the cultivation of the first cereals.

    Both of these milestones belong to the Natufians, a hunter-gatherer group who made the eastern Mediterranean region their home more than 10,000 years ago.

    For the new study, published in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, a team led by Li Liu, a professor of Chinese archaeology at Stanford, analyzed traces from stone mortars dating back some 13,000 years. They found the mortars at a Natufian graveyard in Raqefet Cave, near the modern-day city of Haifa.

    More evidence that beer came before bread.

    The controversial idea that beer, and not bread, inspired the original domestication of cereals is far from a new theory. It’s been around since the 1950s, in fact, and has been gaining ground in recent years thanks to research suggesting that the Natufians considered beer an essential part of the feasts that were so important to their society.

    Liu and her colleagues were not looking for evidence of beer-making inside Raqefet Cave, but were simply investigating what kinds of plant foods the Natufians may have been consuming. As it turned out, what they discovered was evidence of a large brewing operation, which Liu called in a statement “the oldest record of man-made alcohol in the world.”

    The researchers think their findings could be between 11,700 to 13,700 years old, predating the earliest known evidence of bread making recently uncovered at a Natufian site in East Jordan. They believe the Natufians made and consumed the beer as part of ritual feasts for their dead.

    Microscopic traces of ancient starches extracted from the Raqefet Cave (left) are compared to starches replicated in the researchers&apos beer brewing experiments.

    Ancient beer-brewing was reenacted step by step.

    Even the most knowledgeable craft beer drinkers today wouldn’t recognize ancient beer, which would have been closer to a thin porridge or gruel made of multiple ingredients, such as wheat, barley, oats, legumes or flax. According to the new study, the Natufians followed a three-step process: First, they germinated the grains in water, then drained and dried them, producing malt. Next, they mashed and heated them, before finally adding wild yeast and leaving the mixture to ferment.

    To test their theories, the researchers actually reenacted this ancient beer-making process step by step. The result, they believe, was strikingly similar to what the Natufians brewed.

    “This discovery indicates that making alcohol was not necessarily a result of agricultural surplus production,” Liu said. 𠇋ut it was developed for ritual purposes and spiritual needs, at least to some extent, prior to agriculture.”


    An ancient ‘House Lannister’?

    Timber halls such as these are an aspect of the earliest stages of the Neolithic period in Britain, and there seems little doubt that they were created by early pioneer Neolithic people. Frequently, they appear to have lasted only two or three generations before being deliberately destroyed or abandoned. These houses need not be dwellings, however, and given their size could have acted as large communal gathering places.

    It is worth briefly pausing here and thinking of the image of a house – for the word “house” is often used as a metaphor for a wider social group (think of the House of York or Windsor, or – if you’re a Game of Thrones fan like me – House Lannister or House Tyrell).

    In this sense, these large timber halls could symbolise a collective identity, and their construction a mechanism through which the pioneering community first established that identity. We may imagine a variety of functions for this building, too, none of which are mutually exclusive: ceremonial houses or dwellings for the ancestors, for example, or storehouses for sacred heirlooms.

    From this perspective, it is not a huge leap of the imagination to see them as containing, among other things, human remains. This does not make them funerary monuments, any more than churches represent funerary monuments to our community. They were not set apart and divided from buildings for the living, but represented a combination of the two – houses of the living in a world saturated with, and inseparable from, the ancestors.

    These houses would have been replete with symbolism and meaning, and charged with spiritual energy even the process of building them is likely to have taken on profound significance. In this light, then, it is interesting to note that towards the end of our excavations this summer, just as we were winding up, we uncovered two decorated chalk blocks that had been deposited into a posthole during the construction of the timber hall.

    The decoration on these blocks comprises deliberately created depressions and incised lines, which have wider parallels at other early Neolithic sites, such as the flint mines of Sussex.

    Controversy often surrounds decorated chalk pieces chalk is soft and easily marked and some people suggest that they are “decorated” with nothing more than the scratchings of badgers. But there is no doubt that the Cat’s Brain marks are human workmanship and the discovery should spark a fresh investigation into decorated chalk plaques more widely.


    Stonehenge Reconstructed

    Explore these reconstruction drawings of Stonehenge and the surrounding landscape to find out more about this area in the prehistoric period.

    Move between the four tabs to see the Stonehenge landscape at different periods, and open the image windows for a short summary of the features pictured. More detailed information can be found below each reconstruction.

    <p>Snails from the ditches of the Stonehenge and Lesser Cursus, built in about 3500 BC, show that these monuments were surrounded by open chalk grassland. However, there were certainly some trees in the wider area.</p>

    <p>It is difficult to use the archaeological record to find out about children, particularly in the Neolithic period. Based on comparisons with modern populations, it is likely that between one-fifth and one-half of all deaths occurred at less than 16 years of age. Despite this, very few skeletal remains of children have been found in the Stonehenge area.</p> <p>This may be because infant bones are less likely to survive, and were not collected in older excavations, or that children were less often selected for formal burial than adults.</p>

    <p>They were probably kept by people throughout the Neolithic and early Bronze Age periods. Dog bones have been recovered from the ditch at Stonehenge, and from the henge sites of Coneybury and Durrington Walls.</p>

    <p>We know very little about the clothes worn by people during the early Neolithic period in Britain, since no actual garments have survived. However, animal skins, furs and hides were certainly used.</p>

    <p>Domestic cattle were introduced into Britain from Europe at the beginning of the Neolithic period. The earliest cattle bone from the Stonehenge landscape, dating to 3950&ndash3790 BC, was found in the Coneybury Anomaly, a feasting pit.</p>

    Cattle herding in the Stonehenge landscape, about 3700 BC

    In the early Neolithic period, this area was largely open grassland and was used by people grazing their cattle herds. There was a mosaic of trees and shrubs, but the area was reasonably open compared with other parts of southern England. People probably moved seasonally between different settlements and grazing areas.

    1. Landscape
    Our information about the appearance of the prehistoric landscape comes from three sources: preserved pollen, wood charcoal and land snail shells (different species prefer to live in different types of environment).

    Snails from the ditches of the Stonehenge and Lesser Cursus, built in about 3500 BC, show that these monuments were surrounded by open chalk grassland. However, there were certainly some trees in the wider area. Hazel, maple, ash and elm charcoal was recovered from under the bank at Robin Hood&rsquos Ball causewayed enclosure.

    2. Children
    It is difficult to use the archaeological record to find out about children, particularly in the Neolithic period. Based on comparisons with modern populations, it is likely that between one-fifth and one-half of all deaths occurred at less than 16 years of age. Despite this, very few skeletal remains of children have been found in the Stonehenge area.

    This may be because infant bones are less likely to survive, and were not collected in older excavations, or that children were less often selected for formal burial than adults.

    3. Dog
    The earliest known remains of domestic dogs in Britain are from Star Carr in North Yorkshire, dating from the Mesolithic period. They were probably kept by people throughout the Neolithic and early Bronze Age periods. Dog bones have been recovered from the ditch at Stonehenge, and from the henge sites of Coneybury and Durrington Walls.

    The bones suggest that dogs at this time were between 37 and 62 centimetres tall at the shoulder. They were probably kept as hunting animals, and to assist with herding and protecting livestock.

    4. Clothing
    We know very little about the clothes worn by people during the early Neolithic period in Britain, since no actual garments have survived. Animal skins, furs and hides were certainly used, as suggested by discoveries of bone awls (to pierce holes) and scrapers (to scrape fat from hides).

    The earliest evidence for a textile from Britain is in the form of an imprint on the surface of a piece of Neolithic Impressed Ware pottery from Flint Howe, Scotland. A piece of linen thread was discovered at Etton in Cambridgeshire in an early Neolithic ditch.

    5. Cattle
    Domestic cattle were introduced into Britain from Europe at the beginning of the Neolithic period. The earliest cattle bone from the Stonehenge landscape, dating to 3950&ndash3790 BC, was found in the Coneybury Anomaly, a feasting pit.

    Cattle would have been kept for meat, traction, dairy and products such as leather. In the early Neolithic period, cattle remains were often buried within long barrows and placed in the ditches of monuments. They may have been regarded as sacred.

    <p>It is likely that some sort of container was used to haul the chalk up onto the cursus bank. Wickerwork such as fish-traps and baskets were made in Britain from at least the late Mesolithic period using young stems of trees and scrubs. </p>

    <p>We know very little about how early Neolithic society was organised, but large-scale communal undertakings such as building a cursus imply some kind of organisation and co-ordination.</p>

    <p>Antler picks were used to dig the ditches of the cursus. The antlers were converted to picks by shortening them, sometimes with the aid of fire. Often antlers were left in the base of a ditch when it was completed.</p>

    <p>Two geophysical surveys of the cursus have recently identified three possible entrances &ndash one on the northern side and two on the southern side.</p>

    <p>The long barrow at the east end of the Stonehenge Cursus was excavated in 1866 by John Thurnam. Here it is shown as recently built. The long barrow only survives today as a very slight earthwork beneath a track.</p>

    Building the Stonehenge Cursus, about 3500 BC

    Before Stonehenge, a number of other monuments were built in the area, including the enormous Stonehenge Cursus. This group of monuments shows that the landscape surrounding Stonehenge was important long before the monument itself was erected.

