2017 Fieldwork

In 2017 the project excavated an extensive lithic scatter on the Foot of Avebury Down originally identified in the 1920s by H.G.O. Kendall and W.E.V. Young. The fieldwork represented the first systematic investigation of the dense scatter of worked flint that occupies a key location overlooking Avebury to the west. The scatter was investigated through the excavation of nine trenches, comprising at total area of 421m2. The excavation retrieved a large assemblage of later prehistoric worked flint, alongside smaller assemblages of prehistoric ground stone, pottery and animal bone. The worked flint and pottery is dated to the Neolithic and Bronze Age with a small amount of probably late Mesolithic flintwork also being identified. Beneath the ploughsoil a series of pits, tree throws, stake-holes and post-holes were identified. At least one of the pits dates to the middle Neolithic, whilst a substantial post-hole, likely part of a larger structure, is of Late Neolithic date.

The density and scale of the Foot of Avebury Down scatter is striking. This was a locale that witnessed repeated visitation over at least two millennia. Some of the activity was related to the working of flint nodules, which here outcrop from the chalk slightly upslope from the investigated area. Settlement also occurred, as witnessed by the finds of animal bone, pottery and ephemeral structural traces. Geophysical survey hints at the presence of numerous other pits in addition to those revealed through the excavation. Together, the evidence points to this being a major Neolithic and early Bronze Age site occupying a commanding location in the Avebury landscape.

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