Devizes White Horse
The Devizes White Horse known as the Devizes Millennium White Horse, is a chalk hill figure of a horse located on Bank Field, an escarpment at Roundway Hill, on the outskirts of the town of Devizes above the hamlet of Roundway, England. It was cut in 1999 to celebrate the forthcoming third millennium, is based on a design of another white horse hill figure, known as the Devizes White Horse, or sometimes The Snobs Horse, close to the present horse as it was on Roundway Hill beneath the Oliver's Castle hill fort. Traces of the Snobs Horse can still be seen under the right conditions; the Devizes White Horse is the eighth and latest major white horse hill figure cut in Wiltshire to be seen today, is 45.7 metres long by 45 metres high. The horse, although sometimes viewed from an skewed angle when on nearby roads, can be seen from miles away, including from Bratton Castle on Bratton Downs, home to Westbury White Horse, it is visible from the Vale of Pewsey, home to the Pewsey White Horse, where the Devizes White Horse and Alton Barnes White Horse can be seen facing each other.
In 1845, local shoemakers cut a white horse into the west side of Roundway Hill, directly beneath the hill fort, Oliver's Castle. This was a good location for a hill figure, as it overlooked the valley on a steep slope about 600' above sea level, could be seen from many miles away, it was known locally as the "Snobs Horse", the word "snobs" derived from the local word for shoemaker. It was fitting to cut a hill figure of a horse, as by its cutting date in 1845, there were white horse hill figures visible in 1845 in Wiltshire at Westbury, Alton Barnes, Cherhill, near Inkpen, Marlborough and at Broad Town, whose horse has an unknown origin but from the 19th century, Rockley, whose horse was'discovered' in 1945, prior to which it had resided under grass. Most of them still exist today, the exceptions being those at Rockley; the Devizes horse was neglected and was lost in about 1922, no dimensions of the horse seem to have existed. However, different colouration of the grass could be seen. In 1954, James Smith, the head boy of the Devizes Grammar School of the time, was out cycling and believed he saw the outline of a horse on the Oliver Cromwell promontory.
His observations were checked and indeed there was the faint outline of the head and rump of a horse to be seen. This was the old Snobs Horse. A sketch of the design of the horse was drawn and was used for the design of the modern 1999 Devizes Millennium White Horse, except reversed, as the Millennium White Horse faces the right, whilst the Snobs Horse sketch faced left. Attempts to remake the figure at this point in 1954 were unsuccessful, as were previous attempts in 1909, 1939 when the horse was reported to be seen, 1977, 1987 and 1998 when its head and neck reappeared. In 1979, freak lighting conditions and fine snow brought the outline of the horse's neck and head into view for the first time since 1954; the head and neck have been seen since, including in 1998, 2000 and 2005, the latter two times were since the creation of the Millennium White Horse. Whenever any part of it has reappeared it seems to suggest the horse was small, half the size of the Millennium White Horse; the reason for its regular reappearances is due to its method of construction, by far the most common method of hill figure construction.
The underlying chalk was not near the surface so a trench was dug and chalk from another site was used to fill the trench. The reason this method of construction has led to the Snobs Horse revealing itself, is because trenching is invasive in the hillside and allows traces of the figure to be seen when the figure has been overgrown for many years. In 1998, a newcomer to Devizes, Sarah Padwick, inspired by the other seven current white horses in Wiltshire, sent a letter to a local newspaper that there should be a white horse cut on Roundway Hill to celebrate the millennium, she was unaware of the nearby Snobs Horse. The newspaper liked plans followed suit; the plan was to recut the Snobs Horse in its original location. This plan was unsuccessful due to the site being declared a Site of Special Scientific Interest; however a local farmer, Chris Combe, offered his part of land on Roundway Hill as an alternative site, provided permission was granted by the Crown Estates Commissioners, who own the land.
