Archaeology

SQUARING THE CIRCLE: Archaeological detectives discover ‘secret square’ beneath world-famous Avebury stone circle

FragmeNTs

New archaeological surveys reveal unique square megalithic monument at the heart of the World Heritage Site.

Archaeologists have found a striking and apparently unique square monument beneath the world famous Avebury stone circle in Wiltshire.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site, cared for by the National Trust, was built over several hundred years in the 3rd millennium BC and contains three stone circles – including the largest stone circle in Europe which is 330m across and originally comprised around 100 huge standing stones.

A research team led by the University of Leicester and University of Southampton used a combination of soil resistance survey and Ground-Penetrating Radar to investigate the stone circle.

Their work was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and supported by the National Trust, as well as archaeologists from the University of Cambridge and Allen Environmental Archaeology.

Dr Mark Gillings, Academic Director and Reader in…

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Test Pitting in the Avebury Landscape

News from Avebury – FragmeNTs
Test Pitting in the Avebury Landscape

FragmeNTs

Last week, the Living with Monuments team started test pitting* in Avebury, in fields to the north west and the south west of Avebury Henge, in order to gather information about what the landscape might have looked like in the past and how it has been transformed over the millennia.

_DSC8369v2 Archaeologists from the National Trust and the University of Leicester test pitting in the shadow of Silbury Hill ©Mike Robinson

Before the work began, it was assumed that the test pits would essentially show the same thing; however, what they showed instead was how diverse and different the landscape was in the past.

_DSC8427 Archaeologist, Mike, from the University of Southampton recording one of the southern test pits ©Mike Robinson 

Previous understanding of past landscapes in Avebury was based upon John Evans’ work in the 1980s, which has been taken as the general model for the area, but we are now realising that it’s much…

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Unique First World War Battlefield Found Beneath Wiltshire (from Wessex Archaeology) 25 April 2017

Archaeologists working in Wiltshire have identified a unique network of First World War tunnels under Salisbury Plain. The tunnels are part of a First World War battlefield used to train men to fight in and under the trenches of France and Belgium. The soldiers have left the mine galleries deep in the Wiltshire chalk but they have also left their names – over a hundred inscriptions written by soldiers training on Salisbury Plain between 1915 and 1918. The trenches and the tunnels beneath them have been found during archaeological work in advance of new Army housing at Larkhill on Salisbury Plain. Archaeologists have been working alongside specialist engineers and tunnel specialists to investigate the underground battlefield.

First World War grafitti on a chalk block revealed in an amazing 3D viewer; helping to tell the story of  Corporal Lawrence Carthage Weathers, VC

chalk block graffiti_0

The Larkhill car burial

Update: 12 October 2017 – MG mystery solved http://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/12/man-solves-mystery-of-1930s-sports-car-buried-on-salisbury-plain

Mike Pitts – Digging Deeper – thinking about archaeology

Mike Pitts – Digging Deeper

_MP26354.jpgThere’s a nice piece in the Guardian by Maev Kennedy about the first world war training trenches found by archaeologists at Larkhill. The cultural significance of historic military remains should not be underestimated. They are numerous and varied, and have enormous power to engage people in different ways with events we should never lose touch with.

Untitled-1.jpgWhen I visited the site last year, apart from the neolithic enclosure (of great interest in the context of Stonehenge of course) I was struck by a sports car that seemed to have been entombed whole in the 1930s. It was a sunny, frosty day, and you could make out “Pirelli” on the tyres. Long ago Forbes Taylor filmed a black hearse-like Rolls driving into a grave, watched by black-veiled young women in short black skirts, for a TV programme that featured the Sutton Hoo ship burial. No ritual at Larkhill: Si Cleggett tells…

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Avebury Dig 2014 – Day 11

FragmeNTs

Onto every dig a little rain must fall… But unfortunately today the team would have needed webbed feet to be able to continue digging. Though if truth be told as much as we archaeologists like to think of ourselves as caring types  it’s not the well-being of our diggers that normally stops us working on a site when rain reaches biblical proportions, it’s the well-being of the site. Excavation relies upon the careful observation, recording and removal of different layers and deposits of soil. So when more of that material is being removed on your boots than with your trowels the digging has to stop. And so it came to pass that on Avebury Dig 2014 – Day  11 we beat a tactical retreat.

Our very own barrow cemetery, as rain stopped play for the day Our eagle-eyed Dig Photographer in Residence Mike Robinson spotted a new barrow cemetery, as rain stopped play

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Megalith 2014

FragmeNTs

The latest edition of Megalith the newsletter of the Stonehenge and Avebury WHS is hot off the press and available for download now. It’s packed with all of the latest news and updates about what’s happening across the World Heritage Site. From volunteering to all of the latest on this year’s Between the Monuments dig at Avebury you’ll found it all in the pages of Megalith so why not take a look for yourself and find out what it takes to look after a World Heritage Site.

Megalith 2014 out now Megalith 2014 out now

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