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Woodhenge, Coneybury Henge, West Amesbury Henge
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Woodhenge, Coneybury Henge, West Amesbury Henge
Woodhenge

Close to Durrington Walls lies Woodhenge, a site that aerial photographs taken in 1925 revealed to be a levelled henge. The bank and internal ditch enclosed a circular area about 50 m. (160 ft) in diameter, with a single entrance facing north-east. Within the interior lay six concentric circles of pits, varying considerably in size and shown by excavations carried out shortly after the discovery to have held upright timbers. Because of the similarity of this plan to that of Stonehenge, this site became known as Woodhenge.

Because there is only a ground plan, these timber circles are as difficult to interpret as those from Durrington Walls. The upright timbers may have stood in the open air, either plain or highly decorated. They may have been linked together by horizontal beams to create a wooden version of Stonehenge or may even have been the framework for a huge building.

Finds of decorated Grooved Ware pottery and other artefacts were discovered in specific locations within the site and suggest that the interior of the enclosure was used in an ordered way. Perhaps the most disturbing find was a grave that lay under a small flint cairn in the centre of the site. This contained the skeleton of a child aged about three, suggested by the excavator as having had its skull split open. Woodhenge, which was built in about 2300 BC, is now in the care of English Heritage and has unrestricted visitor access. There is a car parkand the excavated post holes are marked by coloured concrete pillars.

Woodhenge, Coneybury Henge, West Amesbury Henge

Anartist's impression of Woodhenge as it may have appeared during its period of use.


Coneybury Henge

Another henge lies on the summit of Coneybury Hill, 1,4 km. (0,8 miles) to the south-east of Stonehenge. This site, though at first thought to be a ploughed round barrow, was shown on aerial photographs of the 1970s to be a small henge, an oval enclosure with a single north-east-facing entrance. This entrance alignment is shared with Stonehenge and Woodhenge. Excavations in 1980 showed that the ditch was deep and steep-sided, and that pits containing Grooved Ware pottery lay within the interior. Coneybury was built in about 2700 BC, an early date for a henge monument. It is not visible from ground level, but the site can be viewed from a nearby path.

West Amesbury Henge

A remarkable discovery made in 2008 was that Stonehenge's Avenue ends, not at the water's edge at the river Avon, but at another small henge. Here a circular ditch with traces of an external bank, now partly washed away by the river, encloses a circle of deep pits. These have been suggested as originally containing upright stones, perhaps even some of the bluestones that were eventually set up at Stonehenge. Whatever stood in these pits was removed in about 2500 BC and only then was the ditch and bank of the henge itself built.

Woodhenge, Coneybury Henge, West Amesbury Henge

Two chalk axes (symbolic rather than functional) that were discovered during excavations at Woodhenge (now in the Wiltshire Heritage Museum, Devies).



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