Test Pitting in the Avebury Landscape

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.


Archaeologists from the National Trust and the University of Leicester test pitting in the shadow of Silbury Hill ©Mike Robinson

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.


Archaeologist, Mike, from the University of Southampton recording one of the southern test pits ©Mike Robinson 

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.


Archaeologists at work with buzzards flying above and the smell of oilseed rape drifting over the field. ©Mike Robinson

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.



The teams from the Universities of Southampton and Leicester. ©Mike Robinson

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

Stonehenge finds tell of divided society

Mike Pitts and British Archaeology on Historic England’s discoveries at West Amesbury Farm in the Stonehenge Landscape

Mike Pitts – Digging Deeper

west-amesbury-digThe new British Archaeology, which went live online today (February 8), reports significant new discoveries near Stonehenge, among them the grave of a man who might have seen the earliest megaliths erected at the site.

West Amesbury Farm copyright Judith Dobie .jpgCremated remains of over 100 people were buried at the first Stonehenge, from 3100BC – the largest cremation cemetery in prehistoric Britain. Human remains of this age are otherwise rare in the world heritage site, or across Britain as a whole. So it is noteworthy that the man buried at West Amesbury, who was not cremated, probably saw funerals at Stonehenge quite different to his own.

W Amesbury pit.jpgFive pits in the chalk contemporary with the henge’s origins contained huge amounts of artefacts. These include quantities of Peterborough pottery, in large fresh sherds, all in the Fengate style (one of these pits has more pottery in it than the whole of prehistoric Stonehenge).

Stonehenge W Amesbury pot.jpgHitherto, discussions about the…

View original post 246 more words

Joint Statement on Highways England Consultation on Route Options for the A303 Road Improvement Scheme in the Stonehenge WHS

POSITION STATEMENT FROM HISTORIC ENGLAND, NATIONAL TRUST AND ENGLISH HERITAGE ON HIGHWAYS ENGLAND’S PUBLIC CONSULTATION ON ROUTE OPTIONS FOR THE A303 ROAD IMPROVEMENT SCHEME IN THE STONEHENGE WORLD HERITAGE SITE Highways England has put forward initial route options for a road improvement within the Stonehenge World Heritage Site (WHS) which include a bored tunnel of […]

via Joint statement on Highways England consultation on route options for A303 road improvement scheme — National Trust Places