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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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Preface (David Jacques / Tom Phillips / Tom Lyons)


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The Stonehenge World Heritage Site is one of the most famous prehistoric places in the world, but much about its origins and the choice of its location remains a mystery. Although recent archaeological investigations have revealed stunning new details of Neolithic and Early Bronze Age monuments in its vicinity (Bowden et al. 2015, 136), little attention has been paid to establishing the area’s ‘back story’. The Neolithic settlement of Durrington Walls has been identified as the place where the community lived who conducted the main stage of construction at Stonehenge (Stage 2: when the sarsen circle and trilithons were erected. Craig et al. 2015, 1098), but until recently no residential and activity sites pre-dating the Late Neolithic period had been identified within the area of the World Heritage Site. This was set to change with Blick Mead.

This book attempts to set out how, why and what Blick Mead has changed. The ways the site was discovered, the challenges it has presented and how some of them were overcome are detailed in Chapter 1 (‘Landscape History and Project Methodology’); Chapter 2 (‘Fieldwork Results: The Archaeological Narrative’) presents the results of the fieldwork; analysis of the site’s setting and its vegetational history is provided in Chapter 3 (‘Environmental Setting’); Chapter 4 presents the evidence for flintworking; Chapters 5 and 6, the evidence for large and small fauna; and the results and the questions they have provoked are pondered in Chapter 7. A series...

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