STONEHENGE, AVEBURY AND ASSOCIATED SITES WORLD HERITAGE SITE REVISED ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESEARCH FRAMEWORK

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STONEHENGE, AVEBURY
AND ASSOCIATED SITES

WORLD HERITAGE SITE
REVISED
ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESEA
RCH FRAMEWORK


SECTION 1: INTRODUCTION


P
ROJECT BACKGROUND

The two parts of the
Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites
World Heritage Site
(WHS)
currently have separ
ate research frameworks that were created at different
times and in different formats.
The
Archaeological Research Agenda for the Avebury
World Heritage Site

was published in 2001 (
Avebury Archaeological and Historical
Research Group
(
AAHRG
)

2001). An
Arch
aeological Research Framework for the
Stonehenge World Heritage Site

was published in 2005 (Darvill 2005).


A review of the
Avebury Agenda

was
initiated in 2007

by
t
he AAHRG
, which

exists
to coordinate and oversee the sustainability of research at Avebury
and
which
pursue
s

implementation and

the

updating of the Agenda.
The

review concluded that the
Agenda had a number of omissions, including consideration of the post
-
medieval and
modern period, a review of the history of investigations within the WHS and
te
chniques such as absolute dating methods.

Key suggestions from the
r
eview were:



A more comprehensive and detailed resource assessment
wa
s required. More
balance in the scope and detail of each section of the resource assess
ment and the
research strategy wa
s desirable as well as revision and refinement in terms of
geographical focus. In addition the update should include an enhanced
bibliography including an accessible list of fieldwork, ‘grey literature’, doctoral
theses and undergraduate work, and a biblio
graphy along with schedules of
unpublished material held in Museum Archives as well as physical collections.



The inclusion of areas not included in the original Agenda including post
-
medieval and a chapter on public engagement. A section reviewing new
tech
niques such as absolute dating and Lidar is required. Results of all
geophysical s
urveys should be included.



Better mapping is essential and this needs to encompass the increase in size of the
Avebury WHS and Study Area as a result of the boundary increase

of the WHS in
2008.



The revised Research Framework document should not be a static entity and
should be widely available on the web as well as in traditional print format. This
would facilitate the updating the Agenda on a regular basis.


There is no comp
arable body
to AAHRG
for the Stonehenge part of the WHS,
although the creation of one with links to AAHRG was proposed in the Stonehenge
2

Framework (Darvill 2005, 132, Objective18) and is a policy of the 2009 Stonehenge
Management Plan (Young
et al
. 2009, 1
13, Policy 6c).

No formal review of the
Framework has yet been undertaken, nor was a timetable for such a review specified
in the Framework (Darvill 2005, 32).

However, the Framework is now eight

years old
and a considerable amount of important research ha
s been undertaken in that time.


Recent research

Since 2001 major research, primarily archaeological, has been undertaken in both
parts of the WHS site. This includes survey, excavation and synthesis at Avebury and
surrounding monuments by a team from the
universities of Bristol, Leicester and
Southampton which has made notable discoveries such as the Beckhampton Avenue.
At Silbury Hill
,

English Heritage have undertaken conservation, restoration and
excavation. The Romano
-
British settlement at the foot of t
he Hill is also being
examined.

Several well
-
known prehistoric monuments close to Stonehenge have been
investigated by the Stonehenge Riverside Project which has also discovered
‘Bluestonehenge.’ At Stonehenge itself, 2008 saw excavations by both the River
side
Project and the SPACES project.

A new analytical fieldwork survey of the Stonehenge environs by English Heritage is
in progress as is a geophysical survey by an international team led by Birmingham
University. Updating of the evidence from air photogr
aphs across both parts of the
WHS is being undertaken by English Heritage while the potential for LIDAR and
terrestrial laser scanning has been demonstrated by a number of studies.

Work on museum collections includes the Early Bronze Age grave goods projec
t by
Birmingham University and the Beaker People project by Sheffield and Bradford
Universities.

