Dynamic Diversity – the nature of working on a prehistoric archaeological site
The team has been digging for 8 days and ideas are continually evolving and being re-evaluated. What is exciting about this excavation is that no matter what day you visit or read the blog, you will hear something different from the previous day – and tomorrow will likely be different from today.
Theories, which can develop in tandem, are either abandoned, held on to, proved or disproved, or sit in the background quietly in wait. There are many specialists and highly experienced archaeologists on site who are all sharing and debating their ideas with each other – and if you’re lucky you may have caught them on site in deep discussion.
Let’s go back to the house floors. There have been 1 possibly 2 house floors since we started on site. Today there are none. Yesterday’s house floor which looked so convincing to the archaeologists has turned out to be chalk capping for a feature below. A quarter of this chalk has been removed and revealed a cow jaw and pelvis (photo below). More on this as the digging continues.
There are two large post holes on site, both appear to have a ramp and both appear to have been dug with the intention of holding an upright. Sometime later, when the post holes and ramps were filled in, a new small pit was dug into one of them and two new pits in the other. A big question remains about what happened between the original digging of the post holes/ramps and the new pits.
We need to get to the bottom of it… literally.
Neither post hole has been completely excavated yet and there are several theories in play at the moment.
Four theories in a nutshell:
- These holes were dug ready for posts (as shown by the ramp), the scheme was abandoned and a henge was constructed.
- The holes were dug and a great timber circle was erected prior to the henge bank, monumentalizing the location of the Late Neolithic village.
- The holes were dug ready for uprights. That they held posts is yet to be determined for sure because the post holes were recut as pits and the evidence that they held uprights is beneath the current level of excavation.
- The holes were dug, an upright was erected then removed and the henge bank was built.
Undoubtedly there are more theories to come and others which have been and will be re-evaluated as we discover more throughout the excavation. Archaeology is an ongoing dynamic process which is worthy of discussion and debate and, certainly on prehistoric sites, these fascinating, enigmatic discoveries will not give up their secrets lightly.