Last week, the Living with Monuments team started test pitting* in Avebury, in fields to the north west and the south west of Avebury Henge, in order to gather information about what the landscape might have looked like in the past and how it has been transformed over the millennia.
Before the work began, it was assumed that the test pits would essentially show the same thing; however, what they showed instead was how diverse and different the landscape was in the past.
Previous understanding of past landscapes in Avebury was based upon John Evans’ work in the 1980s, which has been taken as the general model for the area, but we are now realising that it’s much more complex and localised.
Many samples have been taken and several specialists visited the site over the days we were digging. It’s very much a work in progress, but at the moment it is showing huge potential and provides an opportunity to rethink some of the ideas we have had about the area.
Thanks to the archaeologists, specialists and farmers whose support makes this work possible, and to Mike Robinson for the wonderful photographs. Watch this space for more posts coming soon from Avebury.
*test pits are small trenches – here we had 2m x 1m test pits