Practice
-
based research includes the publication of the surveys for the Highways
Agency in advance of the proposed A303 improvements and, outside the World
WHS
, but within the study area of the Stonehenge Framework Site there have been
evaluations on sites proposed for a new visitor centre and a series of major
excavations of sites of prehistoric and Romano
-
British date at Boscombe Down that
have generated a rob
ust radiocarbon dated sequence.

Aims and objectives

In May 2010, the Prehistoric Society and Wiltshire Heritage Museum arranged a one
day conference to share the results of current research and consider future priorities
within the Stonehenge and Avebury W
HS. This meeting reflected the desire to deepen
the interfaces and understanding between the two areas of the WHS.

Th
e purpose of
this present work is to
provide a
single
united historic environment research agenda
and strategy for the
whole WHS.


The over
all aim of the project is to improve understanding of the World Heritage Site
by providing an updated framework to guide and inform future research activities
which will in turn inform its management and interpretation. This will be an
information driven a
pproach underpinned by a project specific GIS that can be
3

actively maintained as a project
-
specific tool for the duration of the Framework and
beyond. The project will address the wider historic environment, not just archaeology,
and will attempt to includ
e all sectors of the historic environment community, both
voluntary and professional.

To achieve this aim, the following objectives have been identified:



To produce a product that the wider historic environment research community
have ownership of and abou
t which there is widespread agreement
.



To produce a resource assessment of the current state of knowledge on the
historic environment of Avebury.



To produce a review of recent research on the historic environment of
Stonehenge.



To produce a joint research
agenda for the entire WHS. This may contain
overarching and site specific research objectives.



To produce a single strategy for the WHS based on prioritised objectives taken
from the research agenda. This strategy will, initially, span a five year planning

period.



To develop a method of monitoring the progress of the five year strategy so that
the strategy remains current and that it can be reviewed and reshaped as necessary
after the first five year term.


4

SECTION
2
:
RESEARCH AGENDA

I
NTRODUCTION

The archa
eological resource
in each area
of

the World Heritage Site (as outlined in the
Resource Assessment
s
) includes
a range of
monuments

that have been
central

in
shaping our understanding of prehistoric society
. In combination
,
these monuments
give each
are
a

a
distinctive and exceptional character, which together makes the wider
landscape that they occupy
uniquely
significant
.

T
he exceptional character
of th
ese monuments, both individually and in combination,

is reflected in the scope and range of questions tha
t the

monuments

generate
.
In order
to advance our understanding

of the
ir origins, construction, use, and the impacts they
have had on later activity within the landscape
, a systematic approach is required for
identifying
the gaps in our knowledge
, for arti
culating the questions they raise, and for
prioritising future enquiries in the for
m of a workable research agenda and strategy
.

Scope

It is
primarily
on account of the complexes of Neolithic

and
Early Bronze Age

monuments in the Avebury and Stonehenge lan
dscapes that these areas were given
World Heritage Site status.
However,

both areas contain archaeological remains of
many other period
s
, both pre
-
dating and post
-
dating the construction and use of the
monuments. Of those pre
-
dating the monuments, there ar
e at least suggestions that the
evidence for Mesolithic activity at Stonehenge, of the form of the raising of
substantial timber posts, indicate
s

a significance to this location which
,

by some
means
,

influence
d

developments

many millennia later
, and it was

within a Late
Mesolithic landscape that Neolithic society started to develop
.


Pinning down t
he influence
that

the
prehistoric
monuments
had on activity during

subsequent per
iods can be equally hard.
While t
he disposition of round barrows in the
landscape

immediately surrounding Stonehenge clearly reflect
s

the continuing
influence of the monument in the Early Bronze Age
,
the spatial association between
monuments and round barrows in the
Avebury

landscape is much less apparent
.
Furthermore, the extent to wh
ich the
Neolithic
monuments
in

both area influenced
activity in later periods is, with a few exceptions, very ambiguous.

