This is a well-rounded and readable account of research undertaken at Blick Mead, and one that undeniably establishes the site’s importance in adding to our understanding of the British Mesolithic, and of the wider Stonehenge landscape. Recollections from some of the project volunteers, which are printed at the start of each chapter, are a fitting tribute to the team’s community involvement and how many people have given their time to help investigate the site. But this monograph also serves as a timely reminder of the site’s significance at a time when the spring and its ancient contents are reportedly threatened by plans for the forthcoming Stonehenge tunnel.
The latest contribution to our understanding of Neolithic lifestyles in the British Isles comes in the form of a wide-ranging book by Keith Ray and Julian Thomas. In it, they demonstrate that many Mesolithic sites of gathering continued to be regarded as special places throughout the Neolithic. This deliberate commemoration of the past gives important insights into the minds of the first farmers. Chris Catling investigates.
This month marks 100 years since the end of the conflict that was supposed to be ‘the war to end all wars’ – sadly, it was anything but. The personal, political, and physical consequences of the First World War have enduring echoes, and although Britain’s landscape was spared the ravages of trench warfare, we can […]
In a research project originally published in Scientific Reports, Dr Christophe Snoeck and researchers from the University of Oxford, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, the Université libre de Bruxelles, the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, and University College London have used isotope analysis to examine some of the cremated human remains excavated at Stonehenge, with fascinating results. Their findings highlight not only how mobile some Neolithic populations were, and how important Stonehenge was to them, but also the lengths to which they may have been willing to go to bury their dead on the site.
On 26 October 1918, the nation received an unusual gift: Stonehenge. The monument had been bought at auction by Sir Cecil Chubb, who later presented it to the British government. Marking the centenary of this episode, we are exploring one of the newest discoveries from the site: the origins of some of the people whose […]
As I write, with a mid-August downpour hammering on the roof, this summer’s sweltering heatwave already feels a lifetime ago. During those drier times, though, the parched ground yielded a wealth of archaeological secrets as the ghostly outlines of buried features became strikingly clear. Hundreds of monuments, settlements, and other sites have been captured in […]
Recent analysis of cremated human remains excavated from Stonehenge has shown that some of the individuals buried at the Neolithic monument may have spent some of their lives in western Britain, or even west Wales – the same region where the Stonehenge bluestones are believed to have come from.
In this month’s Science Notes, we turn to one of the most immediately recognisable monuments in the world – Stonehenge – examining how the origin of its bluestones was taken for granted for so long, and how it shows why research is ever evolving, and never absolute.
The Stonehenge Bluestones is a semi-glossy, well-produced, slim, populist volume that, after ten years, replaces John’s earlier book, The Bluestone Enigma. It is the better of the two, with fewer factual errors, less immoderate language, and a closer understanding of the complexities of the ‘problem’: whence did the bluestones come and how were they moved to Salisbury Plain?
Any excavation carried out a stone’s throw from the Stonehenge World Heritage Site and some of its attendant monuments – Durrington Walls, Woodhenge, and, of course, the eponymous monument – is going to be special. The archaeology uncovered at the former military site at Durrington, comprising (among other features) two post-hole alignments, a Late Iron Age defensive ditch, and evidence of Roman-period settlement, is no exception. The post alignments formed part of the ‘web of interconnectivity’ through the ritual landscape. The Iron Age ditch followed the orientation of the postholes, hinting at continuity of landscape organisation. A bluestone disc found in one of the ditches of the later settlement could represent a prized object collected from Stonehenge in the Roman period.