Stonehenge Reconstructions

    Archaeologists often use reconstruction paintings, or artist's impressions, to help people visualise the past. A huge amount of research and discussion goes into each one. Explore reconstructions of Stonehenge and the surrounding landscape, through the images created by artist Peter Lorimer.

    Click on a hotspot for a short summary of the feature pictured. More detailed information can be found below each image.

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    Use The Tabs to See Stonehenge Through Time

    Cattle Herding

    Cattle herding in the Stonehenge landscape, c.3700 BC

    In the early Neolithic period, this area was largely open grassland and was used by people grazing their cattle herds. There was a mosaic of trees and shrubs, but the area was reasonably open compared with other parts of southern England. People probably moved seasonally between different settlements and grazing areas. 

    1. Landscape
    Our information about the appearance of the prehistoric landscape comes from three sources: preserved pollen, wood charcoal and land snail shells (different species prefer to live in different types of environment).
    Snails from the ditches of the Stonehenge and Lesser Cursus, built in about 3500 BC, show that these monuments were surrounded by open chalk grassland. However, there were certainly some trees in the wider area, as hazel, maple, ash and elm charcoal was recovered from under the bank at Robin Hood's Ball causewayed enclosure.

    2. Children
    It is difficult to use the archaeological record to find out about children, particularly in the Neolithic period. Based on comparisons with modern populations, it is likely that between one fifth and one half of all deaths occurred at less than 16 years of age. Despite this, very few skeletal remains of children have been found in the Stonehenge area. This may be because infant bones are less likely to survive, and were not collected in older excavations, or that children were less often selected for formal burial than adults.

    3. Dog
    The earliest known remains of domestic dogs in Britain are from Star Carr in North Yorkshire, dating from the Mesolithic period. They were probably kept by people throughout the Neolithic and early Bronze Age periods. Dog bones have been recovered from the ditch at Stonehenge, and from the henge sites of Coneybury and Durrington Walls. The bones suggest that dogs at this time were between 37 and 62cm tall at the shoulder. They were probably kept as hunting animals, and to assist with herding and protecting livestock.

    4. Clothing
    We know very little about the clothes worn by people during the early Neolithic period in Britain, since no actual garments have survived. Animal skins, furs and hides were certainly used, as suggested by discoveries of bone awls (to pierce holes) and scrapers (to scrape fat from hides). The earliest evidence for a textile from Britain is in the form of an imprint on the surface of a piece of Neolithic Impressed Ware pottery from Flint Howe, Scotland. A piece of linen thread was discovered at Etton in Cambridgeshire in an early Neolithic ditch.

    5. Cattle
    Domestic cattle were introduced into Britain from Europe at the beginning of the Neolithic period. The earliest cattle bone from the Stonehenge landscape, dating to 3950-3790 BC, was found in the Coneybury Anomaly, a feasting pit. Cattle would have been kept for meat, traction, dairy and products such as leather. In the early Neolithic period, cattle remains were often buried within long barrows and placed in the ditches of monuments - they may have been regarded as sacred.

    Constructing the Stonehenge Cursus, c.3500 BC

    Before Stonehenge, a number of other monuments were built in the area, including the enormous Stonehenge Cursus. This group of monuments shows that the landscape surrounding Stonehenge was important long before the monument was built.

    1. Baskets
    It is likely that some sort of container was used to haul the chalk up onto the cursus bank. Wickerwork such as fish-traps and baskets were made in Britain from at least the late Mesolithic period using young stems of trees and scrubs. More delicate baskets were made from fibres or from grasses or rushes. Finds from prehistoric Britain are rare, but a burnt container or basket was recovered from the ditch at West Amesbury henge and a basketry bag, probably made of lime fibres, was found with an early Bronze Age burial at Whitehorse Hill, Dartmoor.

    2. Working Party
    We know very little about how early Neolithic society was organised, but large-scale communal undertakings such as building a cursus imply some kind of organisation and co-ordination. Many early Neolithic monuments (particularly causewayed enclosures) were built in clear segments or sections. These have been interpreted as showing that small separate groups, perhaps families or households, were each responsible for one section. We do not know whether a small group of people built the cursus over a long period or whether a large group built it quickly.

