Avebury Dig 2014 – Day 7

The weather has thankfully been a little cooler today but much of the ground surface is still like concrete; a fact many of us have the blisters to prove ( if you think archaeology is a glamorous profession think again!)

Today we’ve been concentrating our efforts on the eastern part of Trench 2. Most of this trench is yet to be explored. In the small strip immediately behind Josh (baseball cap and maroon t-shirt) in the picture below we have the remnants of the trench dug by Keiller in 1934. That means   we can tie in his work with ours remarkably accurately.

The BtM team hard at work this afternoon in Trench 2

The BtM team hard at work this afternoon in Trench 2

As you can see we’ve divided the site up into a series of one metre squares. This means that even when we encounter a general layer that covers much of the site our recording will allow us to spatially locate all of the artefacts. This enables us to build up a picture of artefact distribution  across the site and helps us understand what activities people were carrying out where. To ensure we don’t miss even the smallest finds every bucketful of soil that we remove from a square (or an individual feature such as a pit when we encounter them) is sieved.


Mark (Dr Mark Gillings) ensuring we find evey flake of flint and every sherd of pottery (and yes,our boots are often more soil than sock by the end of a days sieving)

Mark (Dr Mark Gillings) ensuring we find every flake of flint and every sherd of pottery (and yes,our boots are often more soil than sock by the end of a day’s sieving)

You might remember that on Day 4 we found a cracking Early Bronze Age plano-convex flint knife. We’ll today Christian came up with another one.

Plano-convex knife with a notch in the left edge

Plano-convex knife with a notch in the left edge.

 What’s slightly curious about this example is that a notch has been deliberately worked in one edge. Notches are often found as part of combination tools in the Later Neolithic and Early Bronze Age; combination scrapers and notches for instance. But plano-convex knives don’t normally form part of this Swiss Army toolkit approach to flintworking. It’s just possible however that our example may have been notched to allow it to be hafted with a wooden handle.

Our two plano-convex knives, together with our rather handsome barbed and tanged arrowhead from last year  seem to be telling us that something is going on here in the Early Bronze Age as well as several centuries before in the Middle Neolithic. And in between times someone went and built an Avenue (or two).

This entry was posted in Avebury, Avenue Dig, Dig and tagged , , , , , , , on by .

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)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s