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Stonehenge in brief

Stonehenge a
Stonehenge

Originally constructed on the site, known to-day as Stonehenge, were a number of pits, which supported wooden totem-pole posts, erected between 8,500-7,000 BC.

Around 3,100 BC, a large Henge was constructed, comprising of a ditch, bank and fifty-six Aubrey holes (round pits cut into the chalk, with flat bottoms).  They formed a circle some 284 feet in diameter.

Excavations at the site, have discovered human bones, but opinions believe these holes were not graves, but part of a religious ceremony.  Saying that some sixty plus cremations have been discovered in the area.

Stonehenge was abandoned for some hundred years.  Then life returned around 2,150 BC with the arrival of eighty-two bluestones from the Preseli Mountains in South Wales.  These stones once erected created an unfinished double-circled circle.  At the same time the original entrance was widened, to make way for a pair of Heel Stones, plus other stones being set up in the centre of the monument.

Around 2,000 BC Sarsen stones were brought from Marlborough Downs.  These were arranged to create an outer circle with lintels.  Inside the circle, five trilithons were placed in a horseshoe arrangement.

In 1,500 BC the bluestones were rearranged in a horseshoe and circle arrangement, consisting of some sixty stones.  An earthwork Avenue was built, which connected Stonehenge with the River Avon.

In 1800-1500 BC, some digging took place around the stones of two concentric ring pits… the reason for these pits is unknown.

With Stonehenge built, and history ever changing, groups of barrows have been located on hilltops, which are visible from Stonehenge.  Could it be a connection to Stonehenge for the dead?

Four Sarsen stones have been adorned with carvings of early historical weapons; axe-heads, daggers and axes.  Was it a status of power to those visiting Stonehenge, or a connection to the graves on the nearby hillsides?

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Vindolanda Writing Tablets

Stephen Liddell

When I was recently walking Hadrians Wall, there were countless Roman sites to visit either on or just off the wall.  Having visited many all ready, the one I most wanted to visit was Vindolanda.   You can see my blog post on Vindolanda here.   Out of everything in Vindolanda, the objects I most wanted to see were the special treasures inside the museum there.

The most amazing treasures are not gold coins, precious stones or even well-preserved weapons but instead is an unequalled collection of writing tablets.  These tablets record daily life such as letters from soldiers asking for socks and underwear, a birthday party invitation to the forts commander’s wife, requests for payment, lists of goods supplied and troop deployments. The Vindolanda writing tablets were voted Britain’s ‘Top Treasure’.

They are a truly unique and remarkable record of everyday life in the Roman Empire enabling visitors…

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