    3. Antler Tools
    Antler picks, found during archaeological excavations, were used to dig the ditches of the cursus. Predominantly from red deer, these antlers would have been shed in the spring, and collecting them would have been an important seasonal activity. The antlers were converted to picks by shortening them, sometimes with the aid of fire. Battering on the back of the pick, seen on many examples, suggests that they were either hit with a stone or another antler, or used as a hammer themselves. Often antlers were left in the base of a ditch when it was completed.

    4. Entrances
    Two geophysical surveys of the cursus have recently identified three possible entrances - one on the northern side and two on the southern side. The fact that the cursus may have had narrow entrances on its long sides suggests that people were entering the monument to cross it, rather than perhaps process along it from end to end. However, there remains very little evidence to suggest how cursus monuments might have been used.

    5. Long Barrow
    The long barrow at the east end of the Stonehenge Cursus, known to archaeologists as Amesbury 42, was excavated in 1866 by John Thurnam. He found several burials (none of which he thought were the original one) and cattle skulls and bones. Recent excavations of the long barrow ditch recovered an antler from the lowest layer of chalk, which was radiocarbon dated to 3520-3350 BC. We do not know whether the cursus or the long barrow was built first. Here it is shown as recently built. The long barrow only survives today as a very slight earthwork beneath a track.

    Before Stonehenge
    • Cattle Herding

      Cattle herding in the Stonehenge landscape, c.3700 BC

      In the early Neolithic period, this area was largely open grassland and was used by people grazing their cattle herds. There was a mosaic of trees and shrubs, but the area was reasonably open compared with other parts of southern England. People probably moved seasonally between different settlements and grazing areas. 

      1. Landscape
      Our information about the appearance of the prehistoric landscape comes from three sources: preserved pollen, wood charcoal and land snail shells (different species prefer to live in different types of environment).
      Snails from the ditches of the Stonehenge and Lesser Cursus, built in about 3500 BC, show that these monuments were surrounded by open chalk grassland. However, there were certainly some trees in the wider area, as hazel, maple, ash and elm charcoal was recovered from under the bank at Robin Hood's Ball causewayed enclosure.

      2. Children
      It is difficult to use the archaeological record to find out about children, particularly in the Neolithic period. Based on comparisons with modern populations, it is likely that between one fifth and one half of all deaths occurred at less than 16 years of age. Despite this, very few skeletal remains of children have been found in the Stonehenge area. This may be because infant bones are less likely to survive, and were not collected in older excavations, or that children were less often selected for formal burial than adults.

      3. Dog
      The earliest known remains of domestic dogs in Britain are from Star Carr in North Yorkshire, dating from the Mesolithic period. They were probably kept by people throughout the Neolithic and early Bronze Age periods. Dog bones have been recovered from the ditch at Stonehenge, and from the henge sites of Coneybury and Durrington Walls. The bones suggest that dogs at this time were between 37 and 62cm tall at the shoulder. They were probably kept as hunting animals, and to assist with herding and protecting livestock.

      4. Clothing
      We know very little about the clothes worn by people during the early Neolithic period in Britain, since no actual garments have survived. Animal skins, furs and hides were certainly used, as suggested by discoveries of bone awls (to pierce holes) and scrapers (to scrape fat from hides). The earliest evidence for a textile from Britain is in the form of an imprint on the surface of a piece of Neolithic Impressed Ware pottery from Flint Howe, Scotland. A piece of linen thread was discovered at Etton in Cambridgeshire in an early Neolithic ditch.

      5. Cattle
      Domestic cattle were introduced into Britain from Europe at the beginning of the Neolithic period. The earliest cattle bone from the Stonehenge landscape, dating to 3950-3790 BC, was found in the Coneybury Anomaly, a feasting pit. Cattle would have been kept for meat, traction, dairy and products such as leather. In the early Neolithic period, cattle remains were often buried within long barrows and placed in the ditches of monuments - they may have been regarded as sacred.

    • Constructing the Stonehenge Cursus, c.3500 BC

      Before Stonehenge, a number of other monuments were built in the area, including the enormous Stonehenge Cursus. This group of monuments shows that the landscape surrounding Stonehenge was important long before the monument was built.

