Durrington Walls - Wiltshire, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Chasing Blue Sky
N 51° 11.418 W 001° 47.130
30U E 584870 N 5671688
Quick Description: Durrington Walls is the largest complete henge in Britain, at 500m in diameter and encloses a natural valley. It is located between Durrington and Larkhill, England.
Location: Southern England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 8/26/2012 7:21:50 PM
Waymark Code: WMF5HK
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Brentorboxer
Views: 1

Long Description:
"Durrington Walls is Britain's ( and therefore the world's) largest henge and is where the builders of Stonehenge are believed to have lived. All that remains are the remnants of the massive circular bank that was built around 2600 BC.

Durrington Walls has been the subject of a major archaeological dig by the Stonehenge Riverside Project during the last 5 years. This has uncovered the first complete neolithic house floors in England, a midden showing evidence of feasting, and an Avenue linking the henge to the River Avon. It is estimated that there may have been hundreds of neolithic houses around the henge making it a major prehistoric settlement.

It is important in helping to understand the context of Stonehenge within the wider landscape. There has been little evidence found immediately around the stones of day-to-day domestic activity. Clearly the numbers of people involved in building that monument was vast and they must have lived somewhere and Durrington Walls appears to be the most likely place.

Durrington Walls is 2 miles NE of Stonehenge and is next to Woodhenge. There is no information board on site to indicate where it is or what it contains. A large part of the henge is owned by the National Trust." (visit link)

"Although there is little to be seen on this site today Durrington Walls stands just 60 metres north of the more well known but much smaller Woodhenge and 3km northeast of Stonehenge itself. Built during the late Neolithic sometime around 2500BC the bank and ditch now covered with grass and bushes form the largest henge monument in Britain measuring some 520 metres north-south by 450 metres east-west. It was originally cut out of the chalk bedrock and consisted of an outer bank that measured nearly 30 metres wide and 3 metres in height with an internal leveled berm that varied between 6-40 metres wide with entrance gaps through the bank to the northwest and southeast - this southeastern entrance stood about 100 metres away from the River Avon. Within the bank was the internal ditch structure from which the chalk used to construct the bank was quarried. It measured nearly 6 metres deep and 7 metres wide with causeways over the ditch again towards the northwest and southeast. Old OS maps show the location of a standing stone just a few metres outside the western bank and it could be that this formed some kind of portal beside the entrance but sadly this stone seems to have disappeared in the early years of the 20th century.

When the site was excavated by Geoff Wainwright between 1966-67 it was estimated that it would have taken nearly a million man hours to shift over 100000 tones of chalk creating a stunning gleaming white monument against the rolling green grasslands of the Stonehenge landscape.

The remains of this henge have been badly damaged by ploughing and it is even cut in two by the A345 road from Netheravon to Durrington yet the excavations in the 1960's revealed much valuable information, including the existence of a pair of wooden structures. The first, near the southeastern entrance consisted of a series of five concentric rings of post holes, the outer ring having a diameter of 38 metres and the innermost being 27 metres. This could either have been an arrangement of freestanding timber posts perhaps linked with lintels similar to Woodhenge or the supports of a building that was rebuilt in several stages. There was a second smaller wooden structure around 120 metres to the north about 27 metres in diameter where an original pair of post rings were later replaced by two smaller rings. A geophysics survey of part of the 12 hectare site of Durrington Walls in 1996 revealed evidence of several other structures including a double ditched enclosure about 35 metres wide and four other smaller oval or rectangular enclosures as well as part of a later Iron Age field system. Excavations since 2006 by Mike Parker Pearson have also located a pair of low banks either side of a roadway linking the southeastern entrance with the banks of the Avon as well as several associated rectangular structures that are interpreted as houses. This has lead to the theory that Durrington was linked physically and spiritually with Stonehenge, perhaps being the place where the newly deceased were brought and relatives held wakes and feasted before the body was taken down to the Avon. After a 7km river journey the body would then be taken ashore on its final journey overland to join the world of the ancestors in ceremonies conducted within the sanctity of the circle of Stonehenge." (visit link)
The address of property, including Postcode.:
South of the Village of Durrington on the A345


The charges to visitors and opening hours.:
The Durrington Walls site is undeveloped for tourists, with no improvements, such as information boards or visitors center. There is no cost to enter and no entry hours posted. Limited parking is nearby and shared with the Woodhenge site.


Web page: [Web Link]

Parking place (optional): N 51° 11.394 W 001° 47.100

References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durrington_Walls http://www.shef.ac.uk/archaeology/research/stonehenge/intro


National Trust member: no

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Recent Visits/Logs:
Date Logged Log  
Norfolk12 visited Durrington Walls - Wiltshire, UK 12/30/2012 Norfolk12 visited it
Chasing Blue Sky visited Durrington Walls - Wiltshire, UK 8/9/2012 Chasing Blue Sky visited it

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