Avebury Dig – Day 8

The weather gods relented today and allowed us to get in a good day’s digging. In Trench 2 we continued to take down the upper layers of soil in metre squares. At the eastern end of this area, thanks to a concerted effort by the team,  we’ve now completely emptied the backfill from Keiller’s trench.

Meanwhile in Trench 3 there have been more promising discoveries – not least this beautifully crafted Neolithic arrowhead found towards the eastern side of the trench. The jury is out at the moment on whether this was originally a leaf shaped or a lozenge shaped arrowhead because the base has been broken off in antiquity. But what is certain is that like so much of the flint work we’ve found in this area it is both in incredibly fresh condition – it’s still sharp enough to cut yourself on after over 5,000 years – and extremely fine in its execution.

Flint arrowhead from Trench 3

Flint arrowhead from Trench 3

By the end of the day we’d completed cleaning Trench 3 and were ready to photograph it. Recording is at the heart of  archaeology. The archaeologist’s mantra is that all excavation is destruction. Without recording everything we do, see and find there will be no evidence for future generations to reassess and reinterpret in the light of future discoveries. So you’ll have to excuse us if we seem to be obsessed with measuring, drawing, numbering and photographing.

Trench 3 at the end of the day

Trench 3 at the end of the day

If you look carefully at the photograph of Trench 3 you’ll see a series of dark brown splodges dotted around the cutting. Many of them are clustered towards the far side of the trench (near the fence). A lot of our more spectacular flint finds have come from this area and it looks as if we may have a number of features here. Though whether they are pits, stone holes, tree throw holes (caused by trees blowing over in the ancient past) or something else entirely we’ll only discover in the coming days.

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About Dr Nick

Dr Nick Snashall is Archaeologist for Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site. She is fascinated by prehistoric stones, large and small, and their potential for unlocking the secrets of our past. Nick is co-director of Living with Monuments (an AHRC funded research project aiming to address our lack of knowledge of Neolithic settlement and non-monumental activity through targetted fieldwork and archival research into the Avebury region) and Ground -Truthing Stonehenge’s ‘Superhenge’: excavations at Durrington Walls (Current Archaeology's 2017 Research Project of the Year)

One thought on “Avebury Dig – Day 8

  1. Pingback: Avebury Dig – Day 12 | FragmeNTs

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