Tag Archives: West Kennet Avenue

Avebury on Britain’s Ancient Tracks

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If you missed it there’s still time to catch this week’s episode of Britain’s Ancient Tracks featuring Tony Robinson exploring Avebury and the West Kennet Avenue with me (available until 4 December).

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/britains-ancient-tracks-with-tony-robinson/on-demand/64588-002

 

 

Avebury Dig 2015 Day 18

Well it’s finally here. Our last day on site. Trenches backfilled and turf replaced. I always have mixed feelings at the end of any dig. But this one doubly so.

Cheerio Trench 4 and thanks for the memories...

Cheerio Trench 4 and thanks for the memories…

Its been a real privilege to be able to dig here over the last three years. I first visited Avebury as a teenager and my abiding memory is of standing on the West Kennet Avenue, watching the great stones reluctantly revealing themselves out of the autumn mists.

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I’d one day be digging on that very spot. So there’s more than a touch of sadness that it’s all over.

But there’s also a real sense of achievement. This year’s team were simply fantastic.

A more enthusiastic, dedicated, fun bunch to dig with would be difficult to imagine (thanks guys). And we’ve had the most amazing support from our Avebury National Trust team (staff and volunteers). From our meet and greeters and dig tour guides, to our dig support team, Rangers, Facilities and Visitor Services teams all of whom have made it possible.

We’ve answered many of the questions we’d posed ourselves at the start. But there have been huge surprises along the way (not least our mega-posthole).

One last look: Trench 6 with its mega- posthole and giant tree-throw-hole

One last look: Trench 6 with its mega- posthole (far left) and giant tree-throw-hole

There are months of post-excavation analysis to come. Our specialists will get to work on our soil and phosphate samples, the pottery, flintwork and of course that beauty of a polished stone macehead. And then we’ll draw all of this together to try to make sense of what was happening here.  So really this is only the beginning.

 

Avebury Dig 2015 Day 17

Well, here it is, our final day of digging on the West Kennet Avenue Occupation Site. I can barely believe its less than three weeks since we started digging.

There’s an air of focused freneticism (the spell check tells me that’s not a word but it seems to describe what’s happening) on site. In Trench 6 the tree-throw hole that is right next to our giant posthole has turned out to be simply enormous; so big in fact that we have more than a sneaking suspicion that the post may have been erected to in some way commemorate (or  replace) the giant of a tree that had once stood there.

Dr Pollard (Josh) and Professor Pike (Alistair) ponder on the subject of the enormous tree throw hole. The part  Shannon is standing in is about a third of the whole thing,

Dr Pollard (Josh) and Professor Pike (Alistair) ponder on the subject of the enormous tree throw hole. The part Shannon is standing in is about a third of the whole thing,

We were joined by Prof. Mike Parker Pearson who returned to give us a hand with his favourite pursuit of seeking out stakeholes in the bedrock of Trench 6. When we join the dots and analyse the finds and samples we’ve taken this may help us to work out whether a structure once stood here.

The team have been cleaning down (for the last time) and recording in both trenches.Without recording archaeology is (literally) just a pile of (very) old rubbish!

Trench 4 was a hive of recording activity. Planning, surveying in levels and ensuring we have all the necessary points on our site grid (courtesy of  Digital GPS).

Trench 4 was a hive of recording activity. Planning (Mark in the red t-shirt), surveying in levels and ensuring we have all the necessary points on our site grid (courtesy of Digital GPS).

And to complete our recording we had Adam Stanford of Aerial Cam who it would be an understatement to say is a bit of a whizz with airborne archaeo-photography.

Adam Stanford of Aerial Cam setting up to take our aerial shots of the trenches

Adam Stanford of Aerial Cam (head in the back of the Land Rover) setting up to take our aerial shots of the trenches. While George and Josh enjoy their break from the mega-posthole.

And that was that. Or nearly. Tomorrow we backfill the trenches.