Stonehenge Riverside Project
Overview
 
The Stonehenge Riverside Project is a major AHRC
AHRC
AHRC can refer to:* Asian Human Rights Commission* Arts and Humanities Research Council* Association for the Help of Retarded Children* American Homeowners Resource Center* Australian Human Rights Commission...

-funded archaeological research study of the development of the Stonehenge
Stonehenge
Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in the English county of Wiltshire, about west of Amesbury and north of Salisbury. One of the most famous sites in the world, Stonehenge is composed of a circular setting of large standing stones set within earthworks...

 landscape in Neolithic and Bronze Age Britain. In particular, the project is interested in the relationship between the Stones and surrounding monuments and features including; the River Avon
River Avon, Hampshire
The River Avon is a river in the south of England. The river rises in the county of Wiltshire and flows through the city of Salisbury and the county of Hampshire before reaching the English Channel through Christchurch Harbour in the county of Dorset....

, Durrington Walls
Durrington Walls
Durrington Walls is the site of a large Neolithic settlement and later henge enclosure located in the Stonehenge World Heritage Site. It is 2 miles north-east of Stonehenge in the parish of Durrington, just north of Amesbury...

, the Cursus
Stonehenge Cursus
The Stonehenge Cursus is a large Neolithic cursus monument next to Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England....

, the Avenue
Stonehenge Avenue
Stonehenge Avenue is an ancient avenue marked as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Discovered in the 18th century, it measures nearly 3 kilometers, connecting Stonehenge with the River Avon...

, Woodhenge
Woodhenge
Woodhenge is a Neolithic Class I henge and timber circle monument located in the Stonehenge World Heritage Site in Wiltshire, England. It is north-east of Stonehenge in the parish of Durrington, just north of Amesbury.-Discovery:...

, burial mounds, and nearby standing stones. The project involves a substantial amount of fieldwork, the initial phase being a 5-year project from 2003–2008, which will then be extended, reliant on funding.
The project is directed by Mike Parker Pearson
Mike Parker Pearson
Michael "Mike" Parker Pearson is a professor in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Sheffield in England. His books include The Archaeology of Death and Burial, Bronze Age Britain, Architecture and Order and In Search of the Red Slave...

 (Sheffield University), Julian Thomas
Julian Thomas
Julian Stewart Thomas is a British archaeologist, publishing widely on the Neolithic and Bronze Age prehistory of Britain and north-west Europe...

 (Manchester University), Colin Richards (Manchester University), Kate Welham (Bournemouth University
Bournemouth University
Bournemouth University is a university in and around the large south coast town of Bournemouth, UK...

) , Joshua Pollard
Joshua Pollard
Dr Joshua Pollard FSA is a British archaeologist, who is currently Senior Lecturer and Head of Archaeology at the University of Bristol. He gained his BA and PhD in Archaeology from the Cardiff University, and has specialised in the archaeology of the Neolithic period in the UK and north-west...

 (Bristol University) and Chris Tilley (University College London
University College London
University College London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom and the oldest and largest constituent college of the federal University of London...

).
Encyclopedia
The Stonehenge Riverside Project is a major AHRC
AHRC
AHRC can refer to:* Asian Human Rights Commission* Arts and Humanities Research Council* Association for the Help of Retarded Children* American Homeowners Resource Center* Australian Human Rights Commission...

-funded archaeological research study of the development of the Stonehenge
Stonehenge
Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in the English county of Wiltshire, about west of Amesbury and north of Salisbury. One of the most famous sites in the world, Stonehenge is composed of a circular setting of large standing stones set within earthworks...

 landscape in Neolithic and Bronze Age Britain. In particular, the project is interested in the relationship between the Stones and surrounding monuments and features including; the River Avon
River Avon, Hampshire
The River Avon is a river in the south of England. The river rises in the county of Wiltshire and flows through the city of Salisbury and the county of Hampshire before reaching the English Channel through Christchurch Harbour in the county of Dorset....

, Durrington Walls
Durrington Walls
Durrington Walls is the site of a large Neolithic settlement and later henge enclosure located in the Stonehenge World Heritage Site. It is 2 miles north-east of Stonehenge in the parish of Durrington, just north of Amesbury...

, the Cursus
Stonehenge Cursus
The Stonehenge Cursus is a large Neolithic cursus monument next to Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England....

, the Avenue
Stonehenge Avenue
Stonehenge Avenue is an ancient avenue marked as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Discovered in the 18th century, it measures nearly 3 kilometers, connecting Stonehenge with the River Avon...

, Woodhenge
Woodhenge
Woodhenge is a Neolithic Class I henge and timber circle monument located in the Stonehenge World Heritage Site in Wiltshire, England. It is north-east of Stonehenge in the parish of Durrington, just north of Amesbury.-Discovery:...

, burial mounds, and nearby standing stones. The project involves a substantial amount of fieldwork, the initial phase being a 5-year project from 2003–2008, which will then be extended, reliant on funding.

Background

The project is directed by Mike Parker Pearson
Mike Parker Pearson
Michael "Mike" Parker Pearson is a professor in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Sheffield in England. His books include The Archaeology of Death and Burial, Bronze Age Britain, Architecture and Order and In Search of the Red Slave...

 (Sheffield University), Julian Thomas
Julian Thomas
Julian Stewart Thomas is a British archaeologist, publishing widely on the Neolithic and Bronze Age prehistory of Britain and north-west Europe...

 (Manchester University), Colin Richards (Manchester University), Kate Welham (Bournemouth University
Bournemouth University
Bournemouth University is a university in and around the large south coast town of Bournemouth, UK...

