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The latest from the past Stone square feature identified in Avebury circle G

eophysical survey at Keiller's setting in fact forms Avebury has revealed part of a square that measures an apparently unique about 30m across and encloses square monument at the heart of one of the Wiltshire World Heritage Site's late Neolithic (3rd millennium BC) stone circles.

the Obelisk.

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Archaeologists from the Universities of Leicester and Southampton - funded by the AHRC and supported by the National Trust - have been undertaking soil-resistance and ground-penetrating radar survey within the Southern Inner Circle, with results that have shed new light on an almost 80-year-old mystery.

In 1939, excavations on the same spot by Alexander Keiller revealed an enigmatic angular setting of small standing stones set close to a larger upright that, since the 18th century, has been known as the 'Obelisk'. The outbreak of the Second World War left his investigations incomplete, but now the present project has demonstrated that

During their research the team has detected and mapped the surviving standing stones that form this monument, together with the positions of other now-lost uprights, and short lines of stones can also be seen radiating from the square's corners towards the Southern Inner Circle. The researchers suggest that the square may have commemorated and surrounded the location of a much smaller early Neolithic house - possibly part of a founding settlement, and one of the earliest structures on the site - which was subsequently used as the centre point for the circle .

'Megalithic circles are well known from the time when Avebury was built during the late Neolithic, but square settings of this scale and complexity are unheard of,' said

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Drs Mark Gillings (University of Leicester) and Joshua Pollard (University of Southampton).

Dr Nick Snashall, National Trust archaeologist at Avebury, added: 'This discovery has been almost 80 years in the making, but it has been well worth waiting for. The completion of the work first started by Keiller in the 1930s has revealed an entirely new type of monument at the heart of the world's largest prehistoric stone circle,

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LEFT & BELOW Geophysical survey of the Southern Inner Circle at Avebury has revealed an early Neolithic square stone setting, which is reconstructed below.

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using techniques he never dreamt of. It goes to show how much more is still to be revealed at Avebury if we ask the right questions.'

The team is currently compiling their research into a formal academic paper, but a full technical report can be read now at: www2.le.ac.uk/ departments/archaeology/ people/ academics/ gillings/ documents/ avebury-obelisk-report-2017

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Nel,Ts ill bl*ie" City of Culture candidates

Five cities and towns have been shortlisted to be the UK City of Culture in 2021, John Glen, the Minister for Arts, Heritage, and Tourism, has announced. Of the 11 places that bid for the award, Coventry, Paisley, Stoke, Sunderland, and Swansea were put forward as finalists. The successful candidate - to be revealed in December - will become the third UK City of Culture after Hull (the incumbent) and DerryLondonderry, and will then have access to a £3 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

Luxury living at Tintagel English Heritage has announced the publication of a full report on last year's excavations at Tintagel Castle, as Cornwall Archaeological Unit starts their 2017 digging season on the site. Although relatively small in scale, the 2016 campaign revealed evidence of far-reaching trade connections linking the promontory's 5th- and 6th-century inhabitants to the Mediterranean and further afield, with the discovery of Spanish glassware and pottery imported from Turkey and Cyprus. The team also uncovered echoes of lavish feasts featuring pork, deep-sea fish, and oysters. Investigations on the Southern Terrace revealed substantial stone-walled structures (eA 319), which will be explored during the current excavation. This year's fieldwork will continue until 11 August, and the 2016 report is at http://www.english-heritage.

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SEPTEMBER 2017

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