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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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Chapter 1: Introduction: Landscape History and Project Methodology (David Jacques)


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Introduction: Landscape History and Project Methodology

– David Jacques

The first time I ever visited Vespasian’s Camp as it was to me; an Amesbury girl born and bred, it took my breath away. How, I wondered, could I have lived here for almost forty years and never clapped eyes on this little miracle? My first visit was just about trying to make life a little easier for David and his team. My employer’s Corporate Responsibility Committee asked me to do what I could to help and the sum of my usefulness that first weekend was a plentiful supply of hot tea and coffee, biscuits, a 4 × 4 and bringing along willing hands.

Over the last eight years I’ve spent countless hours come rain or shine, kneeling, leaning and bent double over pits and sieves. Away from the site I’ve had my fair share of curries and a few wines with everyone too. I have come to love the place, the people, the contagious enthusiasm the place injects in all who visit, even the odd bit of chest-puffing rivalry and in-house politics. It’s reunited me with the people of my past metaphorically and quite literally in some cases.

— JULIE BROMILOW, third-generation Amesbury resident

Evidence for Mesolithic activity in the Stonehenge landscape is both rare and neglected and limited largely to the publication of discrete assemblages of material found as by-products of other projects (Leivers and...

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