      1. Baskets
      It is likely that some sort of container was used to haul the chalk up onto the cursus bank. Wickerwork such as fish-traps and baskets were made in Britain from at least the late Mesolithic period using young stems of trees and scrubs. More delicate baskets were made from fibres or from grasses or rushes. Finds from prehistoric Britain are rare, but a burnt container or basket was recovered from the ditch at West Amesbury henge and a basketry bag, probably made of lime fibres, was found with an early Bronze Age burial at Whitehorse Hill, Dartmoor.

      2. Working Party
      We know very little about how early Neolithic society was organised, but large-scale communal undertakings such as building a cursus imply some kind of organisation and co-ordination. Many early Neolithic monuments (particularly causewayed enclosures) were built in clear segments or sections. These have been interpreted as showing that small separate groups, perhaps families or households, were each responsible for one section. We do not know whether a small group of people built the cursus over a long period or whether a large group built it quickly.

      3. Antler Tools
      Antler picks, found during archaeological excavations, were used to dig the ditches of the cursus. Predominantly from red deer, these antlers would have been shed in the spring, and collecting them would have been an important seasonal activity. The antlers were converted to picks by shortening them, sometimes with the aid of fire. Battering on the back of the pick, seen on many examples, suggests that they were either hit with a stone or another antler, or used as a hammer themselves. Often antlers were left in the base of a ditch when it was completed.

      4. Entrances
      Two geophysical surveys of the cursus have recently identified three possible entrances - one on the northern side and two on the southern side. The fact that the cursus may have had narrow entrances on its long sides suggests that people were entering the monument to cross it, rather than perhaps process along it from end to end. However, there remains very little evidence to suggest how cursus monuments might have been used.

      5. Long Barrow
      The long barrow at the east end of the Stonehenge Cursus, known to archaeologists as Amesbury 42, was excavated in 1866 by John Thurnam. He found several burials (none of which he thought were the original one) and cattle skulls and bones. Recent excavations of the long barrow ditch recovered an antler from the lowest layer of chalk, which was radiocarbon dated to 3520-3350 BC. We do not know whether the cursus or the long barrow was built first. Here it is shown as recently built. The long barrow only survives today as a very slight earthwork beneath a track.

    Stonehenge Pt I
    • Depositing bones in the ditch at Stonehenge, c.3000 BC

      About 500 years before the large stones were raised, people dug a large circular bank and ditch at Stonehenge. This was an early type of henge. After the ditch was completed, people deposited animal bones and other items in the bottom of the ditch.

      1. Ditch
      The digging of the roughly circular ditch, 110m in diameter, was probably the first major construction activity at Stonehenge. Roughly half of the ditch at Stonehenge has been excavated. Excavations have shown that it was segmented and uneven in shape, but in general had a flat base and steep sides. The main gap or entrance was to the north-east which was about 13m wide. There was another smaller entrance, about 5m wide, and probably a third narrower entrance, both in the southern portion of the circuit.

      2. Antler Picks
      Over 130 antler implements have been found during excavations at Stonehenge, the vast majority from the ditch. It is likely that these were used to dig the ditch - in one area a cluster of five picks was found. About a third of the antlers from Stonehenge were from hunted deer (rather than shed), which is unusual compared to other monuments. Antlers were probably used as handled wedges, the tip being hammered into a crack in the chalk and the block then levered out. A block of chalk was even found at Stonehenge with the broken tip of an antler embedded in it.

      3. Curated Animal Bones
      Animal bones appear to have been deliberately placed on the base of the ditch. These included two cattle jaws, a cattle skull and a red deer leg bone that have radiocarbon dates that suggest they were kept as trophies or heirlooms for some time, perhaps for over 100 years, before being placed in the ditch. Other deposits in the Stonehenge ditch include cattle bones, but also pig, deer, bird and dog bones. The practice of depositing animal bones is common at earlier Neolithic monuments called causewayed enclosures.

