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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 6: Smaller Vertebrates from the Mesolithic Site of Blick Mead (Simon A. Parfitt)


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Smaller Vertebrates from the Mesolithic Site of Blick Mead

– Simon A. Parfitt

I am a person who enjoys a new challenge; at the time of starting on the Blick Mead dig I was a serving forty-eight-year-old police officer, with a desire to broaden my horizons and try something new. I had no experience of archaeology, no qualifications and no knowledge of history pre-medieval times. My wife was invited to take part in the dig and bullied me into going with her as I did not fancy spending my rare weekends off in the cold and rain.

I fell in love with it straightaway, being lucky enough to find Mesolithic tools on my first dig, not that I recognised them, I just knew they were something. I quickly realised I had a lot to offer the dig as police investigations have many skills that are transferable: patience, being methodical, awareness of cross-contamination of finds, recording of finds both in situ and for later analysis and storage, and finally a knack for spotting something unusual.

Over the years, with help from our team of experts, I have added knowledge of finds and excavation techniques to the list, and have recently been given responsibility for recording the finds with my wife. Now I have some twelve years of experience, I am asked to take on more challenging parts of the excavations which makes me feel really valued and...

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