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Stonehenge: A Landscape Through Time


David Jacques and Graeme Davis

The concept for this book materialised as a result of some brilliant research by University of Buckingham MA Archaeology students in 2014-15. Each examined a feature of the Stonehenge landscape from a different space and time perspective and produced work which contained a key focus on a neglected aspect of the multiple history of the area. Their dissertations have been edited into chapters and the broad scope of the collection covers people using, building and reshaping this landscape from the end of the Ice Age to the end of the Romano-British period. In doing so new detail about the richness and variety of ways generations of ordinary people understood the place is revealed.

The discovery of the internationally important Mesolithic site at Blick Mead by the University of Buckingham team, with specialist support from Durham and Reading Universities, the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project and the Natural History Museum, provides a rich data set for students interested in the Mesolithic in general and the establishment of the Stonehenge landscape in particular.

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5 An evaluation of the relationship between the distribution of tranchet axes and certain Mesolithic site types along the Salisbury Avon

5An evaluation of the relationship between the distribution of tranchet axes and certain Mesolithic site types along the Salisbury Avon




Finds of tranchet axes and other Mesolithic material in the Stonehenge landscape have tended to be regarded as anomalous or stray. When the find spots for the axes are examined in the context of the discovery of a complex, muliti-phase Mesolithic settlement at Blick Mead, they can be seen as having been deposited deliberately in order to mark the activity area of a home-base settlement. By cross referencing tranchet axe find spots with topographic, geological and environmental evidence it should be possible to locate as yet undiscovered Mesolithic sites.

The aim of this project is to examine Mesolithic finds in the Stonehenge landscape, particularly tranchet axes, as set out in the literature and at Blick Mead in order to gain a better understanding for their distribution. I also consider factors relating to the location of Mesolithic settlement sites and suggest where another could be found.

Until recently significant evidence of Mesolithic occupation of, and activity in, the Stonehenge landscape has been scant. The discovery and identification of three postholes, located at what came to be the old Stonehenge visitors’ car park (Vatcher and Vatcher 1973, p. 57–63 and Allen, 1994, p. 471–473), and dated to be in the range of the ninth to seventh millennium BC is often interpreted as anomalous (Parker Pearson, 2012, pp. 135–137) and (Richards, 1990, p. 263).

Despite the Stonehenge area being one of the most extensively surveyed archaeological landscapes...

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