Middle Neolithic pits and a burial at West Amesbury, Wiltshire

David Roberts*, Alistair Barclay, Barry Bishop, Christopher Bronk-Ramsey, Greg Campbell, Matthew Canti, Judith Dobie, Elaine Dunbar, Julie Dunne, Richard P. Evershed, Alice Forward, Jonathan Last, Sophie Lamb, Neil Linford, Paul Linford, Bethan Linscott, Richard Madgwick, Peter Marshall, Simon Mays, Hayley McParlandAndrew Payne, Ruth Pelling, Alistair Pike, Kathryn Price, Patrick Quinn, Anita Radini, Paula Reimer, Michael Russell, Rachael Seager Smith, Sharon Soutar, Camilla Speller, John Vallender, Andrew Valdez-Tullett, Vivian Van Heekeren, Fay Worley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Excavations on the south-eastern slopes of King Barrow Ridge, 1.5 km east of Stonehenge, revealed five pits, a grave and other features of Middle Neolithic date. Analysis of the pit assemblages and the partial inhumation interred in the grave has provided insights into lifeways in this landscape in the late fourth millennium cal BC. Evidence suggests that the area was visited by a pastoralist, mobile community on a semi-regular basis for a significant period, in late autumn or winter. Selected remnants of craft-working and consumption were deposited in pits, before deliberate infilling. These depositions repeatedly memorialised activity on the hillside at a time of contemporary activity elsewhere on King Barrow Ridge and at the future site of Stonehenge. Middle Neolithic pits are present in significant numbers across King Barrow Ridge, and alongside pits in the Durrington area, form one of the densest concentrations of such activity in the region. Long distance mobility is suggested by the possible Irish origins of the inhumation, the first Middle Neolithic individual excavated in the environs of Stonehenge. Whilst of significance for understanding the Middle Neolithic in the WHS and the region, this research also hints at the roots of Late Neolithic monumentalisation of this landscape.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-213
Number of pages47
JournalArchaeological journal
Volume177
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful to the National Trust and Mr P Sawkill for permission to excavate at West Amesbury and for allowing facilities to support the site team. We are also grateful to the M.o.D for providing facilities for post-excavation and record digitisation close to site. Excavation and on-site post-excavation work was undertaken on this project for Historic England by Paul Braham, Rose Calis, Vicky Crosby, Paul Durdin, Mike Emra, Alice Forward, Martyn King, Nicola Hembrey, Jonathan Last, Inés Lòpez-Dòriga, Matthew Nicholas, Paddy O’Hara, Jonathan Parkhouse, Ruth Pelling, Becca Pritchard, Cat Rees, David Roberts, Andrew Valdez-Tullett, Kevin Wooldridge and Philip Wright. Phil McMahon, Melanie Pomeroy-Kellinger and Clare King monitored the work and together with Nick Snashall, NT archaeologist for the Avebury and Stonehenge WHS, provided helpful input throughout the project. All work on this project was undertaken as part of project HE7238 – Stonehenge Southern World Heritage Site Survey, funded by Historic England. The synthesis of Neolithic pits in Wiltshire discussed in this article as Roberts and Marshall () was undertaken by David Roberts during a secondment as Field Archaeologist in Residence at the McDonald Institute, University of Cambridge. This article was greatly improved thanks to comments from HE colleagues and others, but all views expressed and any errors contained therein remain the responsibility of the authors. The physical archive from the excavations is currently held at Fort Cumberland, Portsmouth, and the digital archive on HE servers. The physical archive will be deposited at Salisbury Museum in due course, and the digital archive with the ADS. Copies of the assessment report and this publication have been deposited with the Wiltshire HER.

Funding Information:
This work was funded by Historic England as part of project HE7238?Stonehenge Southern WHS Survey Project. We are grateful to the National Trust and Mr P Sawkill for permission to excavate at West Amesbury and for allowing facilities to support the site team. We are also grateful to the M.o.D for providing facilities for post-excavation and record digitisation close to site. Excavation and on-site post-excavation work was undertaken on this project for Historic England by Paul Braham, Rose Calis, Vicky Crosby, Paul Durdin, Mike Emra, Alice Forward, Martyn King, Nicola Hembrey, Jonathan Last, In?s L?pez-D?riga, Matthew Nicholas, Paddy O?Hara, Jonathan Parkhouse, Ruth Pelling, Becca Pritchard, Cat Rees, David Roberts, Andrew Valdez-Tullett, Kevin Wooldridge and Philip Wright. Phil McMahon, Melanie Pomeroy-Kellinger and Clare King monitored the work and together with Nick Snashall, NT archaeologist for the Avebury and Stonehenge WHS, provided helpful input throughout the project. All work on this project was undertaken as part of project HE7238?Stonehenge Southern World Heritage Site Survey, funded by Historic England. The synthesis of Neolithic pits in Wiltshire discussed in this article as Roberts and Marshall (2020) was undertaken by David Roberts during a secondment as Field Archaeologist in Residence at the McDonald Institute, University of Cambridge. This article was greatly improved thanks to comments from HE colleagues and others, but all views expressed and any errors contained therein remain the responsibility of the authors. The physical archive from the excavations is currently held at Fort Cumberland, Portsmouth, and the digital archive on HE servers. The physical archive will be deposited at Salisbury Museum in due course, and the digital archive with the ADS. Copies of the assessment report and this publication have been deposited with the Wiltshire HER.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

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