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

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

Series:

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 3: Environmental Setting: Geoarchaeological Investigations and Environmental Analysis (D. S. Young / C. P. Green / N. P. Branch / S. A. Elias / C. Bateson / C. R. Batchelor)

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CHAPTER 3

Environmental Setting: Geoarchaeological Investigations and Environmental Analysis

– D. S. Young, C. P. Green, N. P. Branch, S. A. Elias, C. Bateson and C. R. Batchelor

Being part of the Blick Mead Project has been life-changing for me. I am thirty years old, and now a classical studies postgraduate student and local museum volunteer. My parents are also involved and we thoroughly enjoy it. My work on the sieves in the company of environmental and other specialists, as well as fellow volunteers, has taught me many new skills and I have learned to view things from a different, more confident perspective.

— EMILY LEVICK, volunteer, Bletchley

Geoarchaeological context

The site of archaeological investigation (see Figure 3.1) is a small area on the alluvial floodplain of the Salisbury Avon where the river makes a broad meander loop to the west around the town of Amesbury. The site is on the right bank (north side) of the river on the northern limb of the meander loop, about 150 m from the present main channel of the Avon and close to the boundary between the alluvial floodplain and the valley-side. This boundary is marked by a conspicuous break of slope immediately to the north-west of the site of archaeological investigation.

Mapping by the British Geological Survey (BGS) (1:63,360 Sheet 298 Salisbury; 2013) shows the site close to the boundary separating...

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