      4. Heel Stone
      The Heel Stone is a large, unworked natural sarsen stone, standing at the entrance to Stonehenge. It may have been an isolated stone that was raised upright in the Neolithic period, perhaps as early as 3000 BC, as shown here. The Heel Stone might not have been the only feature present at this early stage of Stonehenge. An earthwork survey has suggested that the North 'Barrow' may be earlier than the outer ditch, and radiocarbon dates of two cremations from the Aubrey Holes indicate that some of the people buried at Stonehenge may have died before the ditch was dug.

      5. Ditch Diggers
      We do not know much about the people who dug the ditch. The ditch is quite irregular, with 'craters', or rounded deeper segments, and ridges in between. This sort of irregular shape is seen at earlier causewayed enclosures and may reflect the way in which the ditch was dug by small groups of people. At about the time that ditch was dug, the first cremation burials were being interred at Stonehenge, within and around pits known as the Aubrey Holes within the ditch. Recently some archaeologists have interpreted these cremated people as a dynasty or elite group.

    • Raising the Sarsens

      Raising the sarsens at Stonehenge, c.2500 BC

      The sarsen stones were raised at the centre of Stonehenge in about 2500 BC. The inner horseshoe of trilithons was probably put up first, and then the outer sarsen circle.

      1. Sequence of Construction
      Our understanding of the sequence of construction is based upon archaeological stratigraphy (the way that layers and deposits are laid down in the ground) and radiocarbon dating of organic finds such as antler picks from within features such as stoneholes. There is only one radiocarbon date associated with the sarsen circle (2620-2470 BC) and one with the trilithons of the inner horseshoe (2620-2340 BC). However, logic would suggest that the large stones of the inner horseshoe were raised before the outer circle, as shown in this view.

      2. Scaffolding
      The lintels were probably raised to the tops of the uprights using a 'crib' method, where a platform of alternating horizontal timbers is gradually increased in height, with the lintel being levered up at each stage. Many hundreds of trees would have been required to supply the timber for the scaffolding, ramps and A-frames. It has been estimated that 200 tree trunks would be required just to create a lintel-raising platform.

      3. Builders
      We have no information about how the people who built Stonehenge were organised, although it is clear that the various episodes of building and re-arranging would have needed a strong co-operative effort from hundreds of people. There is no direct archaeological evidence for any leaders. However, the visually and physically restricted centre of the monument implies the existence of a small group of privileged people who controlled access to Stonehenge at certain periods.

      4. Stonehole
      The stoneholes were dug to varying depths, depending on the length of the stone, so that the tops were level. From excavations, we know that one side of each hole was left as a slope, forming a ramp. Against the back of the hole (i.e. opposite the ramp), a number of wooden stakes were set up, to protect that side of the hole from being crushed. The stone was raised probably using an A-frame as a lever, and perhaps using weights to help tip the stone, as shown here. The stonehole was then packed with chalk rubble, discarded tools and broken hammerstones.

      5. Ropes
      In order to raise the heavy stones upright, late Neolithic people would have used strong rope. It is likely that these ropes were made from plant fibres or thin wood stems twisted together. The earliest string found in Britain, from Bouldnor Cliff, a submerged prehistoric settlement off the Isle of Wight, is made from fibre derived from a herbaceous plant, and dates to the late Mesolithic period. Early Bronze Age ropes made of honeysuckle stems were found at Seahenge in Norfolk, and yew ropes have been found associated with plank-built boats in Gwent and Yorkshire.

    • Durrington Walls

      Durrington Walls settlement, c.2500 BC

      The large settlement at Durrington Walls may have been where the builders or users of Stonehenge lived. People were living at Durrington Walls at the same time that the sarsen stones were being put up at Stonehenge. This may have been where the builders of Stonehenge lived or perhaps where people gathered to take place in ceremonies and rituals associated with the monument. Later, a huge earthwork enclosure, or henge, was built around the site of the settlement.

      1. Southern Circle
      This was a multiple timber circle, similar to Woodhenge, first discovered during excavations in 1968. It probably had two phases, the final monument having six concentric rings of posts. The largest timbers stood at least 5m, or perhaps as much as 7.5m, high. The entrance was to the south-east and led onto a roadway or avenue where there was an extensive area of burning. Pottery, animal bones and tools seem to have been deposited here, particularly after the posts had decayed. The monument is aligned on the midwinter solstice sunrise.

