Mysterious Britain - Top 10 Sites
No.1 - Stonehenge
What the history books will Tell You:
No.2 - Avebury
What the history books will Tell You:
No.3 - Durrington Walls (Woodhenge)
Recent Excavations (2013) on the site by a team led by the University of Sheffield, has revealed a huge settlement; 1,000 homes have been found, supporting a population of 4,000 people at one time. The village was carbon dated to about 2600 B.C.
It is the "largest Neolithic settlement in the whole of northern Europe". At 500m in diameter, the henge is the largest in Britain and recent evidence suggests that it was a complementary monument to Stonehenge.
Old Sarum was originally an Iron Age hill fort strategically placed on the conjunction of two land trade routes and the River Avon. The hill fort is broadly oval shaped, measuring 400 metres (1,300 ft) in length and 360 metres (1,180 ft) in width; it consists of a double bank and intermediate ditch with an entrance on the eastern side. The site was used by the Romans, becoming the town of Sorviodunum.
Alexander Thom has proposed that the Neolithic builders of Brodgar and other sites used a common unit of measurement which he calls the “megalithic yard”; the diameter of the inner banks of Brodgar, Newgrange, and Avebury are all exactly 175 megalithic yards. This theory remains highly contested, however, as a common unit of measurement would suggest a sophisticated transfer of information not expected from Megalithic builders.
It is a type of monument known as the Cotswold-Severn Cairn, all of which have a similar trapezoid shape, and are found scattered along the River Severn. Belas Knap is described in the English Heritage designation listing statement as an "outstanding example representing a group of long barrows commonly referred to as the Cotswold-Severn group".
It is one of only twelve remaining examples of a causewayed hill camp from the Windmill Hill culture in Britain and one of three known to have existed in the South Downs. It reaches 396 feet above sea level and measures 950 feet by 700 feet. It is made up of four concentric ditches broken up by causeways. The first written mention of the camp (as "White Hawke Hill") was in 1587.
The settlement is remarkably advanced for its age, with a sophisticated drainage system connecting to primitive toilets in each dwelling. Many intriguing artefacts were discovered at Skara Brae, including unusual carved stone balls. What is believed to be a form of runic writing appears on artefacts and throughout the site, but the successful translation has so far been impossible.
A dolmen, also known as a portal tomb, portal grave or quoit, is a type of single-chamber megalithic tomb, usually consisting of two or more upright stones supporting a large flat horizontal capstone (table), although there are also more complex variants. Most date from the early Neolithic period (4000 to 3000 BC). Dolmens were typically covered with earth or smaller stones to form a barrow. In many instances, that covering has weathered away, leaving only the stone "skeleton" of the burial mound intact.
The quoit lies at the north end of a long barrow 26 metres long and 12 metres wide. The barrow, which is covered by grass and bracken, is damaged and its outline is difficult to see. At the south end of the barrow are some more large stones which may be the remains of one or more cists.
There are two main parts: an eastern dyke which runs between Savernake Forest and Morgan's Hill in Wiltshire, and a western dyke which runs from Monkton Combe to the ancient hill fort of Maes Knoll in historic Somerset. Between these two dykes, there is a middle section formed by the remains of the London to Bath Roman road. There is also some evidence in charters that it extended west from Maes Knoll to the coast of the Severn Estuary, but this is uncertain. It may define a post-Roman boundary.