Stonehenge Avenue

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Stonehenge Avenue
Map showing The Avenue and the boundary of the Stonehenge section of the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site
The Avenue
The Avenue
The Avenue, shown within the Stonehenge section of the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site
Region Wiltshire
Coordinates 51°10′44″N 1°49′31″W / 51.179°N 1.8253°W / 51.179; -1.8253Coordinates: 51°10′44″N 1°49′31″W / 51.179°N 1.8253°W / 51.179; -1.8253
Type avenue
History
Periods Neolithic
Site notes
Excavation dates from 1740, 2013
Archaeologists William Stukeley, Heather Sebire
Condition Excellent
Public access Yes
Website National Trust
Type Cultural
Criteria i, ii, iii
Designated 1986 (10th session)
Reference no. 373
Region Europe and North America
Designated 1882
Reference no. 1010140[1]

Stonehenge Avenue is an ancient avenue on Salisbury plain, Wiltshire, UK. It is part of the Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites UNESCO World Heritage Site. Discovered in the 18th century, it measures nearly 3 kilometers,[2] connecting Stonehenge with the River Avon.[3] It was built during the Stonehenge 3 period of 2600 to 1700 BCE.

The Avenue at Stonehenge looking NEE towards Old and New King Barrows

Along some of its length The Avenue is aligned with the sunrise of the summer solstice,[3] suggesting a time of most frequent use.[2] In 2013 a section of A344 road was closed, which had cut through the Avenue close to Stonehenge. After the road surface was removed, it was shown that although the Avenue's banks had been sliced off, the filled in ditches were still in evidence, demonstrating that the Avenue had indeed connected right through to the stone circle.[4]

At the end of the Avenue, a similar ring of bluestones, Bluestonehenge, was discovered in 2009.[5]

Mike Parker Pearson of the Stonehenge Riverside Project believes that the Avenue was inspired by, and built over top of a natural glacial formation with an existing astronomical alignment.[6]

The Avenue, along with Stonehenge itself, is a Scheduled Monument, first designated in the 1882 act which was the earliest legislation to protect British archaeological sites.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Historic England. "English Heritage Scheduled Monument record (1010140)". National Heritage List for England : 'Stonehenge, the Avenue, and three barrows adjacent to the Avenue forming part of a round barrow cemetery on Countess Farm'
  2. ^ a b "The Avenue - An Overview". English Heritage (Internet Archive). 
  3. ^ a b "Huge Settlement Unearthed At Stonehenge Complex". ScienceDaily. 30 Jan 2007. 
  4. ^ Summer Discoveries at Stonehenge, English Heritage, 10 September 2013.
  5. ^ "Mini-Stonehenge find 'important'". BBC News. 2009-10-03. Retrieved 2010-05-24. 
  6. ^ "...sits upon a series of natural landforms that, by chance, form an axis between the directions of midsummer sunrise and midwinter sunset", 22 June 2012, University of Sheffield
  7. ^ Hunter, Robert (1907). "Wikisource link to Appendix A". The Preservation of Places of Interest or Beauty. Manchester University Press. Wikisource.