If you like your history to come alive and leap out at you off the page, there’s probably no better place to experience it in the whole of England than Wiltshire.
Image: Avebury Stone (Wiltshire, England) by Flickr user dev-pemcoastphotos.com
Here, the twin mysteries of Stonehenge and Avebury lie in store for those fascinated by the past. This is no dry and dusty text book lesson endured by generations of school children…these are fascinating history hotspots just a few miles apart which have defined our heritage for thousands of years.
Avebury lies within a 5,000 year old stone circle and its related earthworks, where in Stone Avenue dozens of pairs of standing stones stretch nearly two miles to the ceremonial site of The Sanctuary. To the northeast are hundreds such stones on Fyfield Down, and west lies the Neolithic tomb of West Kennet Long Burrow.
To the northwest, beyond the village limits, is Windmill Hill, a giant livestock enclosure whose origins go back nearly six millennia
Feat of Engineering
Stonehenge, a feat of engineering beyond imagination, is a 4,000 year old stone circle built on a site which can be dated back even earlier.
Archeologists have unearthed a simple circular ditch and earth rampart which predates the stones
Image: Stonehenge by Flickr user teamaskins
themselves by a thousand years, when a ring of huge timber uprights were erected there.
The giant megaliths we see today are made of sarsen – sandstone – each weighing on average 25 tonnes; they were transported from Marlborough Downs 20 miles away, and 30 were arranged in a circle and capped with lintels. Five even bigger structures were subsequently erected within the outer circle, known as ‘trilithons’ and again each supporting a stone lintel.
How this incredible journey was ever accomplished is still virtually unfathomable – and 4,000 years later historians are still trying to explain one of Britain’s most fascinating and enduring mysteries…
A Glimpse of the Past
And that’s not all…visitors to Wiltshire are spoilt for choice if they are looking for a glimpse of Britain’s past.
Woodhenge is only two miles east of Stonehenge, and is another age-old jewel in the crown of this amazingly historical county; pottery in the area has been dated back to late Neolithic and early Bronze Age times.
And Bluestonehenge or Bluehenge is a mere mile away, another prehistoric outpost which in recent years has undergone major excavations.
Radio-carbon testing of antler tools found at the site are still on-going; small stone chips found here have been tentatively dated to around 3,000 to 2,400 B.C. – the rock type is thought to have originated in west Wales, 150 miles away.
Link Source –Nicki Williams – Nicki Williams writes for leading on-line sports company Gear-Zone, specialists in camping and climbing equipment, waterproof clothing, and sportswear.