Although the
Avebury area of the WHS was extended
in 2008
to include the surviving late
prehistoric field systems on Fyfield Down (as w
ell as
to encompass additional

Neolithic and Early Bronze Age monuments),
the decision was made in part on the
basis of a perceived
a link between the earthworks and the early monuments at
Avebury (WHC
-
08/32.COM/INF.8B1.Add
)
.

The WHS lies

within, and

clos
e to the eastern edge of the area covered by the South
West Archaeological Research Framework (SWARF)
, which is bordered to the east
by th
at

covered by the Solent Thames Research Framework (STRF). Together these
Frameworks
cover all the Wessex Chalkland
,

w
hich defines the wider landscape
occupied by both areas of the WHS. Although much wider in their scope

than the
present research framework
, they cover many research issues, of all periods, which
are also of general relevance to the WHS, as well as some spe
cific issues relating to
the Stonehenge and Avebury monumental landscape, and other (albeit lesser)
monument complexes in their respective regions.

5

Although the Avebury and Stonehenge resources assessments describe the
archaeological remains of all periods

with the WHS areas
, whether or not they have
any demonstrable link to the defining
features

of the WHS
, i
t is not the
intention

of
this combined agenda reiterate
the more

general and wide
-
ranging research issues

already
covered by SWARF and STRF
.
Given th
e specific criteria
by

which World
Heritage Site status was assigned to these landscapes, it is logical that their complexes
of Neolithic/Early Bronze Age monuments are the primary focus of this research
agenda.

This does not mean that the research issues

below are limited
only
to those
relating to
the Neolithic and early bronze Age. Rather, the issues which are considered to be of
primary relevance to the WHS (
primary research issues
)
are those that are related in
some way to the presence of these monumen
ts



i.e.
, relating either to some pre
-
existing condition which may have had an influence on the
origins and development
of the monumental landscapes, or reflecting the influence of those landscapes on
activity in later periods. Other issues that are liste
d (
secondary research issues
) may
have relevance to specific archaeological remains within the WHS, but which have no
discernible relationship to the defining monuments.

Questions

There is a growing body of evidence that some of these monuments, and the
la
ndscapes they occupied, had ‘international’ significance at the time of their
construction and use, linking ideas, peoples and places over long distances. Their
present World Heritage status shows how they continue to have wide
-
ranging
significance today,
and it is likely, over the intervening millennia, that people living
among them, around them and at varying distances from them, have also ascribed
meanings to them, and been influenced in their actions by them.
The questions we
ask, therefore, concern not

only the monuments themselves, individually and in
combination, but also the wider influences
that
they may have had, both
across

space
and down through time.

One way to get an initial overview of the
range and scope

of these questions it to pose
them in

their simplest terms.

Where?

The

boundaries
of

the

Avebury and Stonehenge
World Herit
a
g
e
Site areas are largely
arbitrary,
and

are likely to bear
little

relationship to
past perceptions of
the

locations
and extents of the
se
place
s

and space
s
,

and

of
thei
r
connectivity and intervisibility.
A
question is raised, for example, as to the degree to which

the
two

monument
complexes
were
definable places

during the period

of their use

(and later)
,
and to what
extent were they
seen as
connected or
separate
? W
hat
o
ther
features

of the natural and
settled

landscape might have been
viewed as

part
s

of those places
?
T
o what extent
might other places,
both between
Stonehenge and Avebury
,

and at a greater distance
from them

in other directions
,
have
been perceived
as
none
theless spatially related

the
m
?

How did these sites fit into later territorial and administrative units
?

When?

6

While the broad chronological sequences of monument construction and use, and
other aspects of the archaeological resource, may be reasonably wel
l understood,
much of the detail still requires refinement if the development both of individual
monuments and of the wider landscape are to be better understood.

Who?

