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Sunday, 10 December 2017

The Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Sites

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 were inscribed together on the UNESCO World Heritage Site List in 1986. The Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites World Heritage Site was one of the UK’s very first World Heritage Sites.
 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.
 I'm not sure adding thses photos is worthwhile, the top one shows a photo of the Lake District and below there's a map showing Avebury and Stonehenge, they are 40km apart apparently.
 After the talk, we drew the raffle, and I'm pleased to say that most people who won were in the audience, so were able to choose what they wanted from the selection of prizes. Lynette's mosaic of Stonehenge and Avebury went to a very good home, and we raised £140. Thank you to all who took part in the raffle.

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