Avebury Dig – Day 10

Today started warm and sunny and we made the most of it. We continued to work down through our one metre squares in Trench 2.

Meanwhile in Trench 3 we investigated the features that had originally been recognised as areas of dark brown soil. This is beginning to pay dividends as some of the features are producing finds. Helping us in our task for the last few days Dr Jonathan Last has been excavating one of these features.

 Jonathan  hard at work in the feature that produced the scraper and broken blade

Jonathan hard at work in the feature in Trench 3

It wasn’t long before Jonathan’s labours bore fruit – if in a somewhat unexpected way. In the  fill of his feature he found a number of flint waste flakes together with a Neolithic flint scraper. A lovely scraper but pretty much the sort of thing we would expect (and have been finding)  from a middle Neolithic occupation site. What was not so expected was the broken flint blade that was found in the same fill.

Virtually all of the worked flint on the site is very fresh and the original colour of the flint can still be seen. But the blade is heavily patinated (the white colouration on the outer surface of the stone)  everywhere except on its broken edge. This tells us the break is of a later date than the blade itself. It was broken in antiquity – very possibly around the time it became incorporated into our feature. This blade shows every indication of being much earlier in date than the scraper and our other finds. It forms part of exactly the sort of flint industry we would expect to find in the Upper Palaeolithic (the end of the Old Stone Age). So it may have been made some seven thousand years earlier than the scraper that was found nearby.

Neolithic Scraper (left) and broken Upper Palaeolithic Blade

Neolithic Scraper (left) and broken Upper Palaeolithic Blade

All in all it was a productive, if unexpected, sort of a morning. But then mid-afternoon to dampen our excitement…

And then it rained...

…it rained.

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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)

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