In the absence of clear evidence, the monumental landscapes at Stonehenge and
Avebury h
ave often been peopled with a colourful cast of
kings,
priests

and

astronomers, and immigrant

travellers

practicing new beliefs and
importing
new

technologies from distant places. It is certainly likely that these places would have
attracted a greater dive
rsity, and
possibly

density, of population, both for their
construction and their use, than other areas of the contemporary landscape. Yet
,
despite the numbers of burials in the landscape



whether in the communal tombs of
the Early Neolithic or in and amo
ng the burial monuments of the Late Neolithic/Early
Bronze Age, or in other contexts both within and at a distance from the monuments



it is far from clear how representative
such remains

are of ‘the local population’ (
if
that is a meaningful term). In fa
ct, we can say

little
with certainty
about the people
who lived
,

worked
and died
in this landscape, or
who built or used the monuments
,
about where

they live
d, and how they lived.


How?

One of the

How?

q
uestions



How was Stonehenge built?



has always rec
eived
considerable attention, perhaps because the uniqueness of this one
-
off monument
has
so thoroughly challenged preconceptions about the capabilities of prehistoric society.
T
he very size of some monuments, such as Silbury Hill, has
also
provoked questi
ons
about methods of construction, and the overall scale of monument construction
within
the
landscape

raises question about how such work was organised.

What?

Avebury is a
henge
,
an invented word

(
derived from
Stonehenge
) first used

to group a
number of
prehistoric ‘sacred places’

(Kendrick 1932)
, and since spawning versions
in
Wood

and
, recently,

Bluestone
, as well as a range of
hengiform

monument
s
.
The
odd collection of terms we give to these and other monuments (cursus, causewayed
enclosure, avenue) hi
ghlights the problems we have in discerning what they
were
actually
for
, and because w
e tend
now
to shy away from anything too specific
(temple, observatory)
we

end up with vague terms such as
ceremonial
centre

or
ritual
monument
.
While

characterising
some

other

components

of the monumental
landscape, such as barrows (
as
burial monuments),
seem
s

less problematic (
although
applying such terms does not mean we understand them
),
even
some
of the most

basic
components of the archaeological resource, such as
pit
s or
artefact scatters, remain
of
uncertain nature
.

Why?

All the above questions lead inexorably to the
Why?

question
s
, althoug
h th
ese are

perhaps the first that come
in
to
most

people’s minds.
Why were these monuments
built



why here
,
why then
, why at al
l
?
What
was their

purpose?
These

are

also
the
most difficult
question
s for archaeologists

to answer as
they

require
us

to attempt
7

what
archaeology

is ill
-
equipped to do


to
gain insight into

the motivations and
mind
-
sets of prehistoric communit
ies
.

It
can

be tempting to propose grand schemes of
interpretation, as if
we

have some special
access

in
to

past world
-
views, but
speculations
,

lacking a

solid

and testable
evidential base
,

should not
take the place of

reasoned

interpretation.
That is not to say that
that speculation has no value, since
informed

curiosity can suggest avenues for fruitful research
, b
ut answers need
evidence, and it is through carefully considered research that such evidence is most
effectively sought.

A hierarchy of
questions

It was
s
pecifically
because of the
prehistoric
monuments that W
orld
H
eritage

status
was assigned to the areas around Avebury and Stonehenge, and it is entirely
understandable that, historically, the
se largely definable entities in the landscape

have
been the main
foci of
enquiry
. Yet, despite
their
excavation
, in
some

cases

on a
scale
unlikely ever to be repeated, many questions
about them
remain unanswered
.
This is
in part
because
many of the important questions

concern the
contexts

of the
monuments,
the

answers
t
o which
require
first
an understanding of what was
happening
both long before the monuments were built, and
within the wider landscape
beyond

them
.

We can view the monuments as

high
-
level


constructs within the society which built
them, reflecting
in pa
rticular (although not exclusively)
the concerns and capabilities
of those with power



over people, land, resources, and beliefs. As such, the
monuments’ dominance of the landscape quite understandably generates

high
-
level


questions


about social and e
conomic relations, and about meaning, beliefs and
world
-
views.
But
we should be wary about attempting to answer these
questions
with
out

substantial

evidence for the social and economic base of that society.

