ARCHAEOLOGISTS embarked on a new excavation at Marden this week to investigate the henge and Neolithic life.

The project led by the University of Reading, in collaboration with Historic England, the Arts and Humanities Research Council and Wiltshire Museum, is set to transform the knowledge we have of the people who worshipped at Stonehenge and worked on its construction.

This summer is the start of a three year excavation project at the site with the current six week dig, which started on Monday, to focus on the surface of a Neolithic building revealed during earlier excavations.

Dr Jim Leary, from the University of Reading’s department of archaeology, said: “This excavation is the beginning of a new chapter in the story of Stonehenge and its surrounds. The Vale of Pewsey is a relatively untouched archaeological treasure-chest under the shadow of one of the wonders of the world.

“Why Stonehenge was built remains a mystery. How the giant stones were transported almost defy belief. It must have been an astonishing, perhaps frightening, sight. Using the latest survey, excavation and scientific techniques, the project will reveal priceless insight into the lives of those who witnessed its construction.

“Marden Henge is located on a line which connects Stonehenge and Avebury. This poses some fascinating questions. Were the three monuments competing against each other? Or were they used by the same communities but for different occasions and ceremonies? We hope to find out.”

Built around 2400 BC Marden is the largest henge in the country and one of Britain’s most important but least understood prehistoric monuments.

The excavation also marks the start of the new University of Reading archaeology field school. Previously run at the Roman town site of Silchester, the Field School will see archaeology students and enthusiasts from Reading and across the globe join the excavation.

The dig runs until July 25 and visitors are welcome to see the excavation in progress every day, except Fridays, between 10am and 5pm. Groups must book in advance by calling 07912 998970 or emailing

There will also be a chance for people to visit the site on open days taking place on July 4 and July 18.