Foot of Avebury Down Dig – Day 15

Today a great, efficient team finished cleaning back Trench 3 and the two pits in Trench 9 were half-sectioned by Jake and Marian.

Both of these pits are shallow and truncated. Jake’s pit, the smaller of the two, has had some lovely finds, including three scrapers (the two best of which are pictured below), a burnt fragment of bone and, unsurprisingly, some flint flakes.

The section drawings of the pits were also completed today, ready for full excavation tomorrow. There has not yet been any pottery from either pit, therefore it is difficult to date them any more precisely than either Neolithic or Early Bronze Age at the moment, but we don’t yet know what the other halves may hold…

Marian’s pit was larger but did not contain any tools. Instead there was burnt animal bone, burnt flint and burnt sarsen. There was also burnt turf, which shows up nicely in the section as an orange strip.


Marian enjoying the excavation of the larger pit containing burnt material ©National Trust/Briony Clifton


The pit containing the burnt material and turf – you can see the turf as a slightly orange colour on the north (left) side of the section ©National Trust/Briony Clifton


Tomorrow we will be finishing off the features and getting everything drawn ready for backfilling on Friday… (is it that time already!?)


Foot of Avebury Down Dig – Day 14

As we continue our endeavours in Trench 3, today’s guest blog has been written by Tia, a Masters student at the University of Southampton:

‘As a Greek student at the University of Southampton, Avebury excavation is my first experience at British archaeology. It is interesting how the two countries, Greece and the UK, could be so different in the way they excavate. The most significant difference which I could distinguish is that in Britain, archaeologists dig, hold the trowel and conduct the research. In contrast, in Greece the main role of the archaeologist is to supervise workers, keep dig diaries and record the artefacts. It is obvious that in the UK it is a practical job and an archaeologist has a more active role.


‘Back to Greece, our main findings were fragments of pottery. We had kilograms of various kinds of sherds. So if we found a flint it would have been an extremely important finding. On the other hand, in Avebury the main archaeological artefact is flint and if there is a piece of pot it is extraordinary.

‘Finally, I would like to declare that my experience to Avebury was amazing and I learnt a lot of new things which I will take back to Greece with me.’

Foot of Avebury Down Dig – Day 13

When Trench 3 was first deturfed, it was a quarter of the size of Trenches 1 and 2. However, an extension has been decided upon to make it equal in size because there seems to be a comparable concentration of worked flint in all three trenches and a particular increase of worked flint towards the eastern edge of Trench 3; therefore, today saw many of us troweling back our new squares.


Happily, the extension has paid off. We’re still getting large concentrations of worked flint and we can also add a few tools to our small list – including another Early Bronze Age barbed and tanged arrowhead:


There was also a lovely scraper, the type of which we have not yet had on site. It has been retouched all the way round its edges and I am reliably told by Josh that it is from the earlier part of the Late Neolithic:

Another artefact we have not yet had on site is a sarsen flake. Two were recovered from Trench 3 today and are pieces of sarsen that have been struck from a bigger piece. One of them (pictured below) has been struck from a bigger piece, but has also had a piece struck from it and has therefore been worked on both sides.

Elsewhere on site a small team slightly extended and then cleaned back Trench 9 and it’s looking great!


We can see a few features in Trench 9, including the two probable pit features mentioned in yesterday’s blog post at the bottom of the photo – the larger one now in full view since the trench extension ©National Trust/Briony Clifton