    1. Baskets
    It is likely that some sort of container was used to haul the chalk up onto the Cursus bank. Wickerwork such as fish-traps and baskets were made in Britain from at least the late Mesolithic period using young stems of trees and scrubs. More delicate baskets were made from fibres or from grasses or rushes.

    Finds from prehistoric Britain are rare, but a burnt container or basket was recovered from the ditch at West Amesbury henge, and a basketry bag, probably made of lime fibres, was found with an early Bronze Age burial at Whitehorse Hill, Dartmoor.

    2. Working party
    We know very little about how early Neolithic society was organised, but large-scale communal undertakings such as building a cursus imply some kind of organisation and co-ordination.

    Many early Neolithic monuments (particularly causewayed enclosures) were built in clear segments or sections. These have been interpreted as showing that small, separate groups, perhaps families or households, were each responsible for one section.

    We do not know whether a small group of people built the Stonehenge Cursus over a long period or whether a large group built it quickly.

    3. Antler tools
    Antler picks, found during archaeological excavations, were used to dig the ditches of the Cursus. Predominantly from red deer, these antlers would have been shed in the spring, and collecting them would have been an important seasonal activity.

    The antlers were converted into picks by shortening them, sometimes with the aid of fire. Battering on the back of the pick, seen on many examples, suggests that they were either hit with a stone or another antler, or used as a hammer themselves. Often antlers were left in the base of a ditch when it was completed.

    4. Entrances
    Two geophysical surveys of the Cursus have recently identified three possible entrances &ndash one on the northern side and two on the southern side. The fact that the Cursus may have had narrow entrances on its long sides suggests that people were entering the monument to cross it, rather than processing along it from end to end. However, there is little evidence to suggest how cursus monuments might have been used.

    5. Long barrow
    The long barrow at the east end of the Stonehenge Cursus, known to archaeologists as Amesbury 42, was excavated in 1866 by John Thurnam. He found several burials (none of which he thought were the original one) and cattle skulls and bones.

    Recent excavations of the long barrow ditch recovered an antler from the lowest layer of chalk, which was radiocarbon-dated to 3520&ndash3350 BC. We do not know whether the Cursus or the long barrow was built first. Here it is shown as recently built. The long barrow only survives today as a slight earthwork beneath a track.

    <p>The digging of the roughly circular ditch, 110 metres in diameter, was probably the first major construction activity at Stonehenge.</p>

    <p>Over 130 antler implements have been found during excavations at Stonehenge, the vast majority from the ditch. Antlers were probably used as handled wedges, the tip being hammered into a crack in the chalk and the block then levered out.</p>

    <p>Animal bones appear to have been deliberately placed on the base of the ditch. The practice of depositing animal bones is common at earlier Neolithic monuments called causewayed enclosures.</p>

    <p>The Heel Stone is a large, unworked natural sarsen stone, standing at the entrance to Stonehenge. It may have been an isolated stone that was raised upright in the Neolithic period, perhaps as early as 3000 BC, as shown here.</p>

    <p>We do not know much about the people who dug the ditch. Its irregular shape is of a kind seen at earlier causewayed enclosures and may reflect the way in which the ditch was dug by small groups of people.</p>

    Depositing bones in the ditch at Stonehenge, about 3000 BC

    About 500 years before the large stones were raised, people dug a large circular bank and ditch at Stonehenge.This was an early type of henge. After the ditch was completed, people deposited animal bones and other items in the bottom of the ditch.

    1. Ditch
    The digging of the roughly circular ditch, 110 metres in diameter, was probably the first major construction activity at Stonehenge.

    Roughly half the ditch at Stonehenge has been excavated. Excavations have shown that it was segmented and uneven in shape, but in general had a flat base and steep sides. The main gap or entrance was to the north-east and was about 13 metres wide. There was another, smaller entrance, about 5 metres wide, and probably a third narrower entrance, both in the southern portion of the circuit.

    2. Antler picks
    Over 130 antler implements have been found during excavations at Stonehenge, the vast majority from the ditch. It is likely that these were used to dig the ditch &ndash in one area a cluster of five picks was found. About one-third of the antlers from Stonehenge were from hunted deer (rather than shed), which is unusual compared to other monuments.

    Antlers were probably used as handled wedges, the tip being hammered into a crack in the chalk and the block then levered out. A block of chalk was even found at Stonehenge with the broken tip of an antler embedded in it.

    3. Animal bones
    Animal bones appear to have been deliberately placed on the base of the ditch. These included two cattle jaws, a cattle skull and a red deer leg bone that have radiocarbon dates suggesting that they had been kept as trophies or heirlooms for some time, perhaps for over 100 years, before being placed in the ditch.

    Other deposits in the Stonehenge ditch include cattle bones, but also pig, deer, bird and dog bones. The practice of depositing animal bones is common at earlier Neolithic monuments called causewayed enclosures.

    4. Heel Stone
    The Heel Stone is a large, unworked natural sarsen stone, standing at the entrance to Stonehenge. It may have been an isolated stone that was raised upright in the Neolithic period, perhaps as early as 3000 BC, as shown here.

    The Heel Stone might not have been the only feature present at this early stage of Stonehenge. An earthwork survey has suggested that the North &lsquoBarrow&rsquo may be earlier than the outer ditch, and radiocarbon dates of two cremations from the Aubrey Holes indicate that some of the people buried at Stonehenge may have died before the ditch was dug.

    5. Ditch diggers
    We do not know much about the people who dug the ditch. It is quite irregular, with &lsquocraters&rsquo, or rounded deeper segments, and ridges in between. This sort of irregular shape is seen at earlier causewayed enclosures and may reflect the way in which the ditch was dug by small groups of people.

    At about the time that the ditch was dug, the first cremation burials were being interred at Stonehenge, in and around pits known as the Aubrey Holes within the ditch. Recently some archaeologists have interpreted these cremated people as a dynasty or elite group.

    <p>Logic suggests that the large stones of the inner horseshoe at Stonehenge were raised before the outer circle, as shown in this view.</p>

    <p>The lintels were probably raised to the tops of the uprights using a &lsquocrib&rsquo method, where a platform of alternating horizontal timbers is gradually increased in height, with the lintel being levered up at each stage.</p>

    <p>We have no information about how the people who built Stonehenge were organised. However, it is clear that the various episodes of building and re-arranging would have needed a strong co-operative effort from hundreds of people.</p>

    <p>The stone holes were dug to varying depths, depending on the length of the stone, so that the tops were level. The stone was raised probably using an A-frame as a lever, and perhaps using weights to help tip the stone, as shown here.</p>

    <p>In order to move the stones upright, late Neolithic people would have used strong rope, capable of hauling the heavy stones. It is likely that these ropes were made from plant fibres or thin wood stems twisted together.</p>

    Raising the sarsens at Stonehenge, about 2500 BC

    The sarsen stones were raised at the centre of Stonehenge in about 2500 BC. The inner horseshoe of trilithons was probably put up first, and then the outer sarsen circle.

    1. Building sequence
    Our understanding of the sequence of construction is based on archaeological stratigraphy (the way that layers and deposits are laid down in the ground) and radiocarbon dating of organic finds such as antler picks from within features such as stone holes.

    There is only one radiocarbon date associated with the sarsen circle (2620&ndash2470 BC) and one with the trilithons of the inner horseshoe (2620&ndash2340 BC). However, logic would suggest that the large stones of the inner horseshoe were raised before the outer circle, as shown in this view.

    2. Scaffolding
    The lintels were probably raised to the tops of the uprights using a &lsquocrib&rsquo method, where a platform of alternating horizontal timbers is gradually increased in height, with the lintel being levered up at each stage. Many hundreds of trees would have been required to supply the timber for the scaffolding, ramps and A-frames. It has been estimated that 200 tree trunks would have been required just to create a lintel-raising platform.

    3. Builders
    We have no information about how the people who built Stonehenge were organised. But it is clear that the various episodes of building and re-arranging would have needed a strong co-operative effort from hundreds of people.

    There is no direct archaeological evidence for any leaders. However, the visually and physically restricted centre of the monument implies the existence of a small group of privileged people who controlled access to Stonehenge at certain periods.

    4. Stone hole
    The stone holes were dug to varying depths, depending on the length of the stone, so that the tops were level. From excavations, we know that one side of each hole was left as a slope, forming a ramp. Against the back of the hole (i.e. opposite the ramp), a number of wooden stakes were set up, to protect that side of the hole from being crushed.

    The stone was raised probably using an A-frame as a lever, and perhaps using weights to help tip the stone, as shown here. The stone hole was then packed with chalk rubble, discarded tools and broken hammerstones.

    5. Ropes
    To haul the heavy stones upright, late Neolithic people would have used strong rope. It is likely that these ropes were made from plant fibres or thin wood stems twisted together. The earliest string found in Britain, from Bouldnor Cliff off the Isle of Wight, is made from plant fibre derived from a herbaceous plant, and dates to the late Mesolithic.

    Early Bronze Age ropes made of honeysuckle stems were found at Seahenge in Norfolk, and yew ropes have been found associated with plank-built boats in Gwent and Yorkshire.

