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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 2: Fieldwork Results: The Archaeological Narrative


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Fieldwork Results: The Archaeological Narrative

A key memory, from 2010, is of taking a mattock to what was just about to become Trench 19. The layers of chalk backfill from the A303 and the horseshoes that soon appeared did not prepare us for the extraordinary finds that would emerge over the following years. The site at Blick Mead subsequently became, for us, one of pilgrimage, shared with fellow-travellers from all backgrounds and occupations. We had, together, been drawn to an exceptional and unspoiled place to be inspired by the enthusiasm, vision and expertise of the project team. All of them wore their knowledge lightly and encouraged us to have a role to play.

— KERRY AND JOHN HOLMES, volunteers, Reydon, Suffolk

This chapter presents the results of excavation in those trenches which produced significant prehistoric remains. In only four trenches of the 24 excavated, were in-situ prehistoric (Mesolithic) horizons reached. This volume focuses on the excavations in three of those trenches, which lay within the lower lying, spring, or wet area of Blick Mead (Trenches 19, 22 and 23). The archaeological results of excavations in a fourth trench (in Trench 24), at a higher level on a natural terrace overlooking the spring, have been included here. This comprises the most recent three seasons’ excavations, analyses into the artefactual and ecofactual assemblages from Trench 24 are ongoing and it is important to note that any interpretations offered here are...

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