Wiltshire County Council Tourism supported the project as did Roundway Parish Council who supported the planning application made to the Kennet District Council. This became the new location of the horse; the design of the horse was James Smith' design from 1954. The design was a horse depicted as moving A committee was set up to oversee the project, the'Cavaliers of the Devizes Millennium White Horse', members of the public were invited to join; the group was formed to support its future maintenance. Alan Truscott, of Sarsens Housing, joined the committee as the member in charge of the surveying and pegging out of the figure of the horse on the hill, alongside did Keith Saunders of Pearce Civil Engineering, who joined to provide the machinery and manpower to complete the clearing of the top soil and the infilling of the chalk following the cutting of the outline, the cutting of, done by hand by various groups and individuals from the local community. 200 people helped cut the figure. It was anticipated that this project will promote Devizes, its
A hill figure is a large visual representation created by cutting into a steep hillside and revealing the underlying geology. It is a type of geoglyph designed to be seen from afar rather than above. In some cases trenches are dug and rubble made from material brighter than the natural bedrock is placed into them; the new material is chalk, a soft and white form of limestone, leading to the alternative name of chalk figure for this form of art. Hill figures cut in grass are a phenomenon seen in England, where examples include the Cerne Abbas Giant, the Uffington White Horse, the Long Man of Wilmington, as well as the "lost" carvings at Cambridge and Plymouth Hoe. From the 18th century onwards, many further ones were added. Many figures long thought to be ancient have been found to be recent when subjected to modern archaeological scrutiny, at least in their current form. Only the Uffington White Horse appears to retain a prehistoric shape, while the Cerne Abbas Giant may be prehistoric, Romano-British, or Early Modern.
These figures, their possible lost companions, have been iconic in the English people's conception of their past. The creation of hill figures has been practised since prehistory and can include human and animal forms. Cutting of horses is common, as well as more abstract symbols and, in the modern era, advertising brands; the reasons for the creation for the figures are obscure. The Uffington Horse held political significance, since the figure dominates the valley below, it dates to the British Iron Age since coins have been found exhibiting the symbol. The Cerne Abbas Giant might have been a work of political satire. Wiltshire is a county with a large number of White Horses; the figures are created by the cutting away of the top layer of poor soil on suitable hillsides. This exposes the white chalk beneath, which contrasts well with the short green hill grass, the image is visible for a considerable distance. Despite most of the figures being of great age, many are new. Devizes in Wiltshire created a large white horse for the 2000 Millennium celebrations and in October 2009 celebrated this with an aerial photo of volunteers making the figure 10 for an aerial photo.
Figures must be maintained to remain visible, local people work to restore or maintain a local landmark, though two cuttings of military badges at Sutton Mandeville, are becoming lost. A map of Australia at Compton Chamberlayne, was lost in 2005. Similar pictures exist elsewhere in the world, notably the far larger Nazca Lines in Peru, which are on flat land but visible from hills in the area; however these were made in desert terrain rather than on grassy hillsides, so have not become overgrown and thus have survived much longer without maintenance. The Nazca Lines were formed by removing loose stones from the lines to expose the whiteish underlying soil, not itself dug. Geoglyph is the usual term for structures otherwise made from rock formations. In 1949, Morris Marples "half-humorously" coined the words "leucippotomy for the cutting of white horses and gigantotomy for the cutting of giants on rare occasions". Though neither word appears in the Oxford English Dictionary, the terms appear in print.
Until three methods were used to construct white hill figures. The stripping method: where the soil is thin, the turf or soil is stripped away to expose the chalk underneath; this produces quick results but the figure needs regular maintenance, as it would soon become overgrown. This was a practice for hill figures but not as much for horses; the Laverstock Panda at Laverstock near Salisbury, Wiltshire was constructed this way in 1968 and is now lost. Traces of figures of this type are not found after the figure is overgrown; the covering method: rocks are placed on top of the turf. This method is used when there is no underlying chalk, the chalk is deep or tools are not available; the maintenance for these figures is high. There are several examples, such as the Woolbury White Horse in Hampshire; this method leaves no trace of the figure's existence when overgrown, as is the case of the lost Fovant Badges in Wiltshire. The trenching method, by far the most common method of hill figure construction.