    <p>This was a multiple timber circle, similar to Woodhenge, first discovered during excavations in 1968. It probably had two phases, the final monument having six concentric rings of posts.</p>

    <p>Among the houses clustered in this area, there were many pits and rubbish dumps, or &lsquomiddens&rsquo. These are thought to be from feasting events, rather than everyday consumption.</p>

    <p>Hundreds of animal bones have been recovered from excavations at Durrington Walls, mostly pig but also significant numbers of cattle. Studies of their teeth show that some of the animals were raised away from the local chalk geology and brought to Durrington Walls, probably on the hoof.</p>

    <p>In 2006&ndash7 nine small square houses were excavated. The overall size of the settlement is unknown, although the amount of midden debris found in excavations at various locations across the site suggests that it was large and intensely occupied.</p>

    <p>The roadway, or avenue, was 30 metres wide and ran between the Southern Circle and the eastern entrance to the later henge. Like the Southern Circle, it was aligned on the midwinter solstice sunrise.</p>

    Durrington Walls settlement, about 2500 BC

    The large settlement at Durrington Walls may have been where the builders or users of Stonehenge lived.

    People were living at Durrington Walls at the same time that the sarsen stones were being put up at Stonehenge. This may have been where the builders of Stonehenge lived, or perhaps where people gathered to take place in ceremonies and rituals associated with the monument. Later, a huge earthwork enclosure, or henge, was built around the site of the settlement.

    1. Southern circle
    This was a multiple timber circle, similar to Woodhenge, first discovered during excavations in 1968. It probably had two phases, the final monument having six concentric rings of posts. The largest timbers stood at least 5 metres high, and perhaps as much as 7.5 metres.

    The entrance was to the south-east and led onto a roadway or avenue where there was an extensive area of burning. Pottery, animal bones and tools seem to have been deposited here, particularly after the posts had decayed. The monument is aligned on the midwinter solstice sunrise.

    2. Middens
    Among the houses clustered in this area there were many pits and rubbish dumps, or &lsquomiddens&rsquo. These are thought to be from feasting events, rather than everyday consumption. Some of the animal bones were still articulated, or joined together, suggesting that there was plenty of meat available.

    As well as animal bones, there were many pieces of Grooved Ware pottery. Decorated with elaborate lines and grooves, this is often found in large quantities at henge monuments. It was probably used for cooking and serving feasts, as well as in everyday activities.

    3. Animal bones
    Many hundreds of animal bones have been recovered from excavations at Durrington Walls, mostly pig but also significant numbers of cattle. Butchery marks and evidence of burning on the pig bones suggest that they were roasted, whereas beef may have been cooked in stews.

    Studies of their teeth show that some of the animals were raised away from the local chalk geology and brought to Durrington Walls, probably on the hoof. If the people who raised the animals brought them, this suggests the gathering of people from varous long-distance locations.

    4. Settlement
    In 2006&ndash7 nine small square houses were excavated. The overall size of the settlement is unknown, although the amount of midden debris found in excavations at various locations across the site suggests that it was large and intensely occupied.

    The excavator, Mike Parker Pearson, has suggested that there were perhaps hundreds of houses here, but we don&rsquot yet know the full extent of the settlement. The radiocarbon dates suggest that it was occupied for a relatively short time, between 2580 and 2470 BC.

    5. Avenue
    The roadway, or avenue, was 30 metres wide and ran between the Southern Circle and the eastern entrance to the later henge. Its trampled flint surface was flanked by shallow gullies inside low banks. The avenue, like the Southern Circle, was aligned on the midwinter solstice sunrise.

    At the river, the roadway led to a near-vertical 4 metre drop. Mike Parker Pearson has suggested that people could have deposited things into the river from this point. Clearly the waterway was important &ndash it may have provided a real or metaphorical link to Stonehenge.

    <p>On the ridge to the south of Woodhenge are three intriguing wooden structures. These had a square setting of four large posts, and usually two paired pits or postholes defining the entrance.</p>

    <p>The timber monument at Woodhenge was surrounded by a circular earthwork bank and ditch, or henge, with an entrance causeway. It is likely that this henge was built after the wooden monument.</p>

    <p>There were six concentric oval rings of posts, of different sizes. From the postholes that were excavated, the posts were uniformly round in shape, although we can only guess at how they appeared above ground.</p>

    <p>Individual human bones and cremations were found in the postholes, and in the henge bank and ditch. The bones were usually individual scattered bones rather than whole burials.</p>

    <p>When Woodhenge was excavated, there were hundreds of prehistoric finds. Most were found in the postholes, although some were underneath the surrounding henge bank and others in the ditch.</p>

    Woodhenge, about 2500 BC

    Woodhenge was a timber monument surrounded by a henge bank and ditch, built about two miles from Stonehenge. It lies near the complex of monuments at Durrington Walls. After cropmarks of six concentric oval rings of postholes were seen on early aerial photographs, it was excavated in 1926&ndash8 by Ben and Maud Cunnington.

    1. Timber structures
    On the ridge to the south of Woodhenge are three intriguing wooden structures. These had a square setting of four large posts, and usually two paired pits or postholes defining the entrance.

    These &lsquofour post in circle&rsquo settings are also known elsewhere within the Durrington Walls complex and from other late Neolithic sites in Britain. We do not know their purpose &ndash perhaps they were special buildings, or platforms for laying out the dead for excarnation (the process of allowing corpses to be defleshed by natural means).

    2. Henge
    The timber monument at Woodhenge was surrounded by a circular earthwork bank and ditch, or henge, with an entrance causeway. Based on the few radiocarbon dates from Woodhenge and evidence from other sites where timber circles pre-date henge earthworks, it is likely this henge was built after the wooden monument, which is why we have not shown it in this image. Similarly, the enormous henge at Durrington Walls was built after the settlement had gone out of use.

    3. Wooden posts
    There were six concentric oval rings of posts, of different sizes. The third ring (called Ring C by the excavators) contained the largest, estimated to have stood about 9 metres tall.

    From the postholes that were excavated, the posts were uniformly round in shape, although we can only guess at how they appeared above ground. They may have been painted, decorated or carved. Perhaps objects or offerings were hung from the posts. They may have supported lintels, in a similar way to the outer sarsen circle at Stonehenge.

    4. Human remains
    Individual human bones and cremations were found in the postholes, and in the henge bank and ditch. The bones were usually individual scattered bones rather than whole burials. They seem to have been deposited in a similar way to other items and were perhaps regarded as another type of special object.

    Two full burials have also been found. A child aged two or three years was buried in the centre of the monument at an unknown date, the site now marked by a flint cairn. In the henge ditch was the burial of a young man, aged 18&ndash25, dating from the early Bronze Age.

    5. Deposition
    When Woodhenge was excavated, there were hundreds of prehistoric finds. Most were found in the postholes, although some were underneath the surrounding henge bank and others in the ditch. These included Grooved Ware pottery, antler picks, flint tools, worked bone objects, chalk objects and a variety of animal bones.

    Analysis of the distribution of the objects has shown that they were deposited according to certain patterns, perhaps reflecting the way that people moved around. For example, almost all the antler picks came from the eastern half of the monument.

    <p>We know little about the activities carried out at Stonehenge once the stones had been erected, but we can imagine people gathering at midsummer and midwinter, to mark the passing of the seasons.</p>

    <p>We know little about clothes worn during the late Neolithic period in Britain, since no actual garments have survived. Animal skins, furs and hides were certainly used, providing much needed warmth during the winter months.</p>

    <p>The fact that the centre of Stonehenge is a visually and physically restricted space implies the existence of a small group of privileged people who represented the community in this space, perhaps ritual specialists such as shamans, secular leaders or an elite family.</p>

    <p>The sarsen stones on this north-east side of Stonehenge are more regular and visually imposing than the stones elsewhere in the outer circle. This shows that the approach from that side, where the Avenue was later built, was very important.</p>

    <p>Stonehenge is famous for the alignment of its stones and the Avenue in the direction of the midsummer solstice sunrise. But in prehistoric times the midwinter sunset may have been just as important.</p>

    Celebrating midwinter solstice at Stonehenge, about 2300 BC

    Stonehenge is a prehistoric temple, the stones of which are aligned with the movements of the sun.

    The stones line up with the rising and setting of the sun at the midsummer and midwinter solstices. This suggests that people gathered for ceremonies at these times of year.

    1. People
    We know little about the activities carried out at Stonehenge once the stones had been erected. Although in the first few hundred years the enclosure was used as a cremation cemetery, it seems that once the stones were erected Stonehenge was kept clean and perhaps separate from everyday life.

    We can imagine people gathering at midsummer and midwinter, to mark the passing of the seasons. Analysis of the animal bones from nearby Durrington Walls has shown that people might have been travelling from long distances to gather there.

    2. Clothing
    We know little about clothes worn during the late Neolithic period in Britain, since no actual garments have survived. Animal skins, furs and hides were certainly used, as suggested by discoveries of bone awls (to pierce holes) and scrapers (to scrape fat from hides). They would have provided much needed warmth during the winter months.

    Plant materials such as flax, lime tree fibres and linen were probably also used. Fragments of clothing made from linen and lime bast have been recovered from Neolithic lake-edge settlements in Switzerland and Germany.

    3. Priest
    Archaeologists have found very few finds from the stone monument. Without them, we have only the layout of the stones to help us understand how the monument was used. The centre of Stonehenge is a visually and physically restricted space &ndash it is difficult to see what is going on there from the outside, and only a certain number of people can stand there.