) , Joshua Pollard
Joshua Pollard
Dr Joshua Pollard FSA is a British archaeologist, who is currently Senior Lecturer and Head of Archaeology at the University of Bristol. He gained his BA and PhD in Archaeology from the Cardiff University, and has specialised in the archaeology of the Neolithic period in the UK and north-west...

 (Bristol University) and Chris Tilley (University College London
University College London
University College London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom and the oldest and largest constituent college of the federal University of London...

). The main aims of the project are to test the hypotheses of earlier studies that Stonehenge was a monument dedicated to the dead, whilst Woodhenge & Durrington Walls, two miles away, were monuments to the living and more recently deceased.

Previous excavations

The area immediately inside Stonehenge Bowl has been excavated several times throughout history, but to the east around Durrington Walls there have only been two major studies conducted within recent times. The first was between 1926 and 1929 when Maud Cunnington
Maud Cunnington
Maud Edith Cunnington , was a Welsh-born archaeologist, most famous for her pioneering work on the prehistoric sites of Salisbury Plain....

 excavated around Woodhenge, discovering several Neolithic and Bronze Age features to the south. Later, when the nearby A345 was improved and routed through Durrington Walls in 1967, two timber circles were discovered within the henge. Also discovered were vast amounts of animal bones and associated Neolithic pottery and tools.

2003 surveys

2003 fieldwork involved sampling and geophysical surveys of the land around Durrington Walls in preparation for future study. This work helped identify two previously unrecognised entranceways to the henge, to the North and South.

2004 excavations

2004 marked the start of annual excavations in the Stonehenge landscape. Trenches were dug on the riverbank of the River Avon next to Durrington Walls, and at the eastern entrance to the henge. On this occasion various finds suggesting neolithic occupation were found around the area.

2005 excavations

More fieldwork was carried out in the summer of 2005. Excavations were made around the land east of Durrington Walls near the river, and north west outside the west gate. A large amount of digging was done on the eastern banks of the henge, and inside the walls to expose the southernmost timber circle discovered in 1967. A great deal of work was also carried out 2 miles east, around a fallen sarsen stone known locally as the Bulford stone. Channel 4's history show Time Team
Time Team
Time Team is a British television series which has been aired on Channel 4 since 1994. Created by television producer Tim Taylor and presented by actor Tony Robinson, each episode features a team of specialists carrying out an archaeological dig over a period of three days, with Robinson explaining...

 attended and built a temporary reconstruction of the timber circle in the nearby village of Upavon
Upavon
Upavon is a rural village in the English County of Wiltshire, England. As its name suggests, it is on the upper portions of the River Avon which runs from the north to the south through the village. It is situated about south of Pewsey, about southeast of the market town of Devizes, and about ...

.

2006

Over 20 researchers and 170 students and volunteers were involved in excavations around the Durrington Walls and investigations into the Stonehenge landscape. Among other things, new dating suggested that the Sarsen phase of Stonehenge was contemporary with Durrington Walls at around 2640-2480 BC.

2007 excavations

In late summer of 2007, four weeks of fieldwork was carried out by several hundred students and volunteers. Excavations were carried out at the western end of the Cursus; around the southern, western and eastern gates of Durrington Walls; at the site of Maud Cunnington's digs immediately south of Woodhenge; and around another nearby fallen sarsen stone, known locally as the Cuckoo stone. Geophysical surveys were also carried out across much of the surrounding area and around Stonehenge Bowl. Residencies for six artists and two graduate art student placements were arranged by Artists in Archaeology to record the processes of uncovering and interpreting this location.

2008 excavations

In the late summer of 2008, a further four weeks of excavations were carried out. The year's excavation focused largely upon the Avenue
Avenue (archaeology)
British Archaeologists refine the general archaeological use of avenue to denote a long, parallel-sided strip of land, measuring up to about 30m in width, open at either end and with edges marked by stone or timber alignments and/or a low earth bank and ditch...

, largely re-excavating work by Richard Atkinson
Richard J. C. Atkinson
Richard John Copland Atkinson CBE was a British prehistorian and archaeologist.-Biography:He was born in Evershot, Dorset and went to Sherborne School and then Magdalen College, Oxford, reading PPE...

. More work was carried out upon the Eastern end of the Greater Cursus, Long Barrow 42 (which is at the eastern terminal of the Cursus), the field to the west of Stonehenge, and a re-excavation of one of the Aubrey
Aubrey
Of French origin, Aubrey results from the phonetical mutation of Alberic, which is a Germanic given name, meaning "Fair Ruler of the Little People", or "King of the Elves". The name Alberich is the German variant...

 Holes within the stonehenge bowl. The excavation was covered by the Time Team
Time Team
Time Team is a British television series which has been aired on Channel 4 since 1994. Created by television producer Tim Taylor and presented by actor Tony Robinson, each episode features a team of specialists carrying out an archaeological dig over a period of three days, with Robinson explaining...

 but was also covered by Nova
Nova
A nova is a cataclysmic nuclear explosion in a star caused by the accretion of hydrogen on to the surface of a white dwarf star, which ignites and starts nuclear fusion in a runaway manner...

and National Geographic. Residencies for six visual artists were arranged by Artists in Archaeology, to explore connections between archaeological processes and artistic practices.

In 2008, and again in 2009, the team excavated the remains of a henge beside the river, about 1 miles (1.6 km) south-east of Stonehenge. The discovery attracted media coverage and the name "Bluehenge" or "Bluestonehenge
Bluestonehenge
"Bluestonehenge" or "Bluehenge" is a prehistoric henge and stone circle monument that was discovered by the Stonehenge Riverside Project about south-east of Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England...

".

External links

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