The underlying chalk where some white horses are constructed is not near the surface, so a trench is dug and chalk from another site is used to fill it. The Uffington White Horse in Oxfordshire is the prime example of this method; this method is invasive in the hillside and allows traces of the figure to be seen when the figure has been overgrown for many years, an example being the original Devizes White Horse, cut in 1845 and lost sometime in the mid 20th century, but rediscovered when traces reappeared. The biggest threat to white horses and other hill figures is natural vegetation covering the figures. In the case of chalk figures, natural vegetation encroaches from the edges and can grow on soil washed onto the figure by rain. Water erosion can be a problem on steep or gentle slopes, because rain can wash the chalk off the horse, or soil onto the horse. Larger horses are more susceptible to this. If chalk is washed off the horse, the horse creeps down the slope. A solution is to provide drainage, either using run-off drains, as at Uffington White Horse, or a french ditch.
While presumed to be of prehistoric origin, surviving examples may have been created only within the last four hundred years. Of these giants only two survive: one near the village of Cerne Abbas, to the north of Dorchester, in Dorset and one a
Winterbourne Bassett is a small village and civil parish in Wiltshire, about 6 miles southwest of Swindon and 7 miles northwest of Marlborough. Winterbourne Bassett elects a joint parish council with the larger adjacent parish of Broad Hinton - see Broad Hinton and Winterbourne Bassett, it falls within the area of the Wiltshire Council unitary authority, responsible for all significant local government functions. The 14th-century Church of England parish church of St Katherine and St Peter is Grade I listed. A Methodist chapel was built in 1904 and sold in 1960. There was a small school in the village from 1875 to 1966; the village has a public restaurant called The White Horse. Wiltshire County Council Website page on Winterbourne Bassett, retrieved 8 October 2004 Map'Explorer 157', published by the Ordnance Survey, ISBN 0-319-21782-5, revised 1997. Media related to Winterbourne Bassett at Wikimedia Commons
Wiltshire is a county in South West England with an area of 3,485 km2. It is landlocked and borders the counties of Dorset, Hampshire, Gloucestershire and Berkshire; the county town was Wilton, after which the county is named, but Wiltshire Council is now based in the county town of Trowbridge. Wiltshire is characterised by its high wide valleys. Salisbury Plain is noted for being the location of the Stonehenge and Avebury stone circles and other ancient landmarks, as a training area for the British Army; the city of Salisbury is notable for its medieval cathedral. Important country houses open to the public include Longleat, near Warminster, the National Trust's Stourhead, near Mere; the county, in the 9th century written as Wiltunscir Wiltonshire, is named after the former county town of Wilton. Wiltshire is notable for its pre-Roman archaeology; the Mesolithic and Bronze Age people that occupied southern Britain built settlements on the hills and downland that cover Wiltshire. Stonehenge and Avebury are the most famous Neolithic sites in the UK.
In the 6th and 7th centuries Wiltshire was at the western edge of Saxon Britain, as Cranborne Chase and the Somerset Levels prevented the advance to the west. The Battle of Bedwyn was fought in 675 between Escuin, a West Saxon nobleman who had seized the throne of Queen Saxburga, King Wulfhere of Mercia. In 878 the Danes invaded the county. Following the Norman Conquest, large areas of the country came into the possession of the crown and the church. At the time of the Domesday Survey the industry of Wiltshire was agricultural. In the succeeding centuries sheep-farming was vigorously pursued, the Cistercian monastery of Stanley exported wool to the Florentine and Flemish markets in the 13th and 14th centuries. In the 17th century English Civil War Wiltshire was Parliamentarian; the Battle of Roundway Down, a Royalist victory, was fought near Devizes. In 1794 it was decided at a meeting at the Bear Inn in Devizes to raise a body of ten independent troops of Yeomanry for the county of Wiltshire, which formed the basis for what would become the Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry, who served with distinction both at home and abroad, during the Boer War, World War I and World War II.
The Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry lives on as Y Squadron, based in Swindon, B Squadron, based in Salisbury, of the Royal Wessex Yeomanry. Around 1800 the Kennet and Avon Canal was built through Wiltshire, providing a route for transporting cargoes from Bristol to London until the development of the Great Western Railway. Information on the 261 civil parishes of Wiltshire is available on Wiltshire Council's Wiltshire Community History website which has maps, demographic data and modern pictures and short histories; the local nickname for Wiltshire natives is "Moonrakers". This originated from a story of smugglers who managed to foil the local Excise men by hiding their alcohol French brandy in barrels or kegs, in a village pond; when confronted by the excise men they raked the surface to conceal the submerged contraband with ripples, claimed that they were trying to rake in a large round cheese visible in the pond a reflection of the full moon. The officials took them for simple yokels or mad and left them alone, allowing them to continue with their illegal activities.
Many villages claim the tale for their own village pond, but the story is most linked with The Crammer in Devizes. Two-thirds of Wiltshire, a rural county, lies on chalk, a kind of soft, porous limestone, resistant to erosion, giving it a high chalk downland landscape; this chalk is part of a system of chalk downlands throughout eastern and southern England formed by the rocks of the Chalk Group and stretching from the Dorset Downs in the west to Dover in the east. The largest area of chalk in Wiltshire is Salisbury Plain, used for arable agriculture and by the British Army as training ranges; the highest point in the county is the Tan Hill–Milk Hill ridge in the Pewsey Vale, just to the north of Salisbury Plain, at 295 m above sea level. The chalk uplands run northeast into West Berkshire in the Marlborough Downs ridge, southwest into Dorset as Cranborne Chase. Cranborne Chase, which straddles the border, like Salisbury Plain, yielded much Stone Age and Bronze Age archaeology; the Marlborough Downs are part of a 1,730 km2 conservation area.
In the northwest of the county, on the border with South Gloucestershire and Bath and North East Somerset, the underlying rock is the resistant oolite limestone of the Cotswolds. Part of the Cotswolds AONB is in Wiltshire, in the county's northwestern corner. Between the areas of chalk and limestone downland are clay vales; the largest of these vales is the Avon Vale. The Avon cuts diagonally through the north of the county, flowing through Bradford-on-Avon and into Bath and Bristol; the Vale of Pewsey has been cut through the chalk into Greensand and Oxford Clay in the centre of the county. In the south west of the county is the Vale of Wardour; the southeast of the county lies on the sandy soils of the northernmost area of the New Forest. Chalk is a porous rock, so the chalk hills have little surface water; the main settlements in the county are therefore situated at wet points. Notably, Salisbury is situated between the chalk of marshy flood plains; the county has green belt along its western fringes as a part of the extensive Avon green belt, reaching as far as the outskirts of Rudloe/Corsham and Trowbridge, preventing urban spr
Broad Town White Horse
The Broad Town White Horse is a hill figure of a white horse located in the village of Broad Town, England. One of eight canonical hill figures in Wiltshire depicting a white horse, it is carved into a 45° slope above Little Town Nursery Farmhouse and is visible for 20 miles; the horse is composed of fine compacted chalk with well defined edges. Although its origin is uncertain, according to Rev. Plenderleath, writing in 1885, it was cut in 1864 by a William Simmonds, who held the farm then. Simmonds claimed that it had been his intention to enlarge the horse over the years, but he had to give up the farm and so did not have the opportunity; the white horse serves as an icon for the village of Broad Town and is regarded as one of the most animated white horse figures in Wiltshire, has been noted for being both conspicuous, due to its being visible for many miles, the "secret white horse," due to its rural location away from main roads. The horse fell into neglect over time, scouring and maintaining the horse was a problem until 1991, when the Broad Town White Horse Restoration Society was formed by local villagers to scour and maintain the horse, which they have continued to do since.
