Tag Archives: Mark Gillings

Foot of Avebury Down Dig – Day 1

We’re just coming to the end of Day 1 of our  first full- blown excavation in the Living with Monuments Project which is being directed by Prof. Josh Pollard (Southampton University), Dr Mark Gillings (Leicester University),  Prof. Alistair Pike (Southampton) and Dr Nick Snashall (National Trust) together with Dr. Ben Chan (Southampton), Dr. Ros Cleal (National Trust) and Dr Mike Allen (Allen Environmental Archaeology).  This year the team is based at a the foot of Avebury Down, in an area to the east of Avebury henge, where we will be for the next three weeks.


Opening up the trenches at Avebury Down ©National Trust/Briony Clifton

The site is in an area where Rev. H.G.O. Kendall and W.E.V. Young began to collect Neolithic flintwork in the 1920s, and where a fantastic, dense scatter of early and middle Neolithic flintwork (c.4000-2900BC) was identified. Though Kendall’s collection is housed in the Alexander Keiller Museum in Avebury the exact location of the scatter remained a mystery until 2006 when  map detective work by Jim Gunter identified its probable location and shortly afterwards on the ground investigations by Josh, Ros and Nick established its exact position.

Today we began excavating this known Neolithic site, starting with the de-turfing of a series of trenches, and already we are revealing some worked flint flakes and cores, so watch this space…


De-turfing with a view towards Avebury henge and the West Kennet Avenue  ©National Trust/Briony Clifton

Avebury Dig 2015 Day 10

After yesterday’s press frenzy it was straight back down to business on Day 10. The weather hadn’t read the script and as the day progressed we had increasingly heavy bursts of rain. But in Trench 4 now that we’re down into the archaeology proper the troops barely noticed.

The team get down to business again in Trench 4 as the storm clouds gather

Ignoring the gathering rain clouds the team focus on their work in Trench 4

Another fine scraper from Trench 4 showing signs of use

Scraper from Trench 4 showing signs of use

Ros, our resident pottery expert , was back on site and much to our relief confirmed that the rim we found on Day 8 was indeed Fengate Ware ( a form of a Middle Neolithic pottery style known as Peterborough Ware). And better still we found more pottery today, though truth be told  the crumb-like sherd I found today was pitiful in comparison to Day 8’s offering others had more luck.

We’re still getting large amounts of flint debitage (the waste from producing flint tools) in Trench4. We also found flint tools here and there.

We had several more scrapers and Mark came up trumps again with another lovely chisel arrowhead.


Avebury Dig Day Off: Friday 24 July 2015

And here's some we found earlier

And here’s some we took  earlier. If you’re wondering what picture two is it’s a small but (Ros would tell us) perfectly formed fragment of Neolithic pottery.

Fridays are our dig team’s well-earned day of rest. Normal service will be resumed on Saturday as soon as our diggers have finished polishing their trowels.