Monday 2 September 2013

Stonehenge Avenue Ditches Under The Road

Click photo for much larger version

This photo is from Hawley’s Fifth report of his diggings in 1923, published Jan 1925 in the Antiquaries Journal Vol V No 1. Not only does it seem to show the eastern ditch in the road, but also a dark mark where the shallow anomaly near the heel stone was found. There is also a hint of peri-glacial stripes near the east ditch leading up to the heel stone ditch, the nearer stripes may be track marks. I wonder if there are other photos from the same era.


  1. Fantastic Picture Tim! I didn't know the Heelstone Ditch was as deep as that.
    I can't be sure precisely what you mean by 'Dark Mark' but the short opacity to the left of the Heelstone is its shadow, seen to the right of where Stonehole-97 would be found 57 years later. The deep depression in the center of the trench is Stonehole-B.

    Depending on what the road-surface was at the time, the 'shadow' across it may well be the East Ditch. It looks as though it had rained shortly before the shot was made, possibly creating an 'Anti-Parchmark'.

    At first I thought the picture was from early winter, but Hawley always closed his trenches in September, so the impression of melted light snow can't be accurate.

    Curiously, the 4 postholes look as though they ride up the berm of the inner West Bank, leading to the suggestion that they were dug after the Avenue. (Which can't be right)

    I agree that stripes appear in the East, but Hawley used wooden-toothed paving rakes to clear detritus, so we can't be sure from the picture.

    Eventually this narrow excavation grew to form a rough square from this point, all the way back to the main Ditch of the Henge.

    Notice the ramshackle 'Ticket Office' is still in place, removed in 1928.
    Also, we can just make out the Custodian's House down in the Bottom, peeking out from behind Amesbury G-11.
    Great stuff, Tim!


  2. Looks like the Heelstone leans more than it did 90 years ago ...