Broad Town White Horse is carved facing west on a long, grass-laden, 45° steep slope above the Little Town Farmhouse, situated half a mile outside the village of Broad Town. The hill that the horse is cut on used to belong to the farm, is located on the most western limit of the same escarpment where Uffington White Horse is cut, overlooking the farthest end of the Vale of the White Horse; the horse is 60 feet in height and 80 feet in length, is "composed of fine compacted chalk." It is the third smallest of the eight canonical white horses in Wiltshire. The horse ties "neck-and-neck" with Hackpen White Horse as the closest white horse to Swindon; the horse is considered the most animated of all the white horse figures in Wiltshire, has been described by writers as a lively, "trotting horse." Although best viewed from the Little Town farm track, the B4041 and the village of Broad Town itself, the horse is visible for some 20 miles, being cut onto a 45° slope, it can be seen "to fine effect" from the Great Western Railway line through Swindon.
Writer Paul Newman describes the horse as a "conspicuous landmark," although some consider the horse obscure, with one writer referring to it as "the secret white horse, difficult to find and harder to see." Barry Leighton of the Swindon Advertiser claimed: "Broad Town could have laid a decent claim to being the most enigmatic of our magnificent mares – because you had to be quick just to catch a glimpse of her – flitting in and out as she does from behind bushes and trees along the Wootton Bassett to Marlborough B401."Visiting the Broad Town white horse can be problematic for visitors. One writer claims that, as there are no designated parking spaces for the horse, it is best for tourists to park their vehicles in the village and walk to the horse from there. A footpath from the farmhouse leading up to the white horse features dangerous steps, the Broad Town White Horse Restoration Society asks visitors not to use them; the society only use the steps for maintenance of the horse, being private land, cannot accept responsibility for accidents.
It is possible to reach the horse using footpaths on top of the hill. The origin of the Broad Town White Horse is uncertain, although there are multiple stories concerning its origin; the most common story, originating from Reverend Plenderleath, writing in 1885, is that the horse was cut in 1864 by William Simmonds, who at the time owned the land and Littletown Farm, whose land the horse was a part of. According to this story, the horse measured 86 feet long and 61 feet tall, but this size were not intended to be the horse's final proportions, as Simmonds had intended "to enlarge it by the degrees" each time he scoured the horse, so that each time he scoured and maintained the horse, the horse's size would grow until it "assumed a impressive aspect." He intended to do this by increasing the size of the horse's outline, according to writer Esther Smith, author of White Horses of Wiltshire & Uffington, "this would not have been a effective way of enlarging the horse. However, Simmonds did not keep the farm land long enough for him to see the horse's size grow to a different size.
"We have been spared the sight of a distorted figure with a short neck and thick legs," Smith wrote. However, in 1919, the Curator of the Imperial War Museum claimed in a local newspaper that he visited the horse as a schoolboy in 1863, when he and a friend spent four or five hours on the hill scouring the horse, adding that an elderly relative told him that the horse had been on the hill for at least fifty years, it is possible he confused Broad Town horse with another horse, but if his account is accurate Simmonds would "merely have been a renovator rather than an innovator." A more vague story of the horse's origin is that it was cut in 1896 by a Mr Hussey, Horsey or Horsley, although Smith concedes that this was a case of recutting the horse after a period of neglect. According to another account, the horse's design "suggests greater antiquity" than 1864, while suggesting that it could have been carved in 1865 to celebrate the birth of Prince George, given as how "church bells were rung across the country and salutes fired in 1865."
During World War II, the horse was successful
Chalk is a soft, porous, sedimentary carbonate rock, a form of limestone composed of the mineral calcite. Calcite is an ionic salt called calcium carbonate or CaCO3, it forms under reasonably deep marine conditions from the gradual accumulation of minute calcite shells shed from micro-organisms called coccolithophores. Flint is common as bands parallel to the bedding or as nodules embedded in chalk, it is derived from sponge spicules or other siliceous organisms as water is expelled upwards during compaction. Flint is deposited around larger fossils such as Echinoidea which may be silicified. Chalk as seen in Cretaceous deposits of Western Europe is unusual among sedimentary limestones in the thickness of the beds. Most cliffs of chalk have few obvious bedding planes unlike most thick sequences of limestone such as the Carboniferous Limestone or the Jurassic oolitic limestones; this indicates stable conditions over tens of millions of years. Chalk has greater resistance to weathering and slumping than the clays with which it is associated, thus forming tall, steep cliffs where chalk ridges meet the sea.
