Durrington Walls Henge, Stonehenge Landscape

Record ID:  117717 / MNA140546
Record type:  Monument
Protected Status: Scheduled Monument, World Heritage Site
NT Property:  Stonehenge Landscape; South West
Civil Parish:  Durrington; Wiltshire
Grid Reference:  SU 149 437
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Summary

Durrington Walls Henge is a large ceremonial monument roughly circular in plan 490m by 468m overall, with opposed entrances to north-east and south-east. The National Trust only owns 300m of the outer bank and the outer edge of part of the inner ditch.

Identification Images (0)

Monument Types

  • HENGE (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)

Description

Durrington Walls is a large ceremonial monument or henge roughly circular in plan 490m by 468m overall, with opposed entrances to north-west and south-east. It lies on a south-east slope around a dry gully leading to the River Avon; the south-east entrance faces the river some 60m away. Until 2002, the National Trust only owned 300m of the outer bank and the outer edge of part of the inner ditch. This northern field of Countess Farm was in established grass when visited. A single rabbit hole was notes in the bank of the monument which has been severely reduced and spread by ploughing in the past. In 2002 the land north of this field as far as the Pack Way was acquired and therefore the whole of the henge W of the old road to Devizes is now in NT ownership and in permanent pasture.
Excavations in advance of roadworks in 1966-67 (Wainwright and Longworth 1971) revealed the ditch as 17.6m wide at the top, 6.7m wide at the bottom and 5.5m deep. Two circular rings of post-holes known as the north and south circles were interpreted as remains of important buildings. Earlier Neolithic material was found beneath the bank and Grooved Ware of the Later Neolithic was found in primary contexts in the bank, ditch and the timber circles. Beaker pottery was found in secondary ditch slits. Radiocarbon dates from the Earlier Neolithic ranged around 2,600BC. For the later Neolithic Settlement around 2,000BC (RCHME 1979, 15).
Geophysical survey was carried out by English Heritage in this area in 2003 with excellent results showing timber circles and ring ditches.
In September 2003, a watching brief on renewal of the fence line around the NT land of Durrington enabled gate-post holes to be examined. That at the N edge beside the Pack Way SU15104406 revealed 0.15m of topsoil above solid natural chalk. That on the W side of the old Devizes Road line near the centre of the henge revealed deep silts. Below modern disturbance 0.35m deep was silt 0.8m deep to the bottom of the N & S post-holes. The Neolithic archaeology is likely to survive below this. Each post-hole was on the site of the earlier gate-post and was 0.4m wide.

References

  • SNA63044 - Unpublished document: Martin Papworth. 2008. Stonehenge Estate Countess Farm Replacement of fences and gateposts.

  • SNA67893 - Report: M P Pearson. 2005. The Stonehenge Riverside Project Interim Report 2005.

  • SZA231 - Bibliographic reference: RCHME. 1979. Stonehenge and its Environs. p. 15.

  • SZN48203 - Unpublished document: Martin Papworth. 2003. Durrington Walls, Watching Brief on Replacement Gate-posts during renewal of perimeter fence.

Designations

Other Statuses and References

  • Area of Archaeological Importance
  • HER/SMR Reference (External): SU14SE101

Associated Events

  • ENA3068 - Field Survey, Archaeological Survey: Countess Farm
  • ENA3073 - Archaeological Intervention, Excavations in Advance of Roadworks
  • ENA3135 - Archaeological Intervention, Watching Brief: gate post replacements, Durrington Walls
  • ENA4710 - Archaeological Intervention, Watching brief: 18 stile and gate post-holes, Old King Barrows, Countess Farm and Durrington Walls
  • ENA9272 - Field Survey, Stonehenge Riverside Project, Earth Resistivity Survey, Durrington Walls, Stonehenge Landscape
  • ENA9275 - Field Survey, Hidden Landscapes Geopysical Survey, Durrington Walls, Stonehenge Landscape

Associated Finds

None Recorded

Related Records

None Recorded