    This implies the existence of a small group of privileged people who represented the community in this central space, perhaps ritual specialists such as shamans, secular leaders or an elite family.

    4. Stones
    The sarsen stones on the north-east side of Stonehenge are more regular and visually imposing than the stones elsewhere in the outer circle. The lintels are also more substantial. Analysis of a laser scan of the stones has shown that they were also more carefully dressed than other stones, the brown or grey crust removed to reveal a bright grey-white surface.

    This shows that the approach from the north-east, where the Avenue was later built, was very important. The builders were creating a dramatic visual spectacle for those approaching from this direction.

    5. Winter
    Stonehenge is famous for the alignment of its stones and the Avenue in the direction of the midsummer solstice sunrise.

    In prehistoric times the midwinter sunset may have been just as important. In the opposite direction from the summer solstice, the midwinter sun would have set between the two upright stones of the tallest trilithon, dropping down behind the Altar Stone. This would have been visible to people approaching up the Avenue.

    <p>We know that the Avenue was built and existed within well-established open grazed grassland. It was probably used for the extensive grazing of cattle and sheep.</p>

    <p>Stonehenge was still in active use at the time the Avenue was created between about 2345 and 2200 BC. It was about this time that the positions of the bluestones were rearranged within the monument and that a man, the &lsquoStonehenge Archer&rsquo, was buried in the Stonehenge ditch.</p>

    <p>During the period when the Avenue was constructed some people were being buried in individual rather than communal graves. These graves were often covered with earth mounds, or round barrows. The largest barrows around Stonehenge were later in date.</p>

    <p>We have shown a small group of people walking down the Avenue, following the long-held assumption that it was a processional approach between the river and Stonehenge. However, there is no direct evidence for how the Avenue was used.</p>

    <p>The Avenue was defined by roughly parallel earthwork banks, each with a V-shaped outer ditch about 2 metres deep.</p>

    The Stonehenge Avenue at King Barrow Ridge, about 2200 BC

    The Avenue extends over 1.7 miles (2.8km) between Stonehenge and the river Avon. It may have been a processional route. The parallel banks and ditches form a corridor about 12 metres wide.

    1. Landscape
    Our information about the appearance of the prehistoric landscape comes from three sources: preserved pollen, wood charcoal and land snail shells (different species prefer to live in different types of environment).

    We know that the Avenue was created within well-established open grazed grassland. It was probably used for the extensive grazing of cattle and sheep. Some of the barrows on King Barrow Ridge, near the location of this reconstruction, were built of stacked turf blocks. Building them would have required the stripping of large areas of grass.

    2. Stonehenge
    Four antler picks from the ditches of the Avenue have been radiocarbon-dated to give an estimate of the construction to 2345&ndash2200 BC, between 200 and 300 years after the sarsen stones were raised at Stonehenge.

    Stonehenge was still in active use. It was about this time that the positions of the bluestones were rearranged within the monument and that a man, the &lsquoStonehenge Archer&rsquo, was buried in the Stonehenge ditch. This was the time of the earliest use of metals in Britain &ndash the man in the foreground of this reconstruction is carrying a copper axe.

    3. Barrows
    The period when the Avenue was constructed was a time of great change, when new ideas, objects and people were beginning to arrive from continental Europe. Some people were buried in individual graves with Beaker pottery and the earliest metal objects. These graves were often covered with earth mounds, or round barrows, though the largest barrows around Stonehenge were later in date.

    Some of the round barrows close to Stonehenge are shown here as recently constructed, although we these specific barrows were unlikely to have been the first to be built.

    4. Use of the Avenue
    There is a long-held assumption that the Avenue was a processional approach between the river and Stonehenge. However, there is no direct evidence for how it was used.

    If it was used regularly as a route, we would expect the central part to be worn and hollowed, particularly where it rises up the hill on the ascent towards Stonehenge, but it is not. If processions did take place they either did not happen very often or did not involve many people. Perhaps it was a symbolic, rather than a practical, route.

    5. Banks and ditches
    The Avenue was defined by roughly parallel earthwork banks, each with a V-shaped outer ditch about 2 metres deep. At the point where the Avenue crosses King Barrow Ridge the distance between the mid-points of the ditches is about 30 metres.

    Today, most of the Avenue earthworks have been levelled by ploughing, but the location of the monument has been mapped from aerial photography and geophysical survey. Several excavations have taken place, including a large section beneath the present A303 in 1967.

    <p>Sheep with woolly coats had developed at this time so woollen fabrics were probably made, and fragments of linen cloth have been recovered from several barrows in Wiltshire.</p>

    <p>Because antiquaries generally did not keep human remains from round barrows, we do not have any information about the dead person&rsquos gender or age. However, this grave is assumed to have been that of a woman because she was buried with beads, probably forming a necklace.</p>

    <p>In the early Bronze Age and particularly at the time of &lsquoWessex Culture&rsquo burials, power and status was shown through jewellery and dress accessories. This woman was buried with pendants and beads made of amber, shale, jet, gold and fossils.</p>

    <p>The Normanton Down barrow cemetery comprises around 40 early Bronze Age round barrows and two small Neolithic long barrows.</p>

    <p>This round barrow is today classified as a bowl barrow, with a central mound 30m across surrounded by an 8m wide ditch. When it was excavated, the skeleton lay in a shallow grave cut into the chalk, presumably near the centre.</p>

    Burying a woman at Normanton Down barrow cemetery, about 1900 BC

    The Normanton Down group of early Bronze Age round barrows dominates the approach to Stonehenge from the south. Excavations by antiquaries uncovered several rich graves here. One of these barrows (called Wilsford G7 by archaeologists) was probably built about 2000&ndash1800 BC, and covered the grave of a person, probably a woman. She is shown here being buried before the barrow is constructed over her grave.

    1. Clothing
    Sheep with woolly coats had developed at this time so woollen fabrics were probably made, and fragments of linen cloth have been recovered from several barrows in Wiltshire.

    Other clues about the style of clothing in this period come from various dress accessories, such as belt hooks, pins of bone or bronze, buttons and toggles. A fragment of early Bronze Age shoe with lace holes has been found in Yorkshire.
    Special ceremonial costumes such as garments with attached bone points and ornate gold items have also been found, perhaps the costumes of shamans or leaders.

    2. Identity of the dead
    Because antiquaries generally did not keep human remains from round barrows, we do not have any information about the dead person&rsquos gender or age. However, in this period there does seem to be a distinction between graves with what appear to be &lsquomale&rsquo items (daggers) and &lsquofemale&rsquo items (beads and necklaces), although there are virtually no studies of skeletal material to support this.

    The grave within this barrow is assumed to have been that of a woman because she was buried with beads, probably forming a necklace.

    3. Grave goods
    In the early Bronze Age and particularly at the time of &lsquoWessex Culture&rsquo burials, power and status were shown through jewellery and dress accessories. This woman was buried with pendants and beads made of amber, shale, jet, gold and fossils, probably forming a necklace. This sort of composite necklace may have functioned in a similar way to a modern charm bracelet, with different beads being handed down and exchanged. Some of the materials chosen, such as jet and amber, may have been regarded as special or magical because of their physical properties.

    4. Barrow cemetery
    The Normanton Down barrow cemetery comprises around 40 early Bronze Age round barrows and two small Neolithic long barrows. Most of the barrows were excavated by antiquaries William Cunnington and Richard Colt Hoare in the early 19th century. They discovered the famous Bush Barrow grave, as well as several other rich burials.

    A recent survey of the earthworks, combined with information derived from the grave goods, has given some clues about the sequence in which the barrows were built, which has been used to inform how the barrows are shown here.

    5. Barrow
    This round barrow is today classified as a bowl barrow, with a central mound 30 metres across surrounded by an 8-metre wide ditch. When it was excavated, the skeleton lay in a shallow grave cut into the chalk, presumably near the centre. As the woman would have been buried before the barrow itself was constructed, the position of the outer ditch has been shown here as marked out and dug to a shallow depth. After the burial had taken place, the construction of the mound would have been completed.

    <p>Snails from the ditches of the Stonehenge and Lesser Cursus, built in about 3500 BC, show that these monuments were surrounded by open chalk grassland. However, there were certainly some trees in the wider area.</p>

    <p>It is difficult to use the archaeological record to find out about children, particularly in the Neolithic period. Based on comparisons with modern populations, it is likely that between one-fifth and one-half of all deaths occurred at less than 16 years of age. Despite this, very few skeletal remains of children have been found in the Stonehenge area.</p> <p>This may be because infant bones are less likely to survive, and were not collected in older excavations, or that children were less often selected for formal burial than adults.</p>

    <p>They were probably kept by people throughout the Neolithic and early Bronze Age periods. Dog bones have been recovered from the ditch at Stonehenge, and from the henge sites of Coneybury and Durrington Walls.</p>

    <p>We know very little about the clothes worn by people during the early Neolithic period in Britain, since no actual garments have survived. However, animal skins, furs and hides were certainly used.</p>

    <p>Domestic cattle were introduced into Britain from Europe at the beginning of the Neolithic period. The earliest cattle bone from the Stonehenge landscape, dating to 3950&ndash3790 BC, was found in the Coneybury Anomaly, a feasting pit.</p>

    Cattle herding in the Stonehenge landscape, about 3700 BC

    In the early Neolithic period, this area was largely open grassland and was used by people grazing their cattle herds. There was a mosaic of trees and shrubs, but the area was reasonably open compared with other parts of southern England. People probably moved seasonally between different settlements and grazing areas.

