Friday, 7 August 2015

Anybody home? Avebury archaeologists hope to discover a Neolithic house

A group of archaeologists have begun to dig at a site in Wiltshire in hopes of finding out more about the creators of the Avebury circle of great standing stones and its neighbouring Stonehenge.

“Avebury’s prehistoric monuments are justly world famous but one of the questions I’m most often asked is where the people who built and used them  lived,” says Dr Nick Snashall, spokesman and National Trust archaeologist for Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site.

The site was first found by Alexander Keiller 80 years ago and a team of National Trust, Allen Environmental Archaeology, and Southampton and Leicester University Archaeologists have spent three years researching his journals and drawings, and using geophysical survey techniques to locate the exact spot that he found.

What they discovered when they began their three-week dig did not disappoint. Arrowheads, clusters of scrapers for hide and plant materials, flint swords and pottery were all found when the turf was stripped back. Dr Snashall stated that so far the finds have been unearthed in clusters of three or four at a time, all appearing to be perfectly preserved.

“It’s as if the people were sitting here working away making arrowheads, scraping hides and carrying out their daily tasks and then they just got up and walked away.”

Along with these tools and artefacts, the excavation team believe they have uncovered the remains of an ancient house. This would be a very important find for the team as very few of these houses have been uncovered.

Dr Snashall stated that “this site dates from a time when people are just starting to build the earliest parts of Avebury’s earthworks so we could be looking at the house and workplace of the people who saw that happening.” 

Read more about Neolithic houses in this free article from Journal of Field Archaeology:

A Neolithic Household at Piana di Curinga, Italy

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