      2. Middens
      Among the houses clustered in this area, there were many pits and rubbish dumps, or 'middens'. These are thought to be from feasting events, rather than everyday consumption. Some of the animal bones were still articulated, or joined together, which suggesting there was plenty of meat available. As well as animal bones, there were many pieces of Grooved Ware pottery. Decorated with elaborate lines and grooves, this is often found in large quantities at henge monuments. It was probably used for cooking and serving feasts, as well as in everyday activities.

      3. Animals
      Many hundreds of animal bones have been recovered from excavations at Durrington Walls, the majority pig but also significant numbers of cattle. Butchery marks and evidence of burning on the pig bones suggest that they were roasted, whereas beef may have been cooked in stews. Studies of their teeth show that some of the animals were raised away from the local chalk geology, and brought to Durrington Walls, probably on the hoof. If the people who raised the animals brought them, this suggests the gathering of people from a variety of long-distance locations.

      4. Settlement
      During 2006-7, a total of nine small square houses were excavated. The overall size of the settlement is unknown, although the amount of midden debris found in excavations at various locations across the site suggests that it was large and intensely occupied. The excavator, Mike Parker Pearson, has suggested that there were perhaps hundreds of houses here, but we don't know the full extent of the settlement yet. The radiocarbon dates suggest that it was occupied for a relatively short period of time, between 2580 and 2470 BC.

      5. Avenue
      The roadway, or avenue, was 30m wide and ran between the Southern Circle and the eastern entrance to the later henge. Its trampled flint surface was flanked by shallow gullies inside low banks. The avenue, like the Southern Circle, was aligned on the midwinter solstice sunrise. At the river, the roadway led to a near-vertical 4m high drop. The excavator, Mike Parker Pearson, has suggested that people could have deposited things into the river from this point. Clearly the waterway was important - it may have provided a real or metaphorical link to Stonehenge.

    Stonehenge Pt II
    • Woodhenge

      Woodhenge, c.2500 BC

      Woodhenge was a timber monument surrounded by a henge bank and ditch, built about two miles from Stonehenge. Woodhenge lies near the complex of monuments at Durrington Walls. After cropmarks of six concentric oval rings of postholes were seen on early aerial photographs, it was excavated in 1926-8 by Ben and Maud Cunnington.


      1. Timber Structures
      On the ridge to the south of Woodhenge, beyond the monument in this image, are three intriguing wooden structures. These had a square setting of four large posts, and usually two paired pits or postholes defining the entrance. These 'four post in circle' settings are also known elsewhere within the Durrington Walls complex and from other late Neolithic sites in Britain. We do not know their purpose - perhaps they were special buildings, or platforms for laying out the dead for excarnation (the process of allowing corpses to be defleshed by natural means).

      2. Henge
      The timber monument at Woodhenge was surrounded by a circular earthwork bank and ditch, or henge, with an entrance causeway. Based on the few radiocarbon dates from Woodhenge and evidence from other sites where timber circles pre-date henge earthworks, it is likely this henge was constructed after the wooden monument, which is why we have not shown it in this reconstruction image. Similarly, the enormous henge at Durrington Walls was built after the settlement had gone out of use.

      3. Wooden Posts
      There were six concentric oval rings of posts, of different sizes. The third ring (called Ring C by the excavators) contained the largest - estimated to have stood about 9 metres tall. From the postholes that were excavated, the posts were uniformly round in shape, although we can only guess at how they appeared above ground. They might have been painted, decorated or carved. Perhaps objects or offerings were hung from the posts. They may have supported lintels, in a similar way to the outer sarsen circle at Stonehenge.

      4. Human Remains
      Individual human bones and cremations were found in the postholes, and in the henge bank and ditch. The bones were usually individual scattered bones rather than whole burials. They seem to have been deposited in a similar way to other items and were perhaps regarded as another type of special object. Two full burials have also been found. A child aged 2-3 was buried in the centre of the monument at an unknown date, the site now marked by a flint cairn. In the henge ditch was the burial of a young man, aged 18-25, dating from the early Bronze Age.

