The guided tours on the Stukeley 300 weekend at Stanton Drew, 22/23 July, were very popular. They got booked up quickly, so quite a few people missed out.
Now there is another chance. To help celebrate Heritage Open Days, on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 September, English Heritage Volunteers will be leading free guided tours of Stanton Drew Circles and Cove.
Join their knowledgeable volunteers to find out more about this fascinating site. Tours are being held at 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 13:00 and 14:00 on 9 and 10 September. Booking is essential.
The event was recorded, and ticket holders (both of the live event and the streaming) will have exclusive access to the recording when it is ready. It will remain online for a few weeks afterwards.
10:00-10:30 Introduction, welcome, housekeeping and “A day in Stanton Drew” [30 minutes] John Richards, Chair, Bath and Counties Archaeological Society, and Secretary, Stukeley 300
Why did William Stukeley visit Stanton Drew and what did he do here?
10:30-11:30 Stanton Drew in its local context. [60 minutes] Dr Jodie Lewis, School of Archaeological and Forensic Sciences, University of Bradford. Stanton Drew is a fascinating and important site, with much to contribute to our understanding of Neolithic Britain. Yet, contrary to popular belief, it does not exist in local isolation. In particular, the nearby Mendip Hills (one of the purported sources of stone used at Stanton Drew) are known to house a range of broadly contemporary sites and monuments. In this Dr Lewis will consider the Neolithic archaeology of this region and present the results from some of her recent excavations, which have uncovered a range of new monuments. This work is transforming our understanding of Neolithic activity in the region, providing an insight into different forms of ceremonial architecture and the links between people, places and practices in the landscapes local to Stanton Drew.
11:30-11:50 Coffee Break [20 minutes]
11:50-12:30 From gatepost to post circles [45 minutes] Dr Neil Linford, Senior Geophysicist, Geophysics Team, Historic England.
The first geophysical survey conducted by English Heritage (now Historic England) at Stanton Drew in 1997 was a case work request in advance of proposals for minor invasive works at the site. This fluxgate magnetometer survey revealed a pattern of concentric rings of post-holes within the Great Circle, that was later verified through a more targeted hand-held caesium magnetometer survey, and subsequent investigation using a range of techniques. This talk will review all the geophysical survey conducted by Historic England to date, including the most recent extensive coverage of the site with a high-sensitivity vehicle towed caesium magnetometer array and high sample density Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR).
12:30-14:00 Lunch [90 minutes]
14:00-14:45 Connections and Complexes: Stanton Drew in its wider British and Irish context [45 minutes] Dr Susan Greaney, Lecturer in Archaeology, University of Exeter. The stone and timber circles and cove at Stanton Drew are unique, although they fit within a broader repertoire of monuments being constructed across Britain and Ireland in the late Neolithic period. This talk will deconstruct the various components of the complex at Stanton Drew, drawing parallels and similarities between each element and monumental constructions elsewhere, to map the wide connections that Stanton Drew has with other places. The implications of this for the community that built and used Stanton Drew will be drawn out: long-distance connections, similar religious and ritual practices, and a shared way of being in the world.
14:45-15:15 A settlement in stone ? [30 minutes] Professor Josh Pollard, Archaeology, University of Southampton. Even though much remains to be known about the chronology and physical character of the monument complex at Stanton Drew, it is still legitimate to ask how it might have come into being and taken the form that it did. Analogy with similar and more extensively excavated Late Neolithic monument complexes, from Orkney to Wessex, offers insight, not least through the process by which major communal buildings set within settlements were frequently marked and monumentalised. There is reason to believe the sequence at Stanton Drew ran from settlement to stone with key features becoming foci for ancestral veneration.
15:15-15:30 Tea Break [15 minutes]
15:30-16:15 On William Stukeley, standing stones and druids [40 minutes] Dr David Boyd Haycock, Writer, curator and lecturer. Dr William Stukeley, FRS, FSA (1687-1765) was the leading British antiquary of the early eighteenth century, famed for his detailed studies of Avebury, Stonehenge and other stone circles and monuments such as the one at Stanton Drew. Dr David Boyd Haycock wrote his doctoral thesis on Stukeley, and his ‘intellectual’ biography of the great antiquary was published in 2002. In this talk he will offer an introduction to Stukeley’s life, work and ideas, and his theories on standing stones. He will also mention the twentieth- century artist Paul Nash, another one of his interests, who was also inspired by Stukeley’s work.
16:15 Closing comments and vote of thanks [15 minutes] John Richards/ Keith Stenner