There is, therefor
e, a hierarchy of understandin
g

which must influenc
e the priorities
for research. Among t
he questions above
, those

that appear to be the
most urgently in
need of answer

are those relating to
Who?
. A
rchaeology is first and foremost the study
of
people
, and i
f we know so little about the

lives of the many peoples who occupied
and passed through these landscape


their homes, their work, their food, their wealth,
their health, their deaths


we cannot hope to understand
many of
the questions of
How
?

and the
Why
?
.


The organisation of th
e c
ombined

research agenda

To make this research agenda as user
-
friendly as possible, the very wide range of
potential research issues requires some method of
synthesis,
organisation and
presentation.
However, a
ny set of
organising
criteria has its limitation
s
:
arranging

issues by period relies on traditional chronological divisions which may have limited
relevance
, overlook
ing

periods of transition

and longer
-
term processes
; organising
them

by site has the danger of
seeing

the

monuments

in isolation from the
landscape,
monumental and otherwise
, that they occupy
; organising them by broad subject (such
as settlement, economy,
religion
, environment

etc.
)
risks overlooking the
unique and
specific character of some of the monuments, and well as
interrelationship be
tween all
these
thematic
sub
j
ects.

The existing agendas

8

The

two existing

research
frameworks

we
re structured in different ways
, this being
most noticeable in their respective agendas
.

The Avebury agenda

wa
s in the first
instance period
-
based, following the

chronological divisions used in the
preceding
resource a
ssessment

(and followed later
in
the
r
esearch
s
trategy)
. Within each period
,

the agenda wa
s
broken down into
a number of

broad

themes

(AAHRG 2001, 4)
,
largely comparable between period
s

but taking in
to account
,

in their selection and
combination
,

the
ir

varying relevance
over time

in each period
:



Settlement and land use



Environment



Chronology



Ceremony, ritual and religion



Engineering, craft and technology



People (diet and health)



Social organisation, e
conomy

and

subsistence



Transport and communication

There wa
s,

in addition,

a

cross
-
period

Palaeo
-
environmental theme,
albeit
broken
down into a set of
c
hronological and thematic priorities
. T
he agenda conclude
d

with
an overarching summary
, comprising cross
-
period, thematic reviews of the
archaeological and environmental records,

that
sought

to
progress the various agenda
issues
Towards a Research Framework for the Avebury Landscape
.

The Stonehenge agenda

ha
s

a different structure
, although attention was dr
awn (in the
Resource Assessment) to a set of Diachronic Themes
(Darvill 2005, 96

101)
whi
ch,
apart from one relating to
A
rchaeoastronomy at Stonehenge
, were broadly comparable
to those in the Avebury agenda:



Holocene environments (specifically the develop
ment of forms of woodland,
downland and pasture);



People, health and population



Settlement and land use patterns



Ceremony, ritual and belief systems



Social organisation



Economy, craft and industry



Trade and exchange

9

Within the Agenda itself, recognition wa
s given to the fact that
research
issues

arose

through

different
processes

of enquiry

and
from
different
philosophical standpoints,
and
reflect
ed

the interests of
particular
group
s
. For presentational purposes, therefore,
the
agenda was

arranged
into four
groups

of
(overlapping)
issues

(
ibid.
, 108)
:



Period
-
based and site
-
based issues



Subject
-
based issues



Contextual and interpretative issues



Management
-
based issues.

To a degree, the Period
-
based and Site
-
based issues

of the Stonehenge agenda covered
similar
ground to that articulated in the chronological structure of the Avebury
agenda. Many of the subject
-
based issues, too, were largely period
-
specific or site
-
specific.

The Contextual and interpretative issues reflect concerns with the degree to which our
u
nderstanding of the Stonehenge landscape is coloured by past and present
assumptions and biases in the collection, characterisation and interpretation of
archaeological material, while the Management
-
based issues cover day
-
to
-
day,
medium
-
term and strategic

concerns about the conservation, protection and
presentation of the archaeological resource.

The combined

research agenda

There have
been
a number of guiding principles i
n
the compiling of

this

combined

research agenda
. First
ly
,
an attempt had been made t
o make it
recognisable
, as far a
s

possible,

as
a progression of the two

existing agendas
,
despite the
ir

evident
differences in approach
.

