Monday, 16 March 2009

Pre- History: Sarum

Old Sarum is the site of the earliest settlement of Salisbury, in England. The site contains evidence of human habitation as early as 3000 BC. Old Sarum is mentioned in some of the earliest records in the country. It sits on a hill about two miles north of modern Salisbury.
Old Sarum was originally a hill fort strategically placed on the conjunction of two trade routes and the River Avon, Hampshire. The hill fort is broadly oval in shape. 1300 feet in length and 1200 feet in width, it consists of a bank and ditch with an entrance on the eastern side Large banks were first created around the hilltop site in the Iron Age.Archaeological remains of rough stone tools suggest people have occupied the hilltop area of Old Sarum since Neolithic times (around 3000 BC). There is evidence that early hunters and, later, farming communities occupied the site. A protective hill fort was constructed by the local inhabitants during the British Iron Age (around 500 BC) by creating enormous banks and ditches surrounding the hill. Numerous other hillforts of the same period can be found locally, including Figsbury Ring to the east and Vespasian's Camp to the north. The archaeologist Sir R.C. Hoare described it as "a city of high note in the remotest periods by the several barrows near it, and its proximity to the two largest stone circles in England, namely, Stonehenge and Avebury."

(1)The foundations of the old cathedral -
the ancestor of modern Salisbury
Cathedral, seen from the castle mound.

(2) The Well

(3)The foundations of a rounded chapel

at the easten end of the old cathedral

(4)The cathedral foundations

(5)Looking across the castle courtyard

Top Pictures: The castle mound of Old Sarum

The bridge to the castle entrance.
The bridge crosses a deep moat,
offering good defense against attack.

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