Chalk hills, known as chalk downland form where bands of chalk reach the surface at an angle, so forming a scarp slope. Because chalk is well jointed it can hold a large volume of ground water, providing a natural reservoir that releases water through dry seasons. Chalk is mined from chalk deposits both above underground. Chalk mining boomed during the Industrial Revolution, due to the need for chalk products such as quicklime and bricks; some abandoned chalk mines remain tourist destinations due to their massive expanse and natural beauty. The Chalk Group is a European stratigraphic unit, it forms the famous White Cliffs of Dover in Kent, England, as well as their counterparts of the Cap Blanc Nez on the other side of the Dover Strait. The Champagne region of France is underlain by chalk deposits, which contain artificial caves used for wine storage; some of the highest chalk cliffs in the world occur at Jasmund National Park in Germany and at Møns Klint in Denmark – both once formed a single island.
Ninety million years ago what is now the chalk downland of Northern Europe was ooze accumulating at the bottom of a great sea. Chalk was one of the earliest rocks made up of microscopic particles to be studied under the microscope, when it was found to be composed entirely of coccoliths, their shells were made of calcite extracted from the rich seawater. As they died, a substantial layer built up over millions of years and, through the weight of overlying sediments became consolidated into rock. Earth movements related to the formation of the Alps raised these former sea-floor deposits above sea level; the chemical composition of chalk is calcium carbonate, with minor amounts of clay. It is formed in the sea by sub-microscopic plankton, which fall to the sea floor and are consolidated and compressed during diagenesis into chalk rock. Most people first encounter the word "chalk" in school where it refers to blackboard chalk, made of mineral chalk, since it crumbles and leaves particles that stick loosely to rough surfaces, allowing it to make writing that can be erased.
Blackboard chalk manufacture now may use mineral chalk, other mineral sources of calcium carbonate, or the mineral gypsum. While gypsum-based blackboard chalk is the lowest cost to produce, thus used in the developing world, calcium-based chalk can be made where the crumbling particles are larger and thus produce less dust, is marketed as "dustless chalk". Colored chalks, pastel chalks, sidewalk chalk, used to draw on sidewalks and driveways, are made of gypsum. Chalk is a source of quicklime by thermal decomposition, or slaked lime following quenching of quicklime with water. In southeast England, deneholes are a notable example of ancient chalk pits; such bell pits may mark the sites of ancient flint mines, where the prime object was to remove flint nodules for stone tool manufacture. The surface remains at Cissbury are one such example, but the most famous is the extensive complex at Grimes Graves in Norfolk. Woodworking joints may be fitted by chalking one of the mating surfaces. A trial fit will leave a chalk mark on the high spots of the corresponding surface.
Chalk transferring to cover the complete surface indicates a good fit. Builder's putty mainly contains chalk as a filler in linseed oil. Chalk may be used for its properties as a base. In agriculture, chalk is used for raising pH in soils with high acidity; the most common forms are CaCO3 and CaO. Small doses of chalk can be used as an antacid. Additionally, the small particles of chalk make it a substance ideal for polishing. For example, toothpaste contains small amounts of chalk, which serves as a mild abrasive. Polishing chalk is chalk prepared with a controlled grain size, for fine polishing of metals. Chalk can be used as fingerprint powder. Several traditional uses of chalk have been replaced by other substances, although the word "chalk" is still applied to the usual replacements. Tailor's chalk is traditionally a hard chalk used to make temporary markings on cloth by tailors, it is now made of talc. Chalk was traditionally used in recreation. In field sports, such as tennis played on grass, powdered chalk was used to mark the boundary lines of the playing field or court.
If a ball hits the line, a cloud of chalk or p
Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, two miles west of Amesbury. It consists of a ring of standing stones, with each standing stone around 13 feet high, seven feet wide and weighing around 25 tons; the stones are set within earthworks in the middle of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds. Archaeologists believe it was constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 BC; the surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about 3100 BC. Radiocarbon dating suggests that the first bluestones were raised between 2400 and 2200 BC, although they may have been at the site as early as 3000 BC. One of the most famous landmarks in the United Kingdom, Stonehenge is regarded as a British cultural icon, it has been a protected Scheduled Ancient Monument since 1882 when legislation to protect historic monuments was first introduced in Britain. The site and its surroundings were added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 1986.
