Category Archives: Avebury

2018 Living with Monuments Project Update

We had the most glorious weather excavating at Avebury in the summer with the Living with Monuments Project team (ignoring one day of tremendous downpours). Site Directors, Profs. Josh Pollard (University of Southampton) and Mark Gillings (University of Leicester) led the three-week dig in July/August to the west of Avebury Henge.  

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Looking south to Silbury Hill (just to the left tucked away behind the trees) ©National Trust/Nicola Snashall

Why dig there?

Over the last decade there have been excavations in and around Avebury which have helped us better understand the landscape in certain areas. Last year we excavated a large flint scatter a mile east of Avebury Henge as part of the Foot of Avebury Down dig (Interim Report). There have also been excavations along the West Kennet Avenue in recent years where the team gathered data of a Neolithic occupation site there (click here for more).

The floodplain of the Winterbourne to the west of Avebury Henge is less well understood. Previous work here uncovered medieval pits and ditches, parts of the post-medieval water meadow system, Neolithic and Mesolithic worked flint, and Neolithic pottery.

Here was an opportunity to better understand the nature of the Mesolithic to Early Bronze Age periods in this area and their extent between the Winterbourne and the henge monument.

 

Look out for tomorrow’s update where I’ll be talking about the Prehistoric archaeology from the dig…..

 

Foot of Avebury Down Dig – Day 17

To add to the time pressures which seem to come with every excavation, yesterday after I had left site a post hole (previously thought to be a possible pit, but you never know until you excavate!) was discovered, complete with antler tine which can give us another good radiocarbon date.

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The post hole, dark in the section where the original post was (left) and light with post packing to hold the post in place (right). Photo taken with the helpful shadows of three archaeologists ©National Trust/Briony Clifton

 

The site has now been backfilled and the turfs have been replaced after a great effort all round. It has been a fascinating few weeks which has exceeded all expectations, with intriguing pit discoveries, the last minute post hole, some lovely scrapers and arrowheads, auroch bones and loads of flint flakes spread all over the place with densities not seeming to dwindle.

The team has worked so hard and it has been really great meeting so many interested students from the Universities of Southampton and Leicester. Well done to Josh, Mark, Alistair and Ben for keeping the team strong, happy, fed and watered. Time for a well deserved break!