Foot of Avebury Down Dig – Day 15 (Captain’s Log supplemental)

Although not every archaeologist or archaeology enthusiast has a love of flint, I think I may be hard pushed to find anyone who doesn’t appreciate this find recovered by Phoebe yesterday.


It is an astonishingly beautiful Early Bronze Age barbed and tanged arrowhead (Conygar Hill Type – and for those among you who know your flint, it’s a Type D according to the specialists on site).

I can appreciate a good bit of flint, but when I saw and held this yesterday I was completely stunned at the incredible skill that whoever made this must have had. Surely he or she would have been at the top of their game – the symmetry, size, shape and incredible edges of this artefact send shivers all over me. Well spotted, Phoebe!


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.’