Stonehenge is managed by English Heritage. Stonehenge could have been a burial ground from its earliest beginnings. Deposits containing human bone date from as early as 3000 BC, when the ditch and bank were first dug, continued for at least another five hundred years; the Neolithic Britons who built the monument are genetically distinct from the Modern British. There is evidence to suggest that over 90% of the Neolithic British DNA was overturned by a population from the Lower Rhine characterized by the Bell Beaker culture, who spoke an Indo-European language, it is not known if warfare, disease or just continuous large scale immigration caused their replacement. The Oxford English Dictionary cites Ælfric's tenth-century glossary, in which henge-cliff is given the meaning "precipice", or stone, thus the stanenges or Stanheng "not far from Salisbury" recorded by eleventh-century writers are "supported stones". William Stukeley in 1740 notes, "Pendulous rocks are now called henges in Yorkshire...
I doubt not, Stonehenge in Saxon signifies the hanging stones." Christopher Chippindale's Stonehenge Complete gives the derivation of the name Stonehenge as coming from the Old English words stān meaning "stone", either hencg meaning "hinge" or henen meaning "hang" or "gallows" or "instrument of torture". Like Stonehenge's trilithons, medieval gallows consisted of two uprights with a lintel joining them, rather than the inverted L-shape more familiar today; the "henge" portion has given its name to a class of monuments known as henges. Archaeologists define henges as earthworks consisting of a circular banked enclosure with an internal ditch; as happens in archaeological terminology, this is a holdover from antiquarian use. Because its bank is inside its ditch, Stonehenge is not a henge site. Despite being contemporary with true Neolithic henges and stone circles, Stonehenge is in many ways atypical—for example, at more than 24 feet tall, its extant trilithons' lintels, held in place with mortise and tenon joints, make it unique.
Mike Parker Pearson, leader of the Stonehenge Riverside Project based at Durrington Walls, noted that Stonehenge appears to have been associated with burial from the earliest period of its existence: Stonehenge was a place of burial from its beginning to its zenith in the mid third millennium B. C; the cremation burial dating to Stonehenge's sarsen stones phase is just one of many from this period of the monument's use and demonstrates that it was still much a domain of the dead. Stonehenge evolved in several construction phases spanning at least 1500 years. There is evidence of large-scale construction on and around the monument that extends the landscape's time frame to 6500 years. Dating and understanding the various phases of activity is complicated by disturbance of the natural chalk by periglacial effects and animal burrowing, poor quality early excavation records, a lack of accurate, scientifically verified dates; the modern phasing most agreed to by archaeologists is detailed below. Features mentioned in the text are shown on the plan, right.
Archaeologists have found four, or five, large Mesolithic postholes, which date to around 8000 BC, beneath the nearby old tourist car-park in use until 2013. These held pine posts around two feet six inches in diameter, which were erected and rotted in situ. Three of the posts were in an east-west alignment. Another Mesolithic astronomical site in Britain is the Warren Field site in Aberdeenshire, considered the world's oldest Lunar calendar, corrected yearly by observing the midwinter solstice. Similar but sites have been found in Scandinavia. A settlement that may have been contemporaneous with the posts has been found at Blick Mead, a reliable year-round spring one mile from Stonehenge. Salisbury Plain was still wooded, but 4,000 years during the earlier Neolithic, people built a causewayed enclosure at Robin Hood's Ball and long barrow tombs in the surrounding landscape. In 3500 BC, a Stonehenge Cursus was built 2,300 feet north of the site as the first farmers began to clear the trees and develop the area.
A number of other overlooked stone or wooden structures and burial mounds may date as far back as 4000 BC. Charcoal from the ‘Blick Mead’ camp 1.5 miles from Stonehenge has been dated