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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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Acknowledgements

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The amount of collaboration, forward planning, charm, mental arithmetic, creativity, flexibility and iron will involved in keeping the Blick Mead Project running since 2005 has only been possible because it has been greatly supported by a wide range of kind and able people. We are extremely grateful that the landowners of Amesbury Abbey, the Cornelius-Reid family, in particular David and Naomi Cornelius-Reid, continue to enable us to work at Blick Mead and support us so wholeheartedly. Similarly, we wish to warmly thank the landowners of Vespasian’s Camp, Sir Edward and Lady Antrobus for their keen interest in the project and for so generously allowing us access to the Camp since 2005. We also wish to extend our thanks to the many Amesbury residents and volunteers from other places who, along with our excellent university students, have worked so hard before, during and after the excavations. Between 2009 and 2012, our work was only possible with the logistical support provided by Amesbury Town Council, Wiltshire Unitary Authority, QinetiQ (Boscombe Down), particular volunteers and English Heritage. It is difficult to express in words the depth of our gratitude to these people and institutions. We are thrilled that the University of Buckingham is providing the resources to take our work to a new level.

Cllr Fred Westmoreland’s daily commitment to the project ensured that our funding continued over the critical 2009–2012 period and beyond through his establishment of the Amesbury Archaeology Fund. Logistical help came from local employer...

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