For this reason, it combines both cross
-
period issues, based
on the largely similar ‘diachronic themes’ previously arti
culated in both research
frameworks, and period
-
specific issues

which

reflect the chronological divisions used
in the Resource Assessment.

Secondly,
consideration has been given to the need for the agenda to be
in a form
suitable for future
combine
d

revisi
on
. The intention was stated in the Introduction to
the Avebury Research Framework that the

volume
would

be updated
on a regular
basis as research wa
s conducted, new discoveries made, and research priorities evolve

(
AAHRG 2001,

4)
.
Similarly, the
need for
reflexivity and revision was made explicit
in
Stonehenge agenda

(
Darvill 2005,

32)

which
was
anticipated as
be
ing

a statement
of
research issues and
priorities for
approximately a

decade

(
ibid.
,

4)
.


Thirdly, as the agenda is intended to be a working docum
ent of
use
to

a wide range of
stakeholders,
the objective has been to give it a relatively straightforward
and
transparent
structure; what it may lack in theoretical and philosophical underpinning,
it is hoped that it gains in clarity and usability.

It is

hoped, therefore, that the approach taken in compiling this agenda will stand the
test of time, and that the agenda will remain an easily usable document in its current
and future iterations. It may be that some of the differences in emphasis and approach

10

in the previous agendas carry through into this documents, but it is hoped that these
will be ironed out over time, promoting a greater consistency of research across the
whole of the World Heritage Site.

The issues

In order to compile the agenda, the pri
mary sources of issues for research have been
the two existing
documents
;

the

research issues

articulated in them
have been
compiled

and reformulated within the new structure. In some cases this has allowed
issues, not explicitly stated previously but impl
ied in the existing agenda
s
, to be
included. Other sources of research issues were the Research Agenda Workshop held
in Devizes in June 2011, and input from a period of public consultation following the
posting, in June 2012 on the Wessex Archaeology websi
te, of results of the Devizes
workshop, the Revised Avebury Resource Assessment and the Stonehenge Resource
Assessment Update.

Even though the cross
-
period issues overlap with the period
-
specific issues, the
opportunity they offer to view those issues from

different perspectives can reveal new
aspects of them, and suggest new directions of research from which to approach them.

C
ROSS
-
PERIOD ISSUES

Environment
and land
scape

Within each period, an understanding of
the
environment is essential to gauging
the
po
tentials of
,

and constraints on
,

human activity at any particular time
. Such
information

provid
e
s

an essential context for interpreting archaeological remains.
In
the introduction to
the

Palaeo
-
environmental agenda in Avebury Research
Framework, Allen (, p
. 54) wrote that

such
an understanding helps us “
to construct the
‘archaeological stage’ upon, and in which, communities lived and by which their
activities were constrained

. It provides the resource base and potential in terms of
the flora and fauna;
i.e
.
, food, fuel and shelter.

(It)
can help us understand


how
prehistoric families used and lived the landscape in terms of clearance, farming and
cultivation, and how the consequences of any changes were met by those
communities.

In effect,
the
landscape i
s as important as the sites within it; it is more
tha
n

just the backdrop to the stage, it is integral to, and defines, the parameters of
human acti
vity”.

It

might also be said
, however,

that
the landscape

is

a
n “artefact” in its own right, the
ultimate

en
during
“monument”
of the World Heritage Site,

with its own history of
creation, use and change, modified to accommodate new practices
,

new ideologies

and new meanings
.
As such it is inevitably the subject of cross
-
period research.

Below
are listed some of
the questions
this issue raises.



How has the character of the landscape changed over time (hydrology,
topography, soils, vegetation, fauna), and how have those changes affected
patterns of human behaviour?




How
have variations in the
landscape
affected hum
an activity
: valley v.
downland, chalk v. clay
-
with
-
flints, Avebury v. Stonehenge;
Avebury/Stonehenge v. areas at a distance?

