Bournemouth University

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Bluestonehenge project takes major award

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The Stonehenge Riverside Project The Stonehenge Riverside Project

The team behind one of the most remarkable discoveries in the history of Stonehenge archaeology has won a major UK award.

The Stonehenge Riverside Project, which directly involves staff and students from BU, was named Research Project of the Year at this year’s Current Archaeology awards.

The award, voted for by readers of Current Archaeology, recognises the Project’s work in uncovering ‘Bluestonehenge’ - a lost stone circle just one mile from the Stonehenge monument.

BU archaeologist, Dr Kate Welham is a Director and Research Fellow Mark Dover serves as Data Manager on the Project which is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Royal Archaeological Institute.

BU’s Martin Smith was also a finalist for the Current Archaeology award. The Bloody Stone Age: War in the Neolithichighlighted Martin’s research into death in the Neolithic period and found it wasn’t all as peaceful as previously suspected.

Scores of BU students have tested their archaeological skills over the last five years as part of the Stonehenge Riverside Project, surveying and excavating the historic landscape and working with collaborators from the universities of Sheffield, Manchester and Bristol as part of the Project team.

Bluestonehenge was, in all likelihood, comprised of the same bluestone that features within Stonehenge itself. The upright bluestones were originally brought from the Preseli hills of south Wales, 150 miles away.

Excavations revealed nine stone holes out of a circle which is probably comprised of some 25 standing stones. Much of the circle remains unexcavated and preserved for future research.

“The Stonehenge Riverside Project has given our students a fantastic opportunity to contribute to a real and live research project,” said Dr Welham. “Our students can be particularly proud of the role they have played in working within this historic landscape and helping to retell the story of the world’s most famous stone monument.” 

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