      5. Deposition
      When Woodhenge was excavated, there were hundreds of prehistoric finds. Most were found in the postholes, although some were underneath the surrounding henge bank and others in the ditch. These included Grooved Ware pottery, antler picks, flint tools, worked bone objects, chalk objects and a variety of animal bones. Analysis of the distribution of the objects has shown that they were deposited according to certain patterns, perhaps reflecting the way that people moved around. For example, almost all the antler picks came from the eastern half of the monument.

    • Midwinter Solstice

      Celebrating midwinter solstice at Stonehenge, c.2300 BC

      Stonehenge is a prehistoric temple, the stones of which are aligned with the movements of the sun. The stones line up with the rising and setting of the sun at the midsummer and midwinter solstices. This suggests that people gathered for ceremonies at these times of year.

      1. Clothing
      We know little about clothes worn during the late Neolithic period in Britain, since no actual garments have survived. Animal skins, furs and hides were certainly used, as suggested by discoveries of bone awls (to pierce holes) and scrapers (to scrape fat from hides). They would have provided much needed warmth during the winter months. Plant materials such as flax, lime tree fibres and linen were probably also used. Fragments of clothing made from linen and lime bast have been recovered from Neolithic lake-edge settlements in Switzerland and Germany.

      2. People
      We know little about the activities carried out at Stonehenge once the stones had been erected. Although in the first few hundred years the enclosure was used as a cremation cemetery, it seems that once the stones were erected Stonehenge was kept clean and perhaps separate from everyday life. We can imagine people gathering at midsummer and midwinter, to mark the passing of the seasons. Analysis of the animal bones from nearby Durrington Walls has shown that people might have been travelling from long distances to gather there.

      3. Priest
      Archaeologists have found very few finds from the stone monument. Without them, we have only the layout of the stones to help us understand how the monument was used. The centre of Stonehenge is a visually and physically restricted space - it is difficult to see what is going on there from the outside, and only a certain number of people can stand there. This implies the existence of a small group of privileged people who represented the community in this central space, perhaps ritual specialists such as shamans, secular leaders or an elite family.

      4. Stones
      The sarsen stones on this north-east side of Stonehenge are more regular and visually imposing than the stones elsewhere in the outer circle. The lintels are also more substantial. Analysis of a laser scan of the stones has shown that they were also more carefully dressed than others , the brown or grey crust removed to reveal a bright grey-white surface. This shows that the approach from the north-east, where the avenue was later built, was very important. The builders were creating a dramatic visual spectacle for those approaching from this direction.

      5. Winter
      Stonehenge is famous for the alignment of its stones and the Avenue in the direction of the midsummer solstice sunrise. In prehistoric times the midwinter sunset may have been just as important. In the opposite direction to the summer solstice, the midwinter sun would have set between the two upright stones of the tallest trilithon, dropping down behind the Altar Stone. This would have been visible to people approaching up the Avenue.

    • Stonehenge Avenue

      The Stonehenge Avenue at King Barrow Ridge, c.2200 BC

      The Avenue extends over 1.7 miles (2.8km) between Stonehenge and the river Avon. It may have been a processional route. The parallel banks and ditches form a corridor about 12m wide. Radiocarbon dating of four antler picks from the ditches of the Avenue has suggested it was probably constructed between 2430 and 2200 BC, probably about 200 to 300 years after the sarsen stones were raised at Stonehenge.

      1. Landscape
      Our information about the appearance of the prehistoric landscape comes from three sources: preserved pollen, wood charcoal and land snail shells (different species prefer to live in different types of environment). We know that the Avenue was built and existed within well-established open grazed grassland. It was probably used for the extensive grazing of cattle and sheep. Some of the barrows on King Barrow Ridge, near the location of this reconstruction were built of stacked turf blocks. Building them would have required the stripping of large areas of grass.

      2. Stonehenge
      Four antler picks from the ditches of the Avenue have been radiocarbon dated to give an estimate of the construction to 2345-2200 BC, between 200 and 300 years after the sarsen stones were raised at Stonehenge. Stonehenge was still in active use. It was about this time that the positions of the bluestones were rearranged within the monument and that a man, the 'Stonehenge Archer', was buried in the Stonehenge ditch. This was the time of the earliest use of metals in Britain - the man in the foreground of this reconstruction is carrying a copper axe.

