UK’s oldest town revealed

Amesbury is near Stonehenge in Wiltshire.

Britain’s oldest town has been revealed.

Scientists say that Amesbury, near Stonehenge, dates back more than TEN MILLENNIA, and is the birthplace of Britain’s history.

Scholars previously though that Thatcham, in Buckinghamshire, was the UK’s oldest settlement.

However, researchers have now bestowed the title of ‘UK’s oldest town’ on Amesbury in Wiltshire, and the Guinness Book of Records has confirmed the honour.

Using carbon dating from an archaeological dig the researchers have found that the parish of Amesbury in Wiltshire has been continually occupied for every millennia since 8,820BC.

The origins of Amesbury were discovered as a result of carbon dating bones that belonged to aurochs (animals twice the size of bulls), following the dig at Vespasian’s Camp, Blick Mead.

Archaeologists also found pieces of flint at the site on Vespasian’s Camp, just a mile-and-a-half from Stonehenge.

The dig, which took place last October, was funded by the University of Buckingham.

David Jacques, research fellow in Archaeology at the University of Buckingham said: “The site blows the lid off the Neolithic Revolution – deemed the first agricultural revolution in Middle Eastern history – in a number of ways. 

“It provides evidence for people staying put, clearing land, building and presumably worshipping monuments.

“The area was clearly a hub point for people to come to from many miles away, and in many ways was a forerunner for what later went on at Stonehenge itself. The first monuments at Stonehenge were built by these people.

“For years people have been asking ‘why is Stonehenge where it is?’ Now, at last, we have found the answers.”

Bill Dunn, from the Amesbury Museum and Heritage Centre, said: “We are naturally delighted at the confirmation of Amesbury’s longevity as the oldest continuous inhabited place in England.

“We have always known Amesbury as somewhere special and this confirms it.

“All the visitors to the museum are amazed at what they find, and we hope even more people will now visit.”

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