Category Archives: Avenue Dig

Avebury Dig 2015 Day 15

Only two more days to go!

Timber post hole and with Josh for scale.

Timber post hole and with Josh for scale.

The posthole mentioned in the blog yesterday has turned out to be quite exciting as it would have held a very large timber post, with good-sized sarsen stones packing around it – see the picture with Josh and yellow bucket for scale.  The post of course is not there, just soil where it would have been but the sarsens and packed chalk around it are testament to it’s existence.  No firm date yet but the general gut instincts of those digging it are putting it at Late Neolithic.  Finds from the post hole are few, with a couple of scrapers and a small sherd of Neolithic pottery so far.  It’s still not fully excavated with quite a depth to go.  Was this post on it’s own, or was it part of a larger structure or timber row?

Chisel arrowhead, scraper, scraper.

Chisel arrowhead, scraper, scraper.

Despite getting to the last stages of the excavation we are still getting a steady flow of finds – lots of debitage (waste flint flakes) and a few arrowheads and scrapers.

The archaeologists are working hard now to get down through the last remaining deposits so that this site can give us as many secrets as possible before the excavation ends.  The spoil heap is getting higher and higher, demanding quite a substantial run up to get the spoil to the top.   Watch this space to see what tomorrow brings.

Group picture Day 15

Avebury Dig 2015 Day 14

Avebury dig day 14 barrow ©National Trust Abby George

With only three more days digging to go before this excavation comes to an end there is still much work to do.  The excavations in Trench 4 have reached the natural periglacial deposits and the archaeologists are now cleaning back the surface to look for cut features such as pits and post holes.

Avebury Dig Day 14 post hole ©National Trust Abby GeorgeIn Trench 6 there is a large posthole which is packed with chalk and sarsen stones that may have  contained a good-sized timber post and they are still digging through the remaining archaeological deposits over the rest of the trench.

Lots of visitors to the site again, making the most of the chance to see the excavation whilst taking a walk in this wonderful landscape. If you haven’t been down to have a look yet, you need to do so before Thursday as they will start filling in the trenches again on Friday.

There is a hive of activity in Trench 6, but Trench 4 looks a little empty by comparison.

There is a hive of activity in Trench 6, but Trench 4 looks a little empty by comparison.

Avebury Dig 2015 Day 13

Today the sun shone and we made a truly remarkable find. Not on this occasion deposited 5,000 years ago but instead deposited this very morning.

Let me explain. Every morning Alistair (Professor Alistair Pike) – sometime chef of this parish and archaeo super-scientist – sallies forth to a local supermarket to pick up provisions to feed our ravening hoards.

From  Canada with love: the postcard from our erstwhile digger

From Canada with love: the postcard from our erstwhile digger

This morning was no different save for the fact that when he arrived at the supermarket’s bakery he received not only bread rolls but post:  addressed to, ‘ The Archaeologists who buy 36 bread rolls everyday,’ It would seem our fame, while (unlike our digging team) not necessarily global, has spread as far as Marlborough Tesco.

In the trenches we’re now down beneath the worm sorted horizon (or ‘the crunch’ as its known on site) in Trench 4 and at least a couple of possible features have appeared. We positioned the southern end of the Trench to intersect with the northern corner of Alexander Keiller’s 1934 trench, which allows us to tie our excavation into his work. And now it’s cleaned up we can see once again what a thorough job he made of it.

The archaeology of archaeology: Alexander Keiller's 1934 trench (far left side of our Trench 4)

The archaeology of archaeology: Alexander Keiller’s 1934 trench (far left side of our Trench 4)

This afternoon we also had the pleasure of the company of members of the Prehistoric Society.

Josh explaining the finer details of Trench 6 to our visitors from the Prehistoric Society

Josh explaining the finer details of Trench 6 to our visitors from the Prehistoric Society

If you haven’t encountered them before and you have a yearning for things pre-Roman (and lets face it what right-minded individual doesn’t) the Prehistoric Society is a must. They have a packed year-round programme of events, lectures and visits to sites and excavations,  a newsletter and the society’s journal (now available on-line). Go take a look at their website and see what you’ve been missing.