11



What economic resources has the landscape provided: woodland (wildwood,
secondary woodland, managed managed
); river and wetland re
sources;
downland resources (arable, pasture); mineral and other resources?



How has the character of the landscape aided, hindered or otherwise influenced
movement and communication?



How have environmental changes affected the seasonality of water supply a
nd
the navigability of
river
s
?



How have people inadvertently impacted on the natural lan
dscape


erosion,
colluviation/
alluviation, soil change?



How have people deliberately modified the environment: woodland burning,
clearance and management; cultivation
and manuring; wetland management?



What has been the impact of the monumental and ritual use of the landscape:

the
extraction of ‘monumental resources’ (stones, timbers, soil/turfs etc),

the
impacts of monument building on soils, vegetation, intervisibilit
y?

People and populations

The most direct evidence we have for the people associated with the landscape around
Avebury and Stonehenge comes from the human remains found in the various burial
monuments and in other contexts. Despite the large numbers of bur
ials subject to
investigation, many of the antiquarian excavations were concerned largely with the
possibility of finding grave goods, with the result that they tell us little about the
people who remains were found. However, there is considerable potentia
l for the
analysis of such remains to provide information about populations, diet and health.
However, perhaps more fundamental questions remain:



Who are the people buried in the World Heritage Site, where are they from, and
why were they buried there?



To

what extent do the human remains from the various forms of burial, and
other contexts, reflect the local population, or people from further afield
selecting this landscape for burial?



What demographic, health, dietary and other variations are evident in t
he human
remains from different forms of burial, different locations of burial, and
different periods of burial, and how do these compare with other regions?



Are genetic relationships discernible in the buried population?



To what extent can human remains i
nform us about population levels?

Local settlement
and t
he domestic sphere

The World Heritage Site

is

defined
primarily

by the

two

grouping
s

of ceremonial and
burial monuments
. In contrast, evidence for
associated
settlement activity of

the ‘local
populat
ion’
is very limited
,
particularly
in

th
e period

of
the
monument
s’

construction
12

and use
, but also in other
periods
. Without such evidence, there is a limit to what we
can say
about the people who built the monuments, or used them, or later lived in
among t
hem. It means we can only speculate about how construction was organised
and resourced, and it limits our understanding how the landscape of the has come to
be what it is today.
Identifying and charactering settlement site helps to answer a
number of quest
ions.



Where were the people living who built the monuments, visited and used the
monuments, were buried in and around the monuments, or were unaffected by
the monuments?



What factors affect the archaeological visibility of settlements, and where can
settle
ment
evidence be most productively sought?



How do different forms of settlement evidence relate


from fieldwalking, aerial
photographs, earthworks, geophysical survey and excavation?



How was settlement influenced by
: the natural landscape setting (topo
graphy,
hydrology, vegetation); areas and locations of earlier settlement; areas of
economic activity (or potential); and contemporary, and earlier, monuments and
burials?



What range of activities was undertaken within and from these settlements:
economic
(hunting/gathering, farming, craft, industry); monument construction
and use; other social/ritual activities (feasting, structured deposition, and
exchange)?



What was the character of settlement:

its

duration of occupation (permanent,
temporary, seasonal)
;
its

size (household, farmstead, hamlet, village);
its

organisation (open/enclosed/ defended, roadside/riverside, linear/nucleated)
?



What size of population does the settlement evidence
suggest
, and how does this
compare with estimate
s

of manpower require
d for monument construction (and
other large scale communal
endeavours, such

as linear earthwork and hillfort
construction)?



What variability
is evident
in
the
settlement

pattern
, and what does this tell us
about aspects of social organisation and hierarch
y
?



What relationships (similarities, contrasts) can be discerned between different
types of settlement site, and between settlement sites and ceremonial sites.

Economy and
production

The scale of monument construction in the World Heritage Site points to
the
significant
diversion
of human labour away from food production and other directly
subsistence
-
related economic activities. While this suggests an agricultural economy
capable of producing significant surpluses, we have
very
limited understanding as to

the nature of that economy. