|Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites|
|Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List|
|Criteria||i, ii, iii|
|Inscription||1986 (10th Session)|
"Bluestonehenge" or "Bluehenge" is a prehistoric henge and stone circle monument that was discovered by the Stonehenge Riverside Project about 1 mile (1.6 km) south-east of Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England. All that currently remains of the site is the ditch of the henge and a series of stone settings, none of which is visible above ground.
The site was excavated in August 2008 and again in August 2009 and is considered to be an important find by archaeologists. Full details of the discovery were published in the 2010 January / February edition of British Archaeology.
The monument has been tentatively dated to between about 3000 and 2400 BC, although radiocarbon dating of antler tools found at the site has only provided an approximate date of 2469 to 2286 BC for the dismantling of the stones. Tests on an antler pick found at the bottom of a stonehole have so far failed due to inadequate collagen in the sample. Excavation revealed several stone settings that are thought to have been erected around 3000 BC. It is estimated that there may have been as many as 27 stones in a circle 33 feet (10 m) wide. Charcoal was found in some holes, suggesting that burning may have taken place there. One suggestion is that the henge was a site for cremations.
The name "Bluestonehenge" is derived from the discovery of small stone chips in some of the stone settings. These bluestones are also found in Stonehenge and consist of a wide range of rock types originally from Pembrokeshire West Wales, some 150 miles (240 km) away. Archaeologist Mike Parker Pearson suspects that any bluestones in the circle may have been removed around 2500 BC and incorporated into Stonehenge, which underwent major rebuilding work at about that time.
The stone circle settings were surrounded by a henge, comprising an 82-foot-wide (25 m) ditch and outer bank which appears to date from approximately 2400 BC. Unlike Stonehenge, there do not appear to be any significant solar or lunar orientations within the monument.
The henge is located beside the River Avon in West Amesbury. Immediately beside it is the Avenue, a linear ditch and bank route that leads to Stonehenge. Mike Parker Pearson has suggested that the site may have been used for ceremonial purposes – possibly as a stopping place along a routeway between Durrington Walls and Stonehenge. Parker Pearson believes that Durrington Walls may have been a "land of the living" while Stonehenge (which was Britain's largest known cemetery at the time) was a "domain of the dead".
- "Mini-Stonehenge find 'important'". BBC. 3 October 2009. Retrieved 3 October 2009.
- Newhenge, British Archaeology 110, January / February 2010, ISSN 1357-4442
- Feature: British Archaeology 110, January / February 2010
- "Archaeologist at University finds 'Bluestonehenge' site". Sheffield University. 5 October 2009. Retrieved 6 October 2009.
- "Mini-Stonehenge Found: Crematorium on Stonehenge Road?". National Geographic. 5 October 2009. Retrieved 5 October 2009.
- Derbyshire, David (3 October 2009). "Bluehenge unearthed: Prehistoric site that could be famous stone circle's little sister". London: Daily Mail. Retrieved 3 October 2009.
- Digital Digging feature about the digital reconstruction of Bluestonehenge.
- Digital Digging downloadable digital reconstruction of Bluestonehenge.
- English Heritage – Interactive Map of Stonehenge Landscape