Prehistoric England Gets a Little Older
The area around the famous Stonehenge monument is littered with prehistoric remnants.
A quick panoramic scan from the parking area alone reveals a dozen or so conspicuous grassed-over mounds dotting the surrounding farmland — Bronze Age burial sites.
Then, if you curve your way north along A360, you’ll come to Avebury, whose multiple stone circles each dwarf the diameter of Stonehenge. There’s also Silbury Hill, the West Kennet Long Barrow, and the chalk formation of Cranborne Chase close by.
For archaeologists, the region is understandably intriguing. And with the discovery of a pair of 6,000-year-old tombs in the neighboring county of Hampshire (only 15 miles from Stonehenge), its intrigue level has shifted up another notch.
Pinpointed following an aerial survey of the area, the tombs have since been probed using electromagnetic and ultrasound techniques. They’ve been identified as long-barrow constructions, and many artifacts have been uncovered at the surface of the mounds.
Tourists shouldn’t get too excited about a potential visit just yet, however.
Unlike the West Kennet barrow, where visitors are able to walk around inside the burial chambers, the new tombs near Damerham may be allowed to remain in their present condition.
The decision — rather responsibly if you ask me — is being left to residents of Damerham. “It’s their heritage,” says Dr. Helen Wickstead, the project’s lead archaeologist.
More details on this story can be found at the U.K. news site Times Online.
Interested in taking more journeys to the past? Check out 10 Key Destinations for the Historical Time Traveler.