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.
6 An assessment of the evidence for large herbivore movement and hunting strategies within the Stonehenge landscape during the Mesolithic
With regard to the Stonehenge landscape, the activities for both the Mesolithic population and the animals that lived within the area have not been well understood. To place the animals that lived within the Stonehenge landscape back into the record assists with establishing what economic resources were available within the area. The common idea that there was little Mesolithic activity within the Stonehenge landscape is having to be rewritten after the discovery of a Mesolithic base camp at Blick Mead. Hunter-gathers from the site potentially set up hunting camps on the Stonehenge plain and at the point of the River Avon that was to become Blue Stonehenge. They could also have been part of a network of hunter-gatherer communities who were connected by the River Avon.
The evidence for the view that there is large herbivore movement across the Stonehenge landscape lies in the quantity of faunal remains discovered at Blick Mead. My investigation, carried out by undertaking a recognised field-walking methodology of the wider Salisbury Plain area, shows that approximately a 26-kilometre long section of the plain running north-south from Salisbury to Upavon is potentially impassable to large herbivore herd movement in a west to east direction due to the landscapes steep gradients, with the exception of a small half-mile gap that lies between Woodhenge and the current A303, this section being in-line with the Mesolithic posts and the later Greater Stonehenge Cursus. This potential large herbivore access continues to...
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