Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-cjp7w Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-06-22T12:37:24.787Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Stonehenge's Avenue and ‘Bluestonehenge’

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 July 2016

Michael J. Allen
Allen Environmental Archaeology, Redroof, Green Road, Codford BA12 0NW, UK
Ben Chan
Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University, Postbus 9514, 2300 RA Leiden, the Netherlands
Ros Cleal
Alexander Keiller Museum, High Street, Avebury SN8 1RF, UK
Charles French
Department of Archaeology & Anthropology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3DZ, UK
Peter Marshall
Chronologies, 25 Onslow Road, Sheffield S11 7AF, UK
Joshua Pollard
Department of Archaeology, University of Southampton, Avenue Campus, Southampton SO17 1BF, UK
Rebecca Pullen
Historic England, 37 Tanner Row, York YO1 6WP, UK
Colin Richards
School of Arts, Languages & Cultures, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
Clive Ruggles
School of Archaeology & Ancient History, University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK
David Robinson
School of Forensic and Investigative Sciences, University of Central Lancashire, Preston PR1 2HE, UK
Jim Rylatt
16 Carr Road, Sheffield S6 2WZ, UK
Julian Thomas
School of Arts, Languages & Cultures, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
Kate Welham
Department of Archaeology, Anthropology & Forensic Science, Talbot Campus, Bournemouth University, Bournemouth BH12 5BB, UK
Mike Parker Pearson*
Institute of Archaeology, University College London, 31–34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY, UK
*Author for correspondence (Email:


Stonehenge is a site that continues to yield surprises. Excavation in 2009 added a new and unexpected feature: a smaller, dismantled stone circle on the banks of the River Avon, connected to Stonehenge itself by the Avenue. This new structure has been labelled ‘Bluestonehenge’ from the evidence that it once held a circle of bluestones that were later removed to Stonehenge. Investigation of the Avenue closer to Stonehenge revealed deep periglacial fissures within it. Their alignment on Stonehenge's solstitial axis (midwinter sunset–midsummer sunrise) raises questions about the early origins of this ritual landscape.

