An exciting new project has now begun in earnest at Avebury. The National Trust has teamed up once again with the Universities of Southampton and Leicester and Allen Environmental Archaeology (Between the Monuments 2013-15), and with the Universities of Ghent and Cambridge, supporting them in Living with Monuments, a new collaborative research project.
Last week we kicked things off with two days of surface collection (field walking) under beautiful big skies and in the company of three deer. The finds were not coming thick and fast, but we were cheering ourselves up with the fact that an ‘archaeological void’ of sorts is actually very interesting and intriguing.
This is only the beginning of what promises to be a thrilling archaeological project taking place in this world famous site over the next few years, building upon the previous work of the Between the Monuments project in the hopes of learning more about this extraordinary landscape.
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.
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.
Today (finally ) brought sunshine and the team have made good headway clearing down towards the worm sorted horizon in Trench 6.
Getting down to business in Trench 6
In English (rather than archaeospeak) that’s the layer in, and just above which, we’ve found the vast majority of the middle Neolithic finds we’ve had from the site.
Doctoral student Emily Banfield excavating the pit in Trench 4
The most exciting development of the day was the discovery of what seems to be a middle Neolithic pit in Trench 4. So far it’s produced no less than 5 Chisel arrowheads (all of slightly different types) and a very fine scraper.
3 of the 5 chisel arrowheads and the scraper from the pit in Trench 4
There’s a long way to go to finish digging the pit. So check back in to the blog and see how things develop.