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Saturday, February 03, 2007

UK's largest Neolithic village 

Archaeologists surveying the Stonehenge world heritage site, have discovered the largest Neolithic village ever found in Britain; a huge circular enclosure of houses that probably housed hundreds of people, less than two miles from Stonehenge itself and close to Salisbury.

The village, known as Durrington Walls, dates back to the period when Stonehenge was built, so it is assumed that the same people were responsible for building both sites. They occupy an area, bordered by the River Avon, that is heavily populated with Neolithic sites and is easily be explored.

There are some good walks in this region but you have to take care to avoid the military, who use Salisbury Plain for war games. Traffic signs indicate that tanks might be crossing the road and presumably it is wise to give way. Bird watchers might be interested to know that in recent years, a number of Great Bustards have been released there in an effort to develop a breeding population and re-introduce them to the UK. The Great Bustard is the heaviest flying bird in the world but they became extinct in Britain in the 1840s, principally due to hunting.

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