Thursday, July 29, 2010

More on Marden henge

"Once your eye is in you can see it: the sweep of the ditches, the belt of trees hiding some of the earth bank, which still rises to three metres in some places, the stain in the grass marking the lost barrow and its massive surrounding moat, and the wholly unexpected discovery – the second, smaller henge, so close to the modern houses that the roots of two trees at the foot of a back garden are actually growing into its bank," writes Guardian reporter Maev Kennedy.

She is describing an excavation at Marden Henge in Wiltshire, where remnants of neolithic life -and partying- have been found.

The Megalithic Portal describes Marden Henge as the largest henge in Britain, surpassing Avebury, but , "there is not much to see but bank and ditch. Plenty of atmosphere though." The site is also known as the Hatfield Earthworks, because it looks like an open field- albeit an open field that could contain ten Stonehenges.

The henge's precise location near the hills where Stonehenge's sarsen stones originated suggests that those very stones might have been dragged through the Marden Henge. Archaeologists even suspect that the stones were carved into their intended shape at Marden Henge, based on tools and stone flakes they've found.

Unlike its tourist-attraction cousin, Marden Henge's stones are no longer there. The ages stripped modernity from them; the stones have been plowed over, shifted by rerouted water. As with everything that has existed in the word, the site has been subject to change.

And now, archaeologists attempt to peel back those layers of human intervention, to find and to examine one particular era, some 4,500 years ago, when our human ancestors threw a big prehistoric party at Marden Henge. What stories will this ancient circle reveal? Perhaps only time will ever tell.

Check out the English Heritage site!

an RAF photo from the English Heritage site

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