    1. Landscape
    Our information about the appearance of the prehistoric landscape comes from three sources: preserved pollen, wood charcoal and land snail shells (different species prefer to live in different types of environment).

    Snails from the ditches of the Stonehenge and Lesser Cursus, built in about 3500 BC, show that these monuments were surrounded by open chalk grassland. However, there were certainly some trees in the wider area. Hazel, maple, ash and elm charcoal was recovered from under the bank at Robin Hood&rsquos Ball causewayed enclosure.

    2. Children
    It is difficult to use the archaeological record to find out about children, particularly in the Neolithic period. Based on comparisons with modern populations, it is likely that between one-fifth and one-half of all deaths occurred at less than 16 years of age. Despite this, very few skeletal remains of children have been found in the Stonehenge area.

    This may be because infant bones are less likely to survive, and were not collected in older excavations, or that children were less often selected for formal burial than adults.

    3. Dog
    The earliest known remains of domestic dogs in Britain are from Star Carr in North Yorkshire, dating from the Mesolithic period. They were probably kept by people throughout the Neolithic and early Bronze Age periods. Dog bones have been recovered from the ditch at Stonehenge, and from the henge sites of Coneybury and Durrington Walls.

    The bones suggest that dogs at this time were between 37 and 62 centimetres tall at the shoulder. They were probably kept as hunting animals, and to assist with herding and protecting livestock.

    4. Clothing
    We know very little about the clothes worn by people during the early Neolithic period in Britain, since no actual garments have survived. Animal skins, furs and hides were certainly used, as suggested by discoveries of bone awls (to pierce holes) and scrapers (to scrape fat from hides).

    The earliest evidence for a textile from Britain is in the form of an imprint on the surface of a piece of Neolithic Impressed Ware pottery from Flint Howe, Scotland. A piece of linen thread was discovered at Etton in Cambridgeshire in an early Neolithic ditch.

    5. Cattle
    Domestic cattle were introduced into Britain from Europe at the beginning of the Neolithic period. The earliest cattle bone from the Stonehenge landscape, dating to 3950&ndash3790 BC, was found in the Coneybury Anomaly, a feasting pit.

    Cattle would have been kept for meat, traction, dairy and products such as leather. In the early Neolithic period, cattle remains were often buried within long barrows and placed in the ditches of monuments. They may have been regarded as sacred.

    <p>It is likely that some sort of container was used to haul the chalk up onto the cursus bank. Wickerwork such as fish-traps and baskets were made in Britain from at least the late Mesolithic period using young stems of trees and scrubs. </p>

    <p>We know very little about how early Neolithic society was organised, but large-scale communal undertakings such as building a cursus imply some kind of organisation and co-ordination.</p>

    <p>Antler picks were used to dig the ditches of the cursus. The antlers were converted to picks by shortening them, sometimes with the aid of fire. Often antlers were left in the base of a ditch when it was completed.</p>

    <p>Two geophysical surveys of the cursus have recently identified three possible entrances &ndash one on the northern side and two on the southern side.</p>

    <p>The long barrow at the east end of the Stonehenge Cursus was excavated in 1866 by John Thurnam. Here it is shown as recently built. The long barrow only survives today as a very slight earthwork beneath a track.</p>

    Building the Stonehenge Cursus, about 3500 BC

    Before Stonehenge, a number of other monuments were built in the area, including the enormous Stonehenge Cursus. This group of monuments shows that the landscape surrounding Stonehenge was important long before the monument itself was erected.

    1. Baskets
    It is likely that some sort of container was used to haul the chalk up onto the Cursus bank. Wickerwork such as fish-traps and baskets were made in Britain from at least the late Mesolithic period using young stems of trees and scrubs. More delicate baskets were made from fibres or from grasses or rushes.

    Finds from prehistoric Britain are rare, but a burnt container or basket was recovered from the ditch at West Amesbury henge, and a basketry bag, probably made of lime fibres, was found with an early Bronze Age burial at Whitehorse Hill, Dartmoor.

    2. Working party
    We know very little about how early Neolithic society was organised, but large-scale communal undertakings such as building a cursus imply some kind of organisation and co-ordination.

    Many early Neolithic monuments (particularly causewayed enclosures) were built in clear segments or sections. These have been interpreted as showing that small, separate groups, perhaps families or households, were each responsible for one section.

    We do not know whether a small group of people built the Stonehenge Cursus over a long period or whether a large group built it quickly.

    3. Antler tools
    Antler picks, found during archaeological excavations, were used to dig the ditches of the Cursus. Predominantly from red deer, these antlers would have been shed in the spring, and collecting them would have been an important seasonal activity.

    The antlers were converted into picks by shortening them, sometimes with the aid of fire. Battering on the back of the pick, seen on many examples, suggests that they were either hit with a stone or another antler, or used as a hammer themselves. Often antlers were left in the base of a ditch when it was completed.

    4. Entrances
    Two geophysical surveys of the Cursus have recently identified three possible entrances &ndash one on the northern side and two on the southern side. The fact that the Cursus may have had narrow entrances on its long sides suggests that people were entering the monument to cross it, rather than processing along it from end to end. However, there is little evidence to suggest how cursus monuments might have been used.

    5. Long barrow
    The long barrow at the east end of the Stonehenge Cursus, known to archaeologists as Amesbury 42, was excavated in 1866 by John Thurnam. He found several burials (none of which he thought were the original one) and cattle skulls and bones.

    Recent excavations of the long barrow ditch recovered an antler from the lowest layer of chalk, which was radiocarbon-dated to 3520&ndash3350 BC. We do not know whether the Cursus or the long barrow was built first. Here it is shown as recently built. The long barrow only survives today as a slight earthwork beneath a track.

    <p>The digging of the roughly circular ditch, 110 metres in diameter, was probably the first major construction activity at Stonehenge.</p>

    <p>Over 130 antler implements have been found during excavations at Stonehenge, the vast majority from the ditch. Antlers were probably used as handled wedges, the tip being hammered into a crack in the chalk and the block then levered out.</p>

    <p>Animal bones appear to have been deliberately placed on the base of the ditch. The practice of depositing animal bones is common at earlier Neolithic monuments called causewayed enclosures.</p>

    <p>The Heel Stone is a large, unworked natural sarsen stone, standing at the entrance to Stonehenge. It may have been an isolated stone that was raised upright in the Neolithic period, perhaps as early as 3000 BC, as shown here.</p>

    <p>We do not know much about the people who dug the ditch. Its irregular shape is of a kind seen at earlier causewayed enclosures and may reflect the way in which the ditch was dug by small groups of people.</p>

    Depositing bones in the ditch at Stonehenge, about 3000 BC

    About 500 years before the large stones were raised, people dug a large circular bank and ditch at Stonehenge.This was an early type of henge. After the ditch was completed, people deposited animal bones and other items in the bottom of the ditch.

    1. Ditch
    The digging of the roughly circular ditch, 110 metres in diameter, was probably the first major construction activity at Stonehenge.

    Roughly half the ditch at Stonehenge has been excavated. Excavations have shown that it was segmented and uneven in shape, but in general had a flat base and steep sides. The main gap or entrance was to the north-east and was about 13 metres wide. There was another, smaller entrance, about 5 metres wide, and probably a third narrower entrance, both in the southern portion of the circuit.

    2. Antler picks
    Over 130 antler implements have been found during excavations at Stonehenge, the vast majority from the ditch. It is likely that these were used to dig the ditch &ndash in one area a cluster of five picks was found. About one-third of the antlers from Stonehenge were from hunted deer (rather than shed), which is unusual compared to other monuments.

    Antlers were probably used as handled wedges, the tip being hammered into a crack in the chalk and the block then levered out. A block of chalk was even found at Stonehenge with the broken tip of an antler embedded in it.

    3. Animal bones
    Animal bones appear to have been deliberately placed on the base of the ditch. These included two cattle jaws, a cattle skull and a red deer leg bone that have radiocarbon dates suggesting that they had been kept as trophies or heirlooms for some time, perhaps for over 100 years, before being placed in the ditch.

    Other deposits in the Stonehenge ditch include cattle bones, but also pig, deer, bird and dog bones. The practice of depositing animal bones is common at earlier Neolithic monuments called causewayed enclosures.

    4. Heel Stone
    The Heel Stone is a large, unworked natural sarsen stone, standing at the entrance to Stonehenge. It may have been an isolated stone that was raised upright in the Neolithic period, perhaps as early as 3000 BC, as shown here.

    The Heel Stone might not have been the only feature present at this early stage of Stonehenge. An earthwork survey has suggested that the North &lsquoBarrow&rsquo may be earlier than the outer ditch, and radiocarbon dates of two cremations from the Aubrey Holes indicate that some of the people buried at Stonehenge may have died before the ditch was dug.

    5. Ditch diggers
    We do not know much about the people who dug the ditch. It is quite irregular, with &lsquocraters&rsquo, or rounded deeper segments, and ridges in between. This sort of irregular shape is seen at earlier causewayed enclosures and may reflect the way in which the ditch was dug by small groups of people.

