We were fortunate enough to have Sarah Simmonds, Partnership Manager for the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Sites, to talk to us at Swindon Dance for our November talk. I sat rather too far back from the stage, and didn't want to interrupt proceedings with photograph taking, so have only got this rather fuzzy photo of Sarah.
Stonehenge and Avebury gained their place on the World Heritage Site
list for their outstanding prehistoric monuments dating back over 5000
years to the Neolithic and Bronze Age. Stonehenge is the most famous
and sophisticated prehistoric stone circle in the world. At Avebury the
massive banks and ditches of the henge enclose its largest. Both stone
circles lie at the heart of prehistoric landscapes containing numerous
impressive and amazingly well-preserved ceremonial monuments.
Sarah guided us through some very interesting information about both Avebury and Stonehenge sites, including the fact that there are 250 round barrows around the Avebury site, and she reminded us that artists such as Turner and Paul Nash have been influenced by the stones in the landscape.
The main issue at Stonehenge, the 8th most visited site in the UK, is how to manage the traffic, which is why an underground road has been suggested to attempt to separate traffic from the stones.
163 countries have signed up to the Convention concerning the protection of the world cultural and national heritage, delisting can happen if a site isn't managed properly. There are 31 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the UK, the latest one is in the Lake District. A site needs one of ten criteria to become a WHS, it's now much harder to again world heritage status than it was in 1986.