      3. Barrows
      The period when the Avenue was constructed was a time of great change, when new ideas, objects and people were beginning to arrive from continental Europe. Some people were buried in individual graves with Beaker pottery and the earliest metal objects. These graves were often covered with earth mounds, or round barrows, though the largest barrows around Stonehenge were later in date. Some of the round barrows close to Stonehenge are shown here as recently constructed, although these specific barrows were unlikely to have been the first to be built.

      4. Use of Avenue
      We have shown a small group of people walking down the Avenue, following the long-held assumption that it was a processional approach between the river and Stonehenge. However, there is no direct evidence for how the Avenue was used. If used regularly as a route, we would expect the central part to be worn and hollowed, particularly where it rises up the hill on the ascent towards Stonehenge, but it is not. If processions did take place they either did not happen very often or did not involve many people. Perhaps it was a symbolic, rather than a practical, route.

      5. Banks and Ditches
      The Avenue was defined by roughly parallel earthwork banks, each with a V-shaped outer ditch about two metres deep. At the point where the Avenue crosses King Barrow Ridge the distance between the mid-points of the ditches is about 30m. Today, most of the Avenue earthworks have been levelled by ploughing but the location of the monument has been mapped from aerial photography and geophysical survey. Several excavations have taken place, including a large section beneath the present A303 in 1967.

    After Stonehenge
    • Burying a Woman

      Burying a woman at Normanton Down barrow cemetery, c.1900 BC

      One of the barrows on Normanton Down was excavated by antiquaries, who found a woman buried with many grave goods. The Normanton Down group of early Bronze Age round barrows dominates the approach to Stonehenge from the south. Excavations by antiquaries uncovered several rich graves here. One of these barrows (called Wilsford G7 by archaeologists) was probably built about 2000-1800 BC, and covered the grave of a person, probably a woman. She is shown here being buried before the barrow is constructed over her grave.

      1. Clothing
      Sheep with woolly coats had developed at this time so woollen fabrics were probably made, and fragments of linen cloth have been recovered from several barrows in Wiltshire. Other clues about the style of clothing in this period come from various dress accessories, such as belt hooks, pins of bone or bronze, buttons and toggles. A fragment of early Bronze Age shoe with lace holes was found in Yorkshire. Special ceremonial costumes such as garments with attached bone points and ornate gold items have also been found, perhaps the costumes of shamans or leaders.

      2. Grave Goods
      In the early Bronze Age and particularly at the time of 'Wessex Culture' burials, power and status was shown through jewellery and dress accessories. This woman was buried with pendants and beads made of amber, shale, jet, gold and fossils, probably forming a necklace. This sort of composite necklace may have functioned in a similar way to a modern charm bracelet, with different beads being handed down and exchanged. Some of the materials chosen such as jet and amber may have been regarded as special or magical because of their physical properties.

      3. Identity of the Dead
      Because antiquaries generally did not keep human remains from round barrows, we do not have any information about the dead person's gender or age. However, in this period there does seem to be a distinction between graves with what appear to be 'male' items (daggers) and 'female' items (beads and necklaces). However, there are virtually no studies of skeletal material to support this. The grave within Wilsford G7 is assumed to have been that of a woman because she was buried with beads, probably forming a necklace.

      4. Barrow Cemetery
      The Normanton Down barrow cemetery comprises around 40 early Bronze Age round barrows and two small Neolithic long barrows. Most of the barrows were excavated by antiquaries William Cunnington and Richard Colt Hoare in the early 19th century. They discovered the famous Bush Barrow grave, as well as several other rich burials. A recent survey of the earthworks, combined with information derived from the grave goods, has given some clues about the sequence in which the barrows were built, which has been used to inform how the barrows are shown here.

      5. Barrow
      This round barrow is today classified as a bowl barrow, with a central mound 30m across surrounded by an 8m wide ditch. When it was excavated, the skeleton lay in a shallow grave cut into the chalk, presumably near the centre. As the woman would have been buried before the barrow itself was constructed, the position of the outer ditch has been shown here as marked out and dug to a shallow depth. After the burial had taken place, the construction of the mound would have been completed.

    Neolithic houses

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