    At about the time that the ditch was dug, the first cremation burials were being interred at Stonehenge, in and around pits known as the Aubrey Holes within the ditch. Recently some archaeologists have interpreted these cremated people as a dynasty or elite group.

    <p>Logic suggests that the large stones of the inner horseshoe at Stonehenge were raised before the outer circle, as shown in this view.</p>

    <p>The lintels were probably raised to the tops of the uprights using a &lsquocrib&rsquo method, where a platform of alternating horizontal timbers is gradually increased in height, with the lintel being levered up at each stage.</p>

    <p>We have no information about how the people who built Stonehenge were organised. However, it is clear that the various episodes of building and re-arranging would have needed a strong co-operative effort from hundreds of people.</p>

    <p>The stone holes were dug to varying depths, depending on the length of the stone, so that the tops were level. The stone was raised probably using an A-frame as a lever, and perhaps using weights to help tip the stone, as shown here.</p>

    <p>In order to move the stones upright, late Neolithic people would have used strong rope, capable of hauling the heavy stones. It is likely that these ropes were made from plant fibres or thin wood stems twisted together.</p>

    Raising the sarsens at Stonehenge, about 2500 BC

    The sarsen stones were raised at the centre of Stonehenge in about 2500 BC. The inner horseshoe of trilithons was probably put up first, and then the outer sarsen circle.

    1. Building sequence
    Our understanding of the sequence of construction is based on archaeological stratigraphy (the way that layers and deposits are laid down in the ground) and radiocarbon dating of organic finds such as antler picks from within features such as stone holes.

    There is only one radiocarbon date associated with the sarsen circle (2620&ndash2470 BC) and one with the trilithons of the inner horseshoe (2620&ndash2340 BC). However, logic would suggest that the large stones of the inner horseshoe were raised before the outer circle, as shown in this view.

    2. Scaffolding
    The lintels were probably raised to the tops of the uprights using a &lsquocrib&rsquo method, where a platform of alternating horizontal timbers is gradually increased in height, with the lintel being levered up at each stage. Many hundreds of trees would have been required to supply the timber for the scaffolding, ramps and A-frames. It has been estimated that 200 tree trunks would have been required just to create a lintel-raising platform.

    3. Builders
    We have no information about how the people who built Stonehenge were organised. But it is clear that the various episodes of building and re-arranging would have needed a strong co-operative effort from hundreds of people.

    There is no direct archaeological evidence for any leaders. However, the visually and physically restricted centre of the monument implies the existence of a small group of privileged people who controlled access to Stonehenge at certain periods.

    4. Stone hole
    The stone holes were dug to varying depths, depending on the length of the stone, so that the tops were level. From excavations, we know that one side of each hole was left as a slope, forming a ramp. Against the back of the hole (i.e. opposite the ramp), a number of wooden stakes were set up, to protect that side of the hole from being crushed.

    The stone was raised probably using an A-frame as a lever, and perhaps using weights to help tip the stone, as shown here. The stone hole was then packed with chalk rubble, discarded tools and broken hammerstones.

    5. Ropes
    To haul the heavy stones upright, late Neolithic people would have used strong rope. It is likely that these ropes were made from plant fibres or thin wood stems twisted together. The earliest string found in Britain, from Bouldnor Cliff off the Isle of Wight, is made from plant fibre derived from a herbaceous plant, and dates to the late Mesolithic.

    Early Bronze Age ropes made of honeysuckle stems were found at Seahenge in Norfolk, and yew ropes have been found associated with plank-built boats in Gwent and Yorkshire.

    <p>This was a multiple timber circle, similar to Woodhenge, first discovered during excavations in 1968. It probably had two phases, the final monument having six concentric rings of posts.</p>

    <p>Among the houses clustered in this area, there were many pits and rubbish dumps, or &lsquomiddens&rsquo. These are thought to be from feasting events, rather than everyday consumption.</p>

    <p>Hundreds of animal bones have been recovered from excavations at Durrington Walls, mostly pig but also significant numbers of cattle. Studies of their teeth show that some of the animals were raised away from the local chalk geology and brought to Durrington Walls, probably on the hoof.</p>

    <p>In 2006&ndash7 nine small square houses were excavated. The overall size of the settlement is unknown, although the amount of midden debris found in excavations at various locations across the site suggests that it was large and intensely occupied.</p>

    <p>The roadway, or avenue, was 30 metres wide and ran between the Southern Circle and the eastern entrance to the later henge. Like the Southern Circle, it was aligned on the midwinter solstice sunrise.</p>

    Durrington Walls settlement, about 2500 BC

    The large settlement at Durrington Walls may have been where the builders or users of Stonehenge lived.

    People were living at Durrington Walls at the same time that the sarsen stones were being put up at Stonehenge. This may have been where the builders of Stonehenge lived, or perhaps where people gathered to take place in ceremonies and rituals associated with the monument. Later, a huge earthwork enclosure, or henge, was built around the site of the settlement.

    1. Southern circle
    This was a multiple timber circle, similar to Woodhenge, first discovered during excavations in 1968. It probably had two phases, the final monument having six concentric rings of posts. The largest timbers stood at least 5 metres high, and perhaps as much as 7.5 metres.

    The entrance was to the south-east and led onto a roadway or avenue where there was an extensive area of burning. Pottery, animal bones and tools seem to have been deposited here, particularly after the posts had decayed. The monument is aligned on the midwinter solstice sunrise.

    2. Middens
    Among the houses clustered in this area there were many pits and rubbish dumps, or &lsquomiddens&rsquo. These are thought to be from feasting events, rather than everyday consumption. Some of the animal bones were still articulated, or joined together, suggesting that there was plenty of meat available.

    As well as animal bones, there were many pieces of Grooved Ware pottery. Decorated with elaborate lines and grooves, this is often found in large quantities at henge monuments. It was probably used for cooking and serving feasts, as well as in everyday activities.

    3. Animal bones
    Many hundreds of animal bones have been recovered from excavations at Durrington Walls, mostly pig but also significant numbers of cattle. Butchery marks and evidence of burning on the pig bones suggest that they were roasted, whereas beef may have been cooked in stews.

    Studies of their teeth show that some of the animals were raised away from the local chalk geology and brought to Durrington Walls, probably on the hoof. If the people who raised the animals brought them, this suggests the gathering of people from varous long-distance locations.

    4. Settlement
    In 2006&ndash7 nine small square houses were excavated. The overall size of the settlement is unknown, although the amount of midden debris found in excavations at various locations across the site suggests that it was large and intensely occupied.

    The excavator, Mike Parker Pearson, has suggested that there were perhaps hundreds of houses here, but we don&rsquot yet know the full extent of the settlement. The radiocarbon dates suggest that it was occupied for a relatively short time, between 2580 and 2470 BC.

    5. Avenue
    The roadway, or avenue, was 30 metres wide and ran between the Southern Circle and the eastern entrance to the later henge. Its trampled flint surface was flanked by shallow gullies inside low banks. The avenue, like the Southern Circle, was aligned on the midwinter solstice sunrise.

    At the river, the roadway led to a near-vertical 4 metre drop. Mike Parker Pearson has suggested that people could have deposited things into the river from this point. Clearly the waterway was important &ndash it may have provided a real or metaphorical link to Stonehenge.

    <p>On the ridge to the south of Woodhenge are three intriguing wooden structures. These had a square setting of four large posts, and usually two paired pits or postholes defining the entrance.</p>

    <p>The timber monument at Woodhenge was surrounded by a circular earthwork bank and ditch, or henge, with an entrance causeway. It is likely that this henge was built after the wooden monument.</p>

    <p>There were six concentric oval rings of posts, of different sizes. From the postholes that were excavated, the posts were uniformly round in shape, although we can only guess at how they appeared above ground.</p>

    <p>Individual human bones and cremations were found in the postholes, and in the henge bank and ditch. The bones were usually individual scattered bones rather than whole burials.</p>

    <p>When Woodhenge was excavated, there were hundreds of prehistoric finds. Most were found in the postholes, although some were underneath the surrounding henge bank and others in the ditch.</p>

    Woodhenge, about 2500 BC

    Woodhenge was a timber monument surrounded by a henge bank and ditch, built about two miles from Stonehenge. It lies near the complex of monuments at Durrington Walls. After cropmarks of six concentric oval rings of postholes were seen on early aerial photographs, it was excavated in 1926&ndash8 by Ben and Maud Cunnington.

    1. Timber structures
    On the ridge to the south of Woodhenge are three intriguing wooden structures. These had a square setting of four large posts, and usually two paired pits or postholes defining the entrance.

    These &lsquofour post in circle&rsquo settings are also known elsewhere within the Durrington Walls complex and from other late Neolithic sites in Britain. We do not know their purpose &ndash perhaps they were special buildings, or platforms for laying out the dead for excarnation (the process of allowing corpses to be defleshed by natural means).

    2. Henge
    The timber monument at Woodhenge was surrounded by a circular earthwork bank and ditch, or henge, with an entrance causeway. Based on the few radiocarbon dates from Woodhenge and evidence from other sites where timber circles pre-date henge earthworks, it is likely this henge was built after the wooden monument, which is why we have not shown it in this image. Similarly, the enormous henge at Durrington Walls was built after the settlement had gone out of use.