Copyright © Antiquity Publications Ltd, 2016 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Allen, M.J. 1995. Before Stonehenge, in Cleal, R.M.J., Walker, K.E. & Montague, R., Stonehenge in its landscape: twentieth-century excavations: 4162. London: English Heritage.Google Scholar
Allen, M.J. & Bayliss, A.. 1995. Appendix 2: the radiocarbon dating programme, in Cleal, R.M.J., Walker, K.E. & Montague, R., Stonehenge in its landscape: twentieth-century excavations: 511–35. London: English Heritage.Google Scholar
Allen, M.J. & Gardiner, J.. 2009. If you go down to the woods today: a re-evaluation of the chalk-land post-glacial woodland; implications for prehistoric communities, in Allen, M.J., Sharples, N. & O'Connor, T.P. (ed.) Land and people: papers in memory of John G. Evans (Prehistoric Society Research Paper 2): 4966. Oxford: Oxbow.Google Scholar
Allen, M.J. & Gardiner, J. 2012. Not out of the woods yet: some reflections on Neolithic ecological relationships with woodland, in Jones, A.M., Pollard, J., Allen, M.J. & Gardiner, J. (ed.) Image, memory and monumentality: archaeological engagements with the material world (Prehistoric Society Research Paper 5): 93107. Oxford: Oxbow.Google Scholar
Atkinson, R.J.C. 1956. Stonehenge. London: Hamish Hamilton.Google Scholar
Atkinson, R.J.C. 1957. Worms and weathering. Antiquity 33: 219–33. Google Scholar
Barclay, A. & Marshall, P., with Higham, T.. 2011. Chronology and the radiocarbon dating programme, in Fitzpatrick, A.P., The Amesbury Archer and the Boscombe Bowmen: Bell Beaker burials at Boscombe Down, Amesbury, Wiltshire: 167–84. Oxford: Oxbow.Google Scholar
Barton, N., Berridge, P., Walker, M. & Bevins, R.. 1995. Persistent places in the Mesolithic landscape: an example from the Black Mountains uplands of South Wales. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 61: 81116. Google Scholar
Card, N. 2013. The Ness of Brodgar. British Archaeology 128: 1421.Google Scholar
Cleal, R.M.J., Walker, K.E. & Montague, R.. 1995. Stonehenge in its landscape: twentieth-century excavations. London: English Heritage.Google Scholar
Darvill, T.C., Lüth, F., Rassmann, K., Fischer, A. & Winkelmann, K.. 2012a. Stonehenge, Wiltshire, UK: high resolution geophysical surveys in the surrounding landscape, 2011. European Journal of Archaeology 16: 6393. Google Scholar
Darvill, T., Marshall, P., Parker Pearson, M. & Wainwright, G.J.. 2012b. Stonehenge remodelled. Antiquity 86: 1021–40. Google Scholar
Evans, J.G. 1968. Periglacial deposits on the chalk of Wiltshire. Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine 63: 1229.Google Scholar
Field, D., Bowden, M. & Soutar, S.. 2012. Stonehenge World Heritage Site landscape project: the Avenue and Stonehenge Bottom. English Heritage Research Report 31—2012. Available at: (accessed 18 March 2016).Google Scholar
Hawley, W. 1925. Report of the excavations at Stonehenge during the season of 1923. The Antiquaries Journal 5: 2150. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jacques, D. & Phillips, T.. 2014. Mesolithic settlement near Stonehenge: excavations at Blick Mead, Vespasian's Camp, Amesbury. Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine 107: 727.Google Scholar
Parker Pearson, M. 2012. Stonehenge: exploring the greatest Stone Age mystery. London: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
Parker Pearson, M. & Ramilisonina . 1998. Stonehenge for the ancestors: the stones pass on the message. Antiquity 72: 308–26.Google Scholar
Parker Pearson, M., Cleal, R., Marshall, P., Needham, S., Pollard, J., Richards, C., Ruggles, C., Sheridan, A., Thomas, J., Tilley, C., Welham, K., Chamberlain, A., Chenery, C., Evans, J., Knüsel, C., Linford, N., Martin, L., Montgomery, J., Payne, A. & Richards, M.. 2007. The age of Stonehenge. Antiquity 81: 617–39. Google Scholar
Parker Pearson, M., Chamberlain, A., Jay, M., Marshall, P., Pollard, J., Richards, C., Thomas, J., Tilley, C. & Welham, K.. 2009. Who was buried at Stonehenge? Antiquity 83: 2339. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Parker Pearson, M., Chamberlain, A., Jay, M., Richards, M., Sheridan, A., Curtis, N., Evans, J., Gibson, A., Hutchison, M., Mahoney, P., Marshall, P., Montgomery, J., Needham, S., O'Mahoney, S., Pellegrini, M. & Wilkin, N.. 2016. Beaker people in Britain: migration, mobility and diet. Antiquity 90: 620–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pitts, M.W. 1982. On the road to Stonehenge: report on the investigations beside the A344 in 1968, 1979 and 1980. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 48: 75132. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Richards, C. (ed.). 2013. Building the great stone circles of the North. Oxford: Windgather.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ruggles, C.L.N. 2006. Interpreting solstitial alignments in Late Neolithic Wessex. Archaeoastronomy 20: 127.Google Scholar
Ruggles, C.L.N. 2007. Cosmology, calendar, and temple orientations in ancient Hawai‘i, in Ruggles, C.L.N. & Urton, G. (ed.) Skywatching in the ancient world: new perspectives in cultural astronomy: 287329. Boulder: University Press of Colorado.Google Scholar
Ruggles, C.L.N. 2014. Archaeoastronomy in Polynesia, in Ruggles, C.L.N. (ed.) Handbook of archaeoastronomy and ethnoastronomy: 2231–45. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
Smith, G. 1973. Excavation of the Stonehenge Avenue at West Amesbury, Wiltshire. Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine 68: 4256.Google Scholar
Ward, G.K. & Wilson, S.R.. 1978. Procedures for comparing and combining radiocarbon age determinations: a critique. Archaeometry 20: 1931. Google Scholar
Williams, R.B.G. 1973. Frost and the works of man. Antiquity 47: 1931. CrossRefGoogle Scholar