Category Archives: Stonehenge landscape

The Calibration of a Landscape

For the last week the Universities of Birmingham and Ghent have been working hard in the Stonehenge Landscape, carrying out excavations with an interesting twist.

For several years now, Dr. Philippe De Smedt of the University of Ghent has been conducting electromagnetic induction surveys* (EMI) over vast areas of the Stonehenge Landscape. He,  Paul Garwood and Dr. Henry Chapman (both of the University of Birmingham) now want to be able to understand the survey data more clearly by substantiating it through excavation and coring.


Excavation of two of the anomalies in the EMI Survey ©Philippe De Smedt/University of Ghent

Using the data from these surveys, and also coring results from work carried out towards the end of last year, the team are targeting specific features in the landscape for excavation. These features were chosen because of the particular signals they were giving out – some archaeological and some geological. These excavations and comparisons with the survey data will, in turn, support improved interpretation of EMI geophysical data from a calibrated landscape.


Archaeologists from Birmingham and Ghent excavating a large pit ©National Trust/Briony Clifton

The team will be continuing their excavations this week (from Tuesday 4 July until Sunday 9 July) so if you are paying the Stonehenge World Heritage Site a visit, have a wander into the Landscape and see for yourself. On many of the days you will be able to chat to one or two National Trust volunteers who will explain what the team is up to.


Sieving each bucketful ©National Trust/Briony Clifton

*electromagnetic surveying – a type of geophysical survey using electrical conductivity and magnetic susceptibility, measuring properties of the soil and depth levels.

Joint statement about public consultation on Stonehenge/A303 tunnel scheme


Stonehenge from the south ©National Trust Images/Abby George

Historic England, English Heritage and National Trust joint press statement about the start of the public consultation on the Stonehenge/A303 tunnel scheme (first published 12 January 2017)

Historic England, English Heritage and the National Trust welcome Highways England’s public consultation on initial options to improve the A303 between Amesbury and Berwick Down, and the inclusion of a tunnel scheme of at least 2.9km to remove much of the A303 road from the Stonehenge World Heritage Site.

We are looking at the detail of the consultation document and potential tunnel scheme, and will be providing our responses in due course. We encourage others to take part in the public consultation and have their say.

If it is designed well, Historic England, the National Trust and English Heritage all firmly believe that a tunnel of the right length and location will deliver a scheme worthy of this world-famous place. The current A303 with its busy traffic ruins the setting of many prehistoric monuments and stops people from exploring a large part of the World Heritage Site.

A tunnel would reunite the Stonehenge landscape and bring huge benefits, improving our understanding and enjoyment of the Stonehenge monument and the surrounding countryside.


Durrington Dig Nominated for Research Project of the Year Award

Mike Parker Pearson celebrating finding the base of the western post hole © National Trust Abby George

Didn’t they do well! Mike Parker and some of our Durrington Dig team in action this summer ©National Trust Abby George

This summer our Durrington Dig in the Stonehenge landscape revealed a major new monument that had been hidden from view for the last 4,500 years beneath the bank of Durrington Walls henge. The dig was a partnership project between the Stonehenge Riverside Project, the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project and our team here at the National Trust.

Now Current Archaeology have recognised our team’s achievements by nominating us for their Research Project of the Year Award 2017.

You can find out more about what we got up to and cast your vote by visiting the Current Archaeology website.