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Marden Henge (and Hatfield Barrow)



Mystery near Marden of henge

A site at Marden, near Devizes, rivalled Stonehenge and Avebury in its day, says English Heritage.

The group is about to undertake a six-week dig at the site close to the village, starting on June 28.

Unlike Stonehenge and Avebury, Marden Henge no longer has any surviving standing stones, but its sheer size is astounding.

Comprising a substantial and well-preserved bank with an internal ditch enclosing an area of some 10.5 hectares – equivalent to ten football pitches – it is one of the largest Neolithic henges in Britain.

Archaeologists are particularly intrigued by evidence of a huge mound at the centre of the henge similar to a smaller version of Silbury Hill.

The mound collapsed in 1806 and was levelled by 1817. English Heritage hopes to find out more about this feature by obtaining dating material from any surviving features within its centre.

Jim Leary, the English Heritage archaeologist who was involved in the recent restoration of Silbury Hill, said: "Marden Henge deserves to be understood more, partly because of its size, but also due to its proximity to the more famous stone circles at Avebury and Stonehenge.

"How Marden relates to them is another layer of interest which we want to study.

"We are potentially looking at a much more intricate system of Neolithic ritual sites in this part of the world than we previously thought."

The Henge is on the road out of the village towards Beechingstoke, at Hatfield Farm, and is a popular picnic area.

Parish council chairman Peter Bell was pleased with the news. He said: "I hadn't heard English Heritage were planning this, but I am delighted. It is an important local archaeological site and we don't know nearly enough about it."

The Henge is on the road out of the village towards Beechingstoke, at Hatfield Farm, and is on private land.

Sue Shepherd-Cross, who lives at Hatfield Farm, was delighted at the news. She said: "It is a remarkable place and it would be fascinating to find out more about it."

The website describes Marden Henge, or Hatfield Earthworks, as the largest henge in Britain. It adds: "There is not much to see but bank and ditch. Plenty of atmosphere, though."

* A midsummer's eve picnic party is taking place at Marden Henge on Saturday June 26 at 8.15pm in aid of the Fairyland Trust which is a children's conservation society
moss Posted by moss
19th June 2010ce

Comments (10)

This is probably the most exciting dig of the year. It is its position equidistant from Avebury and Stonehenge that makes the lost Marden Henge and Mound so intriguing; also that the river Marden is a tributary of the Avon. Hopefully some clues will be unearthed.

tjj Posted by tjj
19th June 2010ce

The river Marden starts over the other side of the downs at Ranscombe Bottom, behind Cherhill Down

This IS the River Avon, the Southern Wiltshire Avon, not the Northern Wiltshire Avon.
Chance Posted by Chance
19th June 2010ce
Thanks for clarification; the fact that there are two river Avons in Wiltshire can be confusing, so your comment was helpful.

Just read Rhiannon's fieldnotes and link to her web-log, yes very atmospheric indeed, she writes well.
tjj Posted by tjj
19th June 2010ce
Cheers Chance...your correction is indeed very helpful especially for those of us who don't know the area at all. Posted by Resonox
19th June 2010ce
Wikipedia says this about the two river Avons in Wiltshire.

"River Avon (Bristol), which flows through the north of the county and into the Bristol Channel at Avonmouth, Bristol.
River Avon (Hampshire), which flows through Salisbury and into the English Channel at Christchurch on the border of Dorset and Hampshire."

As Chance pointed out, the River Marden rises at Calstone springs (this I knew) and flows through Calne joining the (Bristol) River Avon north-east of Chippenham - not as my first comment implied into the river Avon near Stonehenge. My mistake, I hold my hands up, don't think my morning caffeine had yet kicked in.
tjj Posted by tjj
19th June 2010ce
"Keep up-to-date with the latest on the excavations at Marden Henge. Marden is the third 'mega henge' and is close to Devizes, half way between Avebury and Stonehenge."

More here -
Littlestone Posted by Littlestone
29th June 2010ce
"Archaeologists have begun a major dig to unearth the hidden mysteries of a buried ancient stone circle site that is ten times bigger than Stonehenge."

Read more:
Littlestone Posted by Littlestone
30th June 2010ce
Bloody Daily Mail readers! ;)

G x
goffik Posted by goffik
30th June 2010ce
I was tempted to say, "I don't take the Mail myself, you understand." but thought better of it ;-) Littlestone Posted by Littlestone
30th June 2010ce
Ooh! Apparently, "Looks like we may have a Durrington Walls style Neolithic building surface at Marden Henge. Need to confirm that but looks promising"...

According to EH on Twitter, anyways! :)

G x
goffik Posted by goffik
16th July 2010ce
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