thinking about archaeology

The weeds are starting to grow at Stonehenge

stones

The works are far from over, but the visitor centre is starting to bed in, there is less bare mud about and on a wet sky windy spring day it was possible to experience a bit of the Stonehenge we will be learning to know in future. It feels good.

I was there for a press view of what English Heritage grandly calls its “external gallery”, the near complete group of imagined neolithic houses round the back of the visitor centre. Whether or not they are in the least bit neolithic (wheat ears dangling from the thatch look suspicious), the houses are fun and I imagine will be popular with visitors, especially kids. Until newly planted trees grow up to obscure them, they make a nice earthy, rounded contrast to Denton Corker Marshall’s ephemeral linearity.

We walked to the stones with Heather Sebire as guide – the first time I have ever walked that bit of road (at previous solstice events, we went from the car park in the visitor centre field across the grass). Approaching Stonehenge like this really does change the way you see the landscape and experience the stones. There are so many new information panels that you don’t wander far without coming across one. You see more, you pass more time, you smell and hear more. A typical visit to Stonehenge looks less and less likely to be the old pit stop. It will take a lot of adjustment.

wet entrance

car park

coach park

arriving

huts 1

huts 2

Volunteers Nicola Read and Kathy Garland

Volunteers Nicola Read and Kathy Garland

footpath

land train

back view

Cursus path

first view

Fargo view

Byway 12

bus queue

underpass 1

Old underpass exit now backfilled

deep excavations

New information panel at Durrington Walls

New information panel at Durrington Walls

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4 responses

  1. Thanks for keeping us informed. Great images, looks great but Im getting the feeling theres still a LOT of work to do. How has it gone down with the public? Is it getting good footfall?

    May 9, 2014 at 8:41 pm

  2. mikepitts

    I don’t know what people think of it, but there are certainly more of them. I’m told on the figures so far there could be a 20% increase on 2013, itself a busy year. What’s really striking is how much the public spaces have grown and multiplied. There are many more opportunities to just hang around – out of sight of the stones.

    May 9, 2014 at 10:58 pm

  3. Reblogged this on Stonehenge News and Information.

    May 10, 2014 at 7:28 am

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