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Wednesday, 11 September 2013

EH ticks off MPP and the Guardian
10 September 2013

Thanks to Jon for pointing this one out to us.  It's the EH riposte to that nonsensical Guardian article of the other day --  and if you look at the note at the end, you will see there is a serious rebuke to MPP and the Guardian to get real and to stop fantasising and assuming their fantasies are facts.  That having been said,  EH is almost as bad -- they too have to justify all that expense of digging up the road and checking out what was beneath it -- and they too have come up with a non-story.  They too refer to the "Missing Piece of the Jigsaw"  -- and when we check what this might be, they reveal that the Avenue was once linked to Stonehenge.  Hmmm -- I am distinctly underwhelmed........

So now we await with bated breath to see that the "new" EH interpretation of Stonehenge may be, when it is revealed in all its glory on the opening day of the new Visitor Centre in December.

Summer Discoveries at Stonehenge

Two ditches belonging to the Stonehenge Avenue buried beneath the modern roadbed of the A344 have been uncovered during works to decommission the road as part of English Heritage's project to transform the setting and visitor experience of Stonehenge.

The Avenue, severed by the A344, will be reconnected to Stonehenge soon
The two ditches represent either side of The Avenue, a long linear feature to the north-east of Stonehenge linking it with the River Avon. It has long been considered as the formal processional approach to the monument and is aligned with the solstice axis of Stonehenge. But its connection with Stonehenge had been severed by the A344 for centuries as the road cut through the delicate earthwork at an almost perpendicular angle.
The two ditches were found in excavations undertaken by Wessex Archaeology in their expected positions near to the Heel Stone, about 24 metres from the entrance to monument.

Missing Piece in the Jigsaw

Heather Sebire, properties curator and archaeologist at English Heritage, said: "The part of the Avenue that was cut through by the road has obviously been destroyed forever, but we were hopeful that archaeology below the road would survive.  And here we have it - the missing piece in the jigsaw.  It is very exciting to find a piece of physical evidence that officially makes the connection which we were hoping for."
Dr Nick Snashall, National Trust Archaeologist for the World Heritage Site, said "This is a once in several life time's opportunity to investigate the Avenue beneath the old road surface.  It has enabled us to confirm with total certainty for the first time that Stonehenge and its Avenue were once linked and will be so again shortly."
The Avenue is difficult to identify on the ground but is clearly visible on aerial photographs. Once the A344 has been restored to grass in the summer of 2014, interpretation features will be put in place to clearly mark out the solstice alignment to enable visitors to appreciate the position of the Avenue and its intimate connection with and significance to Stonehenge.

Parchmarks at the Stone Circle

The recent prolonged spell of dry weather has also led to some exciting discoveries within the stone circle. Two eagle-eyed members of staff spotted some dry areas of grass, or parchmarks, amongst the stone circle in July. After investigation by English Heritage experts they seem to be positions of three holes where stones 17, 18 and 19 might have stood on the south-west side of the outer sarsen circle.
Susan Greaney, senior properties historian at English Heritage, said: "There is still debate among archaeologists whether Stonehenge was a full or incomplete circle, and the discovery of these holes for missing stones has strengthened the case for it being a full circle, albeit uneven and less perfectly formed in the south-west quadrant."



This story as reported in the Guardian on 9 September contains a number of inaccuracies. The article, including the headline, failed to distinguish between fact and interpretation, and presented one expert’s view as established fact. It also gives the impression that the expert’s view has been adopted by English Heritage. This is very confusing. English Heritage is firmly of the view that Stonehenge was built as a prehistoric temple aligned with the movements of the sun, contrary to what was implied in the article.

Professor Mike Parker Pearson’s theory about the naturally formed ridges is interesting, but is by no means established. English Heritage’s role was to record any archaeology that survived under the A344 and present the results of the recent discoveries clearly to the public. English Heritage’s interpretation of Stonehenge in general will be presented at the new visitor centre due to open in December 2013.


Andy B said...

Hello Brian - that would be via us I suspect :)
Summer 2013 discoveries at Stonehenge and 'Interesting' theories

Let us hope 'interesting' is not intended in the apocryphal Chinese manner. I think the adjective to use is fascinating or intriguing (or possibly even Mind-Blowingly, Awesomely Fabulous - see my post for details)

TonyH said...

It may be that English Heritage and/or MPP got their "Missing Piece In The Jigsaw" Big Idea from little bespectacled 18-year-old Abi Alton, from up t'North: she even wrote the song as well as sung it. Perhaps she's already had more internet hits on her singing it, courtesy of the web, than MPP has with his scatter - gun approach. Myris may know, though he has denied to Kostas being his agent.

I was obliged to watch, like a rabbit in the headlights, part of the recorded episode of "X - Factor", dated 8th September, on our return from holiday.

Myris of Alexandria said...

Did not Mike Pitts in the late 70s cut across the Avenue beside the road in a very useful and careful couple of excavations and tell us all this.
I still wish to see what the excavation of the restoring road has given us, whilst, certainty, we are getting less tarmac we need something more concrete.

TonyH said...

Yes, I was just thinking the same as you, vis a vis Mike Pitts and his excavation close to the old 'A' road (recently defunct), Myris.

He writes it all up in his "Hengeworld".

Concrete was very popular during the '70's.

TonyH said...

The Stonehenge & Avebury World Heritage Site has now got its own website (including twitter) at:-


and it includes Mike Pitts' tweeting about the very recent Road excavation. It also mentions the recent excavations at the southern Avebury Avenue.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Thanks, but dud hyperlink, Tony. Can't seem to find the correct one.....

Myris of Alexandria said...

Oh were I to be MPP's agent at 30 per cent.
I would be more golden than Croesus.
More solid than Lydian Stone.

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