    3. Wooden posts
    There were six concentric oval rings of posts, of different sizes. The third ring (called Ring C by the excavators) contained the largest, estimated to have stood about 9 metres tall.

    From the postholes that were excavated, the posts were uniformly round in shape, although we can only guess at how they appeared above ground. They may have been painted, decorated or carved. Perhaps objects or offerings were hung from the posts. They may have supported lintels, in a similar way to the outer sarsen circle at Stonehenge.

    4. Human remains
    Individual human bones and cremations were found in the postholes, and in the henge bank and ditch. The bones were usually individual scattered bones rather than whole burials. They seem to have been deposited in a similar way to other items and were perhaps regarded as another type of special object.

    Two full burials have also been found. A child aged two or three years was buried in the centre of the monument at an unknown date, the site now marked by a flint cairn. In the henge ditch was the burial of a young man, aged 18&ndash25, dating from the early Bronze Age.

    5. Deposition
    When Woodhenge was excavated, there were hundreds of prehistoric finds. Most were found in the postholes, although some were underneath the surrounding henge bank and others in the ditch. These included Grooved Ware pottery, antler picks, flint tools, worked bone objects, chalk objects and a variety of animal bones.

    Analysis of the distribution of the objects has shown that they were deposited according to certain patterns, perhaps reflecting the way that people moved around. For example, almost all the antler picks came from the eastern half of the monument.

    <p>We know little about the activities carried out at Stonehenge once the stones had been erected, but we can imagine people gathering at midsummer and midwinter, to mark the passing of the seasons.</p>

    <p>We know little about clothes worn during the late Neolithic period in Britain, since no actual garments have survived. Animal skins, furs and hides were certainly used, providing much needed warmth during the winter months.</p>

    <p>The fact that the centre of Stonehenge is a visually and physically restricted space implies the existence of a small group of privileged people who represented the community in this space, perhaps ritual specialists such as shamans, secular leaders or an elite family.</p>

    <p>The sarsen stones on this north-east side of Stonehenge are more regular and visually imposing than the stones elsewhere in the outer circle. This shows that the approach from that side, where the Avenue was later built, was very important.</p>

    <p>Stonehenge is famous for the alignment of its stones and the Avenue in the direction of the midsummer solstice sunrise. But in prehistoric times the midwinter sunset may have been just as important.</p>

    Celebrating midwinter solstice at Stonehenge, about 2300 BC

    Stonehenge is a prehistoric temple, the stones of which are aligned with the movements of the sun.

    The stones line up with the rising and setting of the sun at the midsummer and midwinter solstices. This suggests that people gathered for ceremonies at these times of year.

    1. People
    We know little about the activities carried out at Stonehenge once the stones had been erected. Although in the first few hundred years the enclosure was used as a cremation cemetery, it seems that once the stones were erected Stonehenge was kept clean and perhaps separate from everyday life.

    We can imagine people gathering at midsummer and midwinter, to mark the passing of the seasons. Analysis of the animal bones from nearby Durrington Walls has shown that people might have been travelling from long distances to gather there.

    2. Clothing
    We know little about clothes worn during the late Neolithic period in Britain, since no actual garments have survived. Animal skins, furs and hides were certainly used, as suggested by discoveries of bone awls (to pierce holes) and scrapers (to scrape fat from hides). They would have provided much needed warmth during the winter months.

    Plant materials such as flax, lime tree fibres and linen were probably also used. Fragments of clothing made from linen and lime bast have been recovered from Neolithic lake-edge settlements in Switzerland and Germany.

    3. Priest
    Archaeologists have found very few finds from the stone monument. Without them, we have only the layout of the stones to help us understand how the monument was used. The centre of Stonehenge is a visually and physically restricted space &ndash it is difficult to see what is going on there from the outside, and only a certain number of people can stand there.

    This implies the existence of a small group of privileged people who represented the community in this central space, perhaps ritual specialists such as shamans, secular leaders or an elite family.

    4. Stones
    The sarsen stones on the north-east side of Stonehenge are more regular and visually imposing than the stones elsewhere in the outer circle. The lintels are also more substantial. Analysis of a laser scan of the stones has shown that they were also more carefully dressed than other stones, the brown or grey crust removed to reveal a bright grey-white surface.

    This shows that the approach from the north-east, where the Avenue was later built, was very important. The builders were creating a dramatic visual spectacle for those approaching from this direction.

    5. Winter
    Stonehenge is famous for the alignment of its stones and the Avenue in the direction of the midsummer solstice sunrise.

    In prehistoric times the midwinter sunset may have been just as important. In the opposite direction from the summer solstice, the midwinter sun would have set between the two upright stones of the tallest trilithon, dropping down behind the Altar Stone. This would have been visible to people approaching up the Avenue.

    <p>We know that the Avenue was built and existed within well-established open grazed grassland. It was probably used for the extensive grazing of cattle and sheep.</p>

    <p>Stonehenge was still in active use at the time the Avenue was created between about 2345 and 2200 BC. It was about this time that the positions of the bluestones were rearranged within the monument and that a man, the &lsquoStonehenge Archer&rsquo, was buried in the Stonehenge ditch.</p>

    <p>During the period when the Avenue was constructed some people were being buried in individual rather than communal graves. These graves were often covered with earth mounds, or round barrows. The largest barrows around Stonehenge were later in date.</p>

    <p>We have shown a small group of people walking down the Avenue, following the long-held assumption that it was a processional approach between the river and Stonehenge. However, there is no direct evidence for how the Avenue was used.</p>

    <p>The Avenue was defined by roughly parallel earthwork banks, each with a V-shaped outer ditch about 2 metres deep.</p>

    The Stonehenge Avenue at King Barrow Ridge, about 2200 BC

    The Avenue extends over 1.7 miles (2.8km) between Stonehenge and the river Avon. It may have been a processional route. The parallel banks and ditches form a corridor about 12 metres wide.

    1. Landscape
    Our information about the appearance of the prehistoric landscape comes from three sources: preserved pollen, wood charcoal and land snail shells (different species prefer to live in different types of environment).

    We know that the Avenue was created within well-established open grazed grassland. It was probably used for the extensive grazing of cattle and sheep. Some of the barrows on King Barrow Ridge, near the location of this reconstruction, were built of stacked turf blocks. Building them would have required the stripping of large areas of grass.

    2. Stonehenge
    Four antler picks from the ditches of the Avenue have been radiocarbon-dated to give an estimate of the construction to 2345&ndash2200 BC, between 200 and 300 years after the sarsen stones were raised at Stonehenge.

    Stonehenge was still in active use. It was about this time that the positions of the bluestones were rearranged within the monument and that a man, the &lsquoStonehenge Archer&rsquo, was buried in the Stonehenge ditch. This was the time of the earliest use of metals in Britain &ndash the man in the foreground of this reconstruction is carrying a copper axe.

    3. Barrows
    The period when the Avenue was constructed was a time of great change, when new ideas, objects and people were beginning to arrive from continental Europe. Some people were buried in individual graves with Beaker pottery and the earliest metal objects. These graves were often covered with earth mounds, or round barrows, though the largest barrows around Stonehenge were later in date.

    Some of the round barrows close to Stonehenge are shown here as recently constructed, although we these specific barrows were unlikely to have been the first to be built.

    4. Use of the Avenue
    There is a long-held assumption that the Avenue was a processional approach between the river and Stonehenge. However, there is no direct evidence for how it was used.

    If it was used regularly as a route, we would expect the central part to be worn and hollowed, particularly where it rises up the hill on the ascent towards Stonehenge, but it is not. If processions did take place they either did not happen very often or did not involve many people. Perhaps it was a symbolic, rather than a practical, route.

    5. Banks and ditches
    The Avenue was defined by roughly parallel earthwork banks, each with a V-shaped outer ditch about 2 metres deep. At the point where the Avenue crosses King Barrow Ridge the distance between the mid-points of the ditches is about 30 metres.

    Today, most of the Avenue earthworks have been levelled by ploughing, but the location of the monument has been mapped from aerial photography and geophysical survey. Several excavations have taken place, including a large section beneath the present A303 in 1967.

    <p>Sheep with woolly coats had developed at this time so woollen fabrics were probably made, and fragments of linen cloth have been recovered from several barrows in Wiltshire.</p>

    <p>Because antiquaries generally did not keep human remains from round barrows, we do not have any information about the dead person&rsquos gender or age. However, this grave is assumed to have been that of a woman because she was buried with beads, probably forming a necklace.</p>

    <p>In the early Bronze Age and particularly at the time of &lsquoWessex Culture&rsquo burials, power and status was shown through jewellery and dress accessories. This woman was buried with pendants and beads made of amber, shale, jet, gold and fossils.</p>

    <p>The Normanton Down barrow cemetery comprises around 40 early Bronze Age round barrows and two small Neolithic long barrows.</p>

    <p>This round barrow is today classified as a bowl barrow, with a central mound 30m across surrounded by an 8m wide ditch. When it was excavated, the skeleton lay in a shallow grave cut into the chalk, presumably near the centre.</p>

    Burying a woman at Normanton Down barrow cemetery, about 1900 BC

    The Normanton Down group of early Bronze Age round barrows dominates the approach to Stonehenge from the south. Excavations by antiquaries uncovered several rich graves here. One of these barrows (called Wilsford G7 by archaeologists) was probably built about 2000&ndash1800 BC, and covered the grave of a person, probably a woman. She is shown here being buried before the barrow is constructed over her grave.

