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

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

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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 5: Aurochs Hunters: The Large Animal Bones from Blick Mead (Bryony Rogers / Kurt Gron / Janet Montgomery / Darren R. Gröcke / Peter Rowley-Conwy)

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CHAPTER 5

Aurochs Hunters: The Large Animal Bones from Blick Mead

– Bryony Rogers, Kurt Gron, Janet Montgomery, Darren R. Gröcke and Peter Rowley-Conwy, with a contribution by Sophy Charlton

My involvement in the Blick Mead Project began in 2011 while I was still a sixth form college student. The chance to be able to access first-hand such significant archaeology at a young age changed what I wanted to do with my life. I have now studied a degree in archaeology, got a First, worked for a commercial unit and have just completed my MSc in Zooarchaeology at York. The archaeology and the people at Blick Mead have been central to furthering my love for the subject. I was given responsibility from early on and owe the project a great deal.

— JOSHUA WHITE, volunteer, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk

The site of Blick Mead has attracted an unusual degree of interest. In addition to its intrinsic importance as a Mesolithic site, its location around 2 km east of Stonehenge and its temporal overlap with the massive Mesolithic posts in the former Stonehenge carpark mean that it is the earliest settlement site in the region of the monument (e.g. Parker-Pearson et al. 2015). The site has provided an animal bone sample of modest size but great importance. Faunal remains reveal much about the socio-economic basis and cultural practices of their time. Very few Mesolithic faunal assemblages are known from Britain,...

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