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Blick Mead: Exploring the 'first place' in the Stonehenge landscape

Archaeological excavations at Blick Mead, Amesbury, Wiltshire 2005–2016


David Jacques, Tom Phillips and Tom Lyons

Edited By David Jacques

The Stonehenge landscape is one of the most famous prehistoric places in the world, but much about its origins remains a mystery and little attention has been paid to what preceded, and thus may have influenced, its later ritual character. Now, the discovery of a uniquely long-lived Mesolithic occupation site at Blick Mead, just 2km from Stonehenge, with a detailed radio carbon date sequence ranging from the 8th to the late 5th millennium BC, is set to transform this situation.  

This book charts the story of the Blick Mead excavations, from the project’s local community-based origins to a multi-university research project using the latest cutting-edge technology to address important new questions about the origins of the Stonehenge landscape. Led by the University of Buckingham, the project continues to retain the community of Amesbury at its heart. The investigations are ongoing but due to the immense interest in, and significance of the site, this publication seeks to present the details of and thoughts on the findings to date.

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Appendix B: Ecofacts


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Appendix B1: Bulk samples from Trench 19

– Simon A. Parfitt

In addition to the primary aim of recovering small vertebrate remains, sorting the residues from the wet-sieving programme also provides information on the coarser components within the ‘Mesolithic Horizon’ (context [92]) in Trench 19.

Grading the residues allows the size distribution of the coarser particles to be quantified (Table B4). These are fairly evenly distributed across the 3.35, 2 and 1 mm size fractions, contributing an average of 30.8%, 19.3% and 26.8.1% to the residue retained by the respective size sizes. Larger clasts (>8 mm) typically make a smaller contribution, ranging from 4.5% to 15.5% (mean 9.3%) of the total residue weight.

The principal contents of each sample are listed in (Table B5). A representative sample of each category was picked, but in most cases it would have been too time-consuming to collect all of the debitage and burnt flint. Material of anthropic origin is particularly common, most notably struck flint. The struck flint is mostly debitage, but cores, bladelets and microliths were also found. Flint nodules, many of which are fire-cracked and burnt, account for the bulk of the residue. Burnt organic remains are represented by small pieces of wood charcoal and occasional charred seeds and hazelnut shells. The effects of burning are also apparent in the large mammal remains. Some of the bones and teeth have been heated to...

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