    1. Clothing
    Sheep with woolly coats had developed at this time so woollen fabrics were probably made, and fragments of linen cloth have been recovered from several barrows in Wiltshire.

    Other clues about the style of clothing in this period come from various dress accessories, such as belt hooks, pins of bone or bronze, buttons and toggles. A fragment of early Bronze Age shoe with lace holes has been found in Yorkshire.
    Special ceremonial costumes such as garments with attached bone points and ornate gold items have also been found, perhaps the costumes of shamans or leaders.

    2. Identity of the dead
    Because antiquaries generally did not keep human remains from round barrows, we do not have any information about the dead person&rsquos gender or age. However, in this period there does seem to be a distinction between graves with what appear to be &lsquomale&rsquo items (daggers) and &lsquofemale&rsquo items (beads and necklaces), although there are virtually no studies of skeletal material to support this.

    The grave within this barrow is assumed to have been that of a woman because she was buried with beads, probably forming a necklace.

    3. Grave goods
    In the early Bronze Age and particularly at the time of &lsquoWessex Culture&rsquo burials, power and status were shown through jewellery and dress accessories. This woman was buried with pendants and beads made of amber, shale, jet, gold and fossils, probably forming a necklace. This sort of composite necklace may have functioned in a similar way to a modern charm bracelet, with different beads being handed down and exchanged. Some of the materials chosen, such as jet and amber, may have been regarded as special or magical because of their physical properties.

    4. Barrow cemetery
    The Normanton Down barrow cemetery comprises around 40 early Bronze Age round barrows and two small Neolithic long barrows. Most of the barrows were excavated by antiquaries William Cunnington and Richard Colt Hoare in the early 19th century. They discovered the famous Bush Barrow grave, as well as several other rich burials.

    A recent survey of the earthworks, combined with information derived from the grave goods, has given some clues about the sequence in which the barrows were built, which has been used to inform how the barrows are shown here.

    5. Barrow
    This round barrow is today classified as a bowl barrow, with a central mound 30 metres across surrounded by an 8-metre wide ditch. When it was excavated, the skeleton lay in a shallow grave cut into the chalk, presumably near the centre. As the woman would have been buried before the barrow itself was constructed, the position of the outer ditch has been shown here as marked out and dug to a shallow depth. After the burial had taken place, the construction of the mound would have been completed.


    6,000-year-old Neolithic henge and barrow uncovered in Kent - History

    This survey involved the interpretation, transcription and recording of archaeological features s. more This survey involved the interpretation, transcription and recording of archaeological features seen on aerial photographs in the immediate vicinity of the Stoke Down Neolithic flint mines near Chichester, West Sussex. The main stimulus was the discovery during the annual English Heritage reconnaissance programme of new cropmark detail, including an extension to the area of mining itself as well as the recognition of some nearby ring ditches. The opportunity was also taken to examine the history of investigation at the flint mines. This represents a considerable updating of the survey undertaken for the 1999 RCHME publication The Neolithic Flint Mines of England.

    Between 1917 and 1921, Stonehenge had an aerodrome for a near-neighbour. Initially a Royal Flying. more Between 1917 and 1921, Stonehenge had an aerodrome for a near-neighbour. Initially a Royal Flying Corps training establishment, from January 1918 it became the No. 1 School of Aerial Navigation and Bomb Dropping, home to a contingent of RNAS Handley Page bombers. The aerodrome featured two camps either side of a take-off and landing ground, the first located close to Fargo Plantation, and a subsequent and more substantial technical and domestic site situated either side of what is now the A303, a few hundred yards west of Stonehenge.

    After the war, the aerodrome buildings became the focus of debate about what constituted unacceptable modern intrusions in the Stonehenge landscape. Converted to both agricultural and domestic use, the hangars and accommodation blocks prompted the first demands to ‘restore’ the Stonehenge landscape – not to what it had been prior to the war, but to something deemed more appropriate as a setting for the monument. Following a public appeal, the aerodrome and neighbouring farmland was purchased, the buildings dismantled and removed, and the land handed to the National Trust. The result was intended to be a landscape freed from “the restless and commonplace current of every day life”.

    Stonehenge was transformed considerably during the 20th century, the monument itself being subjec. more Stonehenge was transformed considerably during the 20th century, the monument itself being subjected to more intervention and alteration from 1901 than at any time since the Bronze Age. Some of the most important episodes of excavation at Stonehenge during the 20th century were driven by a desire to interfere with the monument’s physical appearance, often but not always due to concerns about stability. The romantic ruin of previous generations – leaning monoliths, twisted trilithons and recumbent sarsens – was rationalised into a more upright, orderly design and secured for posterity with concrete. At the same time, the visibility of the enclosing earthworks was enhanced for the paying visitor, the enclosure ditch only partially backfilled and surplus material spread across the site to conceal old trackways. 1901 was also the year that the monument was first enclosed and an admission charge introduced, both intended as means of controlling the numbers and types of visitor. Since Stonehenge passed into State hands in 1918, catering for the increasing numbers of visitors has also continued to play an important role in the presentation and appearance of the monument and its immediate surroundings.

    Viewing the recent history of Stonehenge through a narrative that sees a privately-owned and neglected 19th century ruin transformed, via essential maintenance and repair, into a unique and monumental expression of Neolithic beliefs and achievement rather overlooks the complexities of that 20th century transformation. Looking more closely at the circumstances surrounding three key episodes – the appearance in 1881 of some timber supports the straightening and concreting of the massive Stone 56 in 1901 and the uncompleted ‘reparations’ of 1919-20 – helps to show not only why we have a more stable and secure monument today, but also that the Stonehenge of the 21st century is no closer to its prehistoric state than it was in 1901.


    6,000-year-old child skeleton found in Israel's ⟊ve of Horrors' along with ancient Dead Sea scrolls and world's oldest basket

    Archaeologists have discovered the 6,000-year-old skeleton of a child in the "Cave of Horrors" in Israel's Judean Desert alongside ancient Dead Sea scrolls as well as what may be the world's oldest basket.

    The Cave of Horrors takes its name from the 40 skeletons found there during excavations in the 1960s. Researchers found the child's remains naturally mummified in the dry atmosphere of the cave, which can be accessed only by climbing ropes.

    A CT scan revealed that the child, who had skin, tendons, and even hair partially preserved, was between 6 and 12 years old, according to Smithsonian Magazine. The child is thought to have been a girl.

    "It was obvious that whoever buried the child had wrapped him up and pushed the edges of the cloth beneath him, just as a parent covers his child in a blanket," Ronit Lupu, a prehistorian at the Israel Antiquities Authority, said in a statement. "A small bundle of cloth was clutched in the child's hands."

    The skeleton was found along with ancient Dead Sea scrolls, which are among the earliest texts written in Hebrew.

    The newly discovered fragments of the 2,000-year-old scrolls are Greek translations from the biblical books of Nahum and Zechariah, found in the Book of the 12 Minor Prophets in the Jewish Tanakh.

    The only Hebrew included in the text, however, is the name of God, The Independent said, and the scrolls are thought to have been hidden during a Jewish revolt against Rome, NBC News added.

    What appears to be the world's oldest recovered basket, dating back 10,000 years, was also found, as were arrowheads and coins thought to be from the Bar Kochba revolt period in other caves, The Guardian reported.

    The authority commissioned the excavation in 2017 after reports of plundering by looters, The Guardian said.


    Bronze Age burial near Stonehenge discovered by badger

    Objects found in a burial mound at Netheravon, Wiltshire, include a bronze saw, an archer's wrist guard, a copper chisel and cremated human remains.

    Experts believe the burial may have been that of an archer or a person who made archery equipment.

    The artefacts date back to 2,200-2,000BC, senior archaeologist Richard Osgood, of the MOD, said.

    The burial mound, about five miles north of Stonehenge, lies on MOD land.

    Mr Osgood, from the MOD's Defence Infrastructure Organisation, said it was "an exciting find".

    "It was utterly unexpected. These are wonderful artefacts from the early Bronze Age, about 2,200-2,000 BC," he said.

    Other archaeological finds in Wiltshire:

    1. Bronze Age burial discovered by a badger

    2. Soldiers uncover 27 ancient bodies at Barrow Clump on Salisbury Plain

    Also among the finds were shaft straighteners for straightening arrows, and pieces of pottery.

    Mr Osgood said the badger had dug out the cremation urn and sherds of pottery were lying on the surface when they were spotted.

    A full archaeological dig was then carried out on the site.

    Mr Osgood said: "There are badger setts in quite a few scheduled monuments - the actions of burrowing animals is one of the biggest risks to archaeology in Britain - but to bring out items of this quality from one hole is unusual.

    "We would never have known these objects were in there, so there's a small part of me that is quite pleased the badger did this. but it probably would have been better that these things had stayed within the monument where theyɽ resided for 4,000 years."

    Injured military personnel and veterans helped to excavate the site.

    The items are due to be put on display at Wiltshire Museum in Devizes later this year.


    Watch the video: ΜΑΘΕ ΝΑ ΧΤΙΖΕΙΣ ΤΗΝ ΠΕΤΡΑ (July 2022).


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