HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Historic England research records Result
Historic England research recordsPrintable version | About Historic England research records

Historic England Research Records

Woodhenge

Hob Uid: 219050
Location :
Wiltshire
Wiltshire
Durrington
Grid Ref : SU1506043370
Summary : Woodhenge is a henge surrounded by a ditch and outer bank with an entrance to the north-east, believed to date to around 1800 BC. The interior of the henge includes six concentric rings of timber postholes, representing the site of a large circular structure, now marked by concrete bollards. The surrounding ditch was 12 metres wide and 2.4 metres deep, separated from the bank by a narrow berm. The outer bank is up to 10 metres wide and about a metre high. The outermost ring of postholes measures 43 metres by 40 metres. The site was recorded as an earthwork in the early 19th century by Colt Hoare, although until the 1920s it was regarded as a large disc barrow. Aerial photographs revealed the postholes as cropmarks, prompting excavation in 1926-8 by M E and B H Cunnington. This produced the type site Class I 'henge' monument. Additional excavations occurred in 1970. Excavations revealed a crouched inhumation within a grave dug into the bottom of the ditch, opposite the entrance. A second grave containing the crouched skeleton of a child was found near the centre of the monument. Other finds included a cremation, pottery, chalk axes and other tools. The site was originally known as 'Dough Cover', the name 'Woodhenge' emerged later during the Cunnington's excavations. More recent investigations by the Stonehenge Riverside Project team have explored the relationship of this monument with the circle of wood at nearby Durrington Walls and Stonehenge, establishing how these various monuments might have been integrated into a single scheme in which the structures were linked by artificial avenues and the natural feature of the River Avon. It has been suggested that the different materials used (i.e. stone, wood etc) may also have had significance for ideas and practices of transformation involving the living and the dead. The site is in the care of English Heritage.
More information : (SU 15064338) Woodhenge (NR). (1)

The earliest published reference is by Colt Hoare who called it an 'enormous Druid barrow' (ie a disc barrow. Until 1925 it was assumed to be a barrow and published as such on all OS plans).
Excavations by M E and B H Cunnington from 1926-8, following the air photograph of 1926 produced the type site Class I 'henge' monument.
It consisted of a platform, enclosed by a 7 ft deep ditch, berm and outer bank, the whole being roughly circular and with an overall diameter of 285 ft. The bank and ditch enclosed six settings of timber post holes. Near the centre was an interment of an infant with a cleft skull; in one hole (C14) a cremation, and a crouched inhumation were found in a grave in the bottom of the ditch. Finds included Windmill Hill and Rinyo-Clacton ware from primary locations, two ritual chalk axes, scrapers and, petit tranchet derivatives. Sherds of 'B' beakers were found above the secondary silting. (2-4).

A Neolithic chalk cup, now in Devizes Museum is labelled as from hole C7 at Woodhenge, though not recorded in the monograph (5).

Six Neolithic storage pits with Rinyo-Clacton pottery were found and these antedated the henge monument (6).

SU 151434. Devizes Museum has a tourmaline axe hammer (P293); a group I axe (P837) and part of a Greenstone axe (P838) (7).

Concrete posts now indicate the timber post holes of the monument which is in the care of the MPBW.
Surveyed at 1:625 with a reduction to 1:2500. See classic air photo of 30.6.1926 and modern photo, both reproduced by National Monuments Record. (8-10)

Woodhenge is a small henge, circular in plan, 85m in diameter, with an entrance on the north east. The ditch was found to be 6m wide, 2.4m deep separated from the bank by a narrow berm. Six concentric rings of post holes are present within the interior, the outer most ring measures 43m x 40m. The post holes increased in depth and diameter from the outermost ring to the third ring, and are narrowest within the third ring. It is thought that the post holes represented a timber building rather than an arrangement of free standing posts. (11)

Excavations carried out in 1970, on the bank and ditch (12) provided C14 dates of 1867 bc +/-74 (BM-677) and 1805 bc +/- 54 (BM-678) from material within the ditch. (13)

Recent interpretations on Woodhenge have been discussed by Barrett. (14)

Additional references. (15-16)

This article presents evidence for the intentionally structured deposition at Woodhenge. (17)

Additional reference. (18)

Woodhenge lies within the area mapped from aerial photographs by both RCHME's Salisbury Plain Training Area NMP and EH's Stonehenge WHS Mapping Project, but no further information was obtained from those surveys. (19)

Woodhenge is a Scheduled henge monument, surrounded by a ditch and outer bank with a single entrance to the north east, which is believed to date to around 1800 BC. The interior of the henge includes six concentric rings of timber postholes, representing the site of a large circular structure, which are now marked by concrete bollards. The surrounding ditch was found to be up to 12 metres wide and 2.4 metres deep. The outer bank is up to 10 metres wide and about a metre high. Neolithic occupation debris and six storage pits were found beneath the bank of Woodhenge. (20)

Evidence for intentionally structured deposition at the site, comparing and contrasting it to those at Stonehenge I and Durrington Walls. (21)

This article reviews recent interpretations of Stonehenge in terms of contrasting uses of stone and timber in the mid-third millennium BC. It explores the relationship of this monument with circles of wood at nearby Durrington Walls and Woodhenge, establishing how these various monuments might have been integrated into a single scheme in which the structures were linked by artificial avenues and the natural feature of the River Avon. It also investigates the ways in which substances other than wood and stone - turf, earth, chalk and wood ash - may also have had significance for ideas and practices of transformation involving the living and the dead. (22)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" Prov
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : A history of Wiltshire: volume 1, part 1
Source details : Grinsell, LV. Archaeological Gazetteer
Page(s) : 65
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 11
Source : Stonehenge and its environs: monuments and land use
Source details :
Page(s) : 18-19
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 12
Source : Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society
Source details : (R. Burleigh, I.H Longworth, G.J Wainwright)
Page(s) : 397
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 38, 1972
Source Number : 13
Source : Henge monuments and related sites of Great Britain : air photographic evidence and catalogue
Source details :
Page(s) : 302-3
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 175
Source Number : 14
Source : Fragments from antquity : an archaeology of social life in Britain, 2900-1200 BC
Source details :
Page(s) : 42FF
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 15
Source : Archaeological assessment of the Stonehenge World Heritage Site and its surrounding landscape
Source details : Record numbers 1085-7
Page(s) : 365-6
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 16
Source : Durrington Walls : excavations 1966-1968
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : no.29
Source Number : 17
Source : Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society
Source details : Pollard, J. Structured Deposition at Woodhenge
Page(s) : 137-156
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 18
Source : The English Heritage visitors' handbook 1998-99
Source details :
Page(s) : 101
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 19
Source : RCHME/EH/HE Aerial Photographers comment
Source details : English Heritage: Stonehenge WHS Mapping Project
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 20
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 06-Jun-95
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : Woodhenge : a description of the site as revealed by excavations carried out there by Mr and Mrs B H Cunnington, 1926-7-8; also of four circles and an earthwork enclosure south of Woodhenge
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 21
Source : Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society
Source details : 'Inscribing space: formal deposition at the Later Neolithic monument of Woodhenge, Wiltshire', article by Joshua Pollard
Page(s) : 137-156
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 61, 1995
Source Number : 22
Source : Materializing Stonehenge: the Stonehenge Riverside Project and new discoveries
Source details : Journal of Material Science
Page(s) : 227-261
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 11
Source Number :
Source : Woodhenge parchmarks 1989 and 1990/survey
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number :
Source : Woodhenge area/ink AP transcription
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : The Archaeological Journal
Source details :
Page(s) : 193
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 96, 1940
Source Number : 5
Source : The Wiltshire archaeological and natural history magazine
Source details :
Page(s) : 454
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 54, 1952
Source Number : 6
Source : Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society
Source details :
Page(s) : 380
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 30, 1964
Source Number : 7
Source : Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society
Source details :
Page(s) : 248, 259
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 28, 1962
Source Number : 8
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR SU 1543/131 (CCC 8751/7387) 30-JUN-1926
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 9
Source : Aerial photograph
Source details : Jopp Photo 133
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 10
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 NVQ 03-JUL-69
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Neolithic
Display Date : Neolithic finds
Monument End Date : -2200
Monument Start Date : -4000
Monument Type : Findspot
Evidence : Find
Monument Period Name : Late Neolithic
Display Date : Possibly built in Late Neolithic
Monument End Date : -2480
Monument Start Date : -2640
Monument Type : Henge, Crouched Inhumation, Post Hole, Standing Stone
Evidence : Earthwork, Sub Surface Deposit, Structure
Monument Period Name : Early Bronze Age
Display Date : Henge ditch constructed in EBA
Monument End Date : -2020
Monument Start Date : -2270
Monument Type : Henge, Ditch, Crouched Inhumation, Post Hole, Standing Stone
Evidence : Earthwork, Sub Surface Deposit

Components and Objects:
Period : Neolithic
Component Monument Type : Findspot
Object Type : VESSEL, LITHIC IMPLEMENT
Object Material : Pottery, Flint
Period : Late Neolithic
Component Monument Type : Henge, Crouched Inhumation, Post Hole, Standing Stone
Object Type : VESSEL, LITHIC IMPLEMENT, ANIMAL REMAINS, AXEHEAD, TRANSVERSE ARROWHEAD, CREMATION, PICK
Object Material : Pottery, Flint, Antler
Period : Early Bronze Age
Component Monument Type : Henge, Ditch, Crouched Inhumation, Post Hole, Standing Stone
Object Type : VESSEL, PICK, CREMATION, LITHIC IMPLEMENT, ANIMAL REMAINS, TRANSVERSE ARROWHEAD, AXEHEAD
Object Material : Pottery, Flint, Antler

Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : WI 283
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 10365
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Wiltshire)
External Cross Reference Number : SU14SE101
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Wiltshire)
External Cross Reference Number : SU14SE163
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Wiltshire)
External Cross Reference Number : SU14SE319
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : EH Property Number
External Cross Reference Number : 331
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : DP044869
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SU 14 SE 6
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 219364
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 219041
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 219053
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 219434
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : WOODHENGE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1926-01-01
End Date : 1928-12-31
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON SU 14 SE 6
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1969-07-03
End Date : 1969-07-03
Associated Activities : WOODHENGE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1970-01-01
End Date : 1970-12-31
Associated Activities : RCHME: SALISBURY PLAIN TRAINING AREA NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 1994-12-01
End Date : 1995-08-01
Associated Activities : ENGLISH HERITAGE: STONEHENGE WHS MAPPING PROJECT NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2001-02-01
End Date : 2001-07-01
Associated Activities : ENGLISH HERITAGE: STONEHENGE VISITOR CENTRE
Activity type : FIELD SURVEY
Start Date : 2011-01-01
End Date : 2011-12-31