Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Marden artefacts go online

Items from the 1969 excavation of Marden Henge have recently been made available on-line.

Another 3,500 records of items in the collections of Wiltshire Heritage Museum in Devizes have been uploaded to their website www.wiltshireheritagecollections.org.uk, including the records of artefacts found during the 1969 excavation of Marden Henge.

The prehistoric site at Marden is 8 miles south east of Devizes and halfway between Avebury and Stonehenge and is currently being re-investigated by English Heritage. Marden Henge is the largest henge monument in Britain, enclosing an area of around 14 hectares with its enormous bank and ditch. New and important discoveries have been made, including the floor of a prehistoric rectangular building, estimated to be some 4500 years old!

Also now online are records for a large collection of fossils found in Wiltshire in the late 19th century by William Cunnington III, a well-known amateur geologist. He started collecting fossils at the age of seven and his extensive collection, amounting to some 20,000 fossils and geological specimens, was divided between the Wiltshire Heritage Museum and the Natural History Museum in London after his death.

The total number of records on the Museum’s website is now a staggering 89,200, accompanied by 4,500 digital images.

Jim Leary, Director of the excavation of Marden Henge said “Being able to easily access information online about the finds excavated at Marden in 1969 by Geoffrey Wainwright has proved invaluable to the research we are carrying out at the moment. We are able to take the information straight from the website and compare it to the material found in our recent excavation, making some new and important discoveries. Wiltshire Heritage Museum is one of the few smaller museums in the country to have its collections available to view online. It is extremely important that excavation archives like this one are made accessible to archaeologists carrying out new research in the field.