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The discovery of new megaliths inside the monument was therefore a great surprise, pointing to the need for further archaeological investigations of this kind at the site. The survey took place inside the Southern Inner Circle, contained within the bank and ditch and colossal Outer Stone Circle of the Avebury henge. Excavations here by the archaeologist and marmalade magnate Alexander Keiller in demonstrated the existence of a curious angular setting of small standing stones set close to a single huge upright known since the 18 th century as the Obelisk.

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Unfortunately, the outbreak of war left this feature only partially investigated. It has shown the line of stones he identified was one side of a square of megaliths about 30m across and enclosing the Obelisk. Also visible are short lines of former standing stones radiating from this square and connecting with the Southern Inner Circle. Megalithic circles are well known from the time when Avebury was built during the late Neolithic 3 rd millennium BC , but square megalithic settings of this scale and complexity are highly unusual. And goes to show how much more is still to be revealed at Avebury if we ask the right questions.

The archaeologists who undertook the work think the construction of the square megalithic setting might have commemorated and monumentalised the location of an early Neolithic house — perhaps part of a founding settlement — subsequently used as the centre point of the Southern Inner Circle.

At the time of excavation in the house was erroneously considered by Keiller to be a medieval cart shed. If proved correct, it may help understand the beginnings of the remarkable Avebury monument complex, and help explain why it was built where it was.


It is owned and cared for by the National Trust. For more information visit www. Thousands of people visit these special places every year and help us to care for them, for ever, for everyone. It was created during the later Neolithic c.

Fossil-hunting: Jurassic lark - Telegraph

It is a collaborative project involving archaeologists from the Universities of Leicester, Southampton and Cambridge, the National Trust, and Allen Environmental Archaeology. Snashall nationaltrust. The University of Leicester is led by discovery and innovation — an international centre for excellence renowned for research, teaching and broadening access to higher education. We are among the top one per cent of institutions globally. Our academics are leaders in their fields, forging links with high-profile international businesses and organisations, and inspiring a 24,strong community of exceptional students, from over countries worldwide.

OU on the BBC: Fossil Detectives - London

Fossil Detectives showcases Britain's amazing wealth of fossil remains, inspiring the explorer in all of us. So join Hermione Cockburn and a host of other top fossil loving celebrities including Sir David Attenborough and Blurs Alex James on a fossil adventure. After meeting David Attenborough, who recalls his early days as a fossil detective in central England, Hermione and the team investigate some of the world's most important fossil discoveries in the area.

They look at the evidence that has revealed the world's smallest fossilised mystery body part, gain an insight into the iconic dinosaur Tyrannosuarus Rex and view a buried treasure which could change the way we look at ancient marine creatures.

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She visits the London home of David Attenborough to view his private fossil collection and find out why fossils have held such a special place in his heart since his childhood. The fossil detective team also track down evidence of the capital's ancient past, a lost world where hippos were common. They take a trip to Kew Gardens to see living fossils - plants which existed in prehistoric times and still thrive today. The team visits Wales to bring dinosaurs back to life using evolutionary robotics and we follow the intriguing story of the fossils at the Ford engine plant in Bridgend. On the outskirts of Liverpool, Hermione follows in the footsteps of our ancestors to discover trace fossils of human beings which are still soft to the touch. Plus, why fossils were thought to be food for the dead, and the team come face to face with a prehistoric skeleton with a dark secret.

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The team get a rare view of a new fossil discovery on the North East coast. Hermione abseils the cliffs of Yorkshire to find evidence of the ancient monsters that once lived there.

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John Lennon's link to fossils is investigated, and the truth behind the Victorians' favourite fossil in Whitby is revealed. In the south-west of England, the team see Britain's best-preserved dinosaur, complete with crocodile teeth in its mouth and fossilised vomit in its throat, and discover why the Jurassic Coast is one of the most dynamic shorelines in the world. They meet a relative of the dinosaurs which is alive and well today and, at Lulworth Cove, former Blur bassist Alex James explains his childhood love of fossils.

In the east of England, the team go on a fossil hunting challenge on Hunstanton beach and find out how fossils can be discovered right on your doorstep.