Sunday, 12 June 2016

17. Visit Stonehenge

24 May 2016

This picture really says it all, what a birthday treat! Thanks Chris!


Stonehenge has many different meanings to people today. It is a wonder of the world, a spiritual place and a source of inspiration. With a history of over 4,000 years to me it signifies how sophisticated people were during the Neolithic. The Stone Circle is a masterpiece of engineering, and building it would have taken huge effort from hundreds of well-organised people using only simple tools and technologies. 
English Heritage have done a great job in making it into a tourist experience for those who aren't die hard stone lovers. The have invested a lot on money in making an attractive visitor centre with museum, gift shop  and café (serving excellent ciders) and creating the route to the stones as accessible as possible. The buses made me laugh out loud because one of mine and the best fours catchphrases is 'to the bar'.


Stonehenge is just a small part of a wider extraordinary archaeological landscape so rich and varied that it was designated a World Heritage Site in 1986. The World Heritage Site Management Plan summarises the significance, or outstanding universal value, of the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site as follows:
The Stonehenge, Avebury, and Associated Sites World Heritage Site is internationally important for its complexes of outstanding prehistoric monuments. Stonehenge is the most architecturally sophisticated prehistoric stone circle in the world, while Avebury is the largest in the world. Together with inter-related monuments and their associated landscapes, they help us to understand Neolithic and Bronze Age ceremonial and mortuary practices. They demonstrate around 2000 years of continuous use and monument building between c. 3700 and 1600 BC. As such they represent a unique embodiment of our collective heritage.  
I would recommend to anyone to go and visit this site but only as part of a visit to explore the wider prehistoric landscape in Wilshire. Even though the stone circle at Avebury isn’t as intact it is the largest in the world and sits in close proximity to Silbury Hill (the largest man made mound in the UK) and West Kennet Long Barrow one the largest and most accessible Neolithic chambered tombs in Britain.

Windmill Hill, Neolithic causewayed enclosure
West Kennet, long barrow
Silbury Hill
Avebury Stone circle

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