Tag Archives: Peterborough Ware

Foot of Avebury Down Dig – Day 6

Trench 1 Features

The darker areas are the tops of features now visible in Trench 1 © National Trust / Nicola Snashall

We’re back on site after the team’s well-earned day-off and the weather gods have been shining on us today. We’ve finished cleaning Trench 1 and the features are beginning to show up nicely. 

Over in Trench 2 we’re still finding flint aplenty but now we’re also getting a healthy sprinkling of Middle Neolithic Peterborough Ware. This is a style of pottery that was in use in the centuries just before and during the earliest phases of construction of Avebury henge and stone circles. The first piece of the day was a lovely sherd with whipped cord decoration found by Shannon and Georgia.

Georgia & Shannon P Ware

Georgia and Shannon displaying their whipped cord decorated Peterborough Ware © National Trust / Nicola Snashall

And just an hour or so later more was spotted – this time including one sherd with a fingernail impression – a common form of decoration during this period.

Fingernail imp Pet Ware

More Peterborough Ware from Trench 2. The sherd at the bottom has a beautifully clear fingernail impression © National Trust / Nicola Snashall



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 2015 Day 8

Well what a day. Yesterday our team got drenched, retreated to wash finds at basecamp and then a brave and hearty crew of volunteers sallied forth into the trenches for a little late afternoon topsoil removal.

They worked through some pretty atrocious conditions. But boy have they had their rewards today. Flints scrapers, chisel arrowheads and nicely worked flint saws have been popping up with astonishing regularity.

There’s so much waste material from producing flint tools that it gets a bit repetitive after a while ( I never thought I’d say that…). Although one curious thing is that there are remarkably few flint cores, except for discoidal cores which are probably used for producing the chisel arrowheads.

But we’ve had two star finds today. The warm up act is one that will please Ros when she sees it. This afternoon we found the rim of what we’re pretty certain is a piece of Middle Neolithic Fengate Ware pottery (we’ll know for sure when Ros has passed her eagle eye over it). Those of you with a keen memory will recall we had some Fengate Ware rim from Trench 1 last year.

Fengate Ware Rim from Trench 4

Fengate Ware Rim from Trench 4

Now the Fengate Ware is very nice and all, but the star find par excellence – not just of today but of our entire dig so far – beats it hands down. We were all trowelling away happily when Josh suddenly whooped, then made a wailing sound, followed  by a good thirty seconds of hysterial laughter – which isn’t normal even for Josh.

There was a long pause, before he announced he’d found a large part of a polished stone macehead. Josh, Mark and I are well on our way to our century if you tot up our digging experience and have spent a good part of our lives digging on Neolithic sites – but none of us have ever found one of these beauties before.

Our beautiful polished stone macehead found by Josh in Trench 4

Our beautiful polished stone macehead found by Josh in Trench 4

This one is incredibly highly polished. It would originally have been mounted on a wooden shaft and we might best think of it as a sort of sceptre. In all probability it  performed a ceremonial role. Its shaft-hole was created by working from one end, using a bow drill and an abrasive material (most likely sand) and again the polish on the interior of the shaft hole is exceptionally high.

The shaft-hole through our macehead. It was worked from the top down using a bow-drill and sand

The shaft-hole through our macehead. It was worked from the top down using a bow-drill and sand

These mace-heads are incredibly rare, and ours is a very fine example. So if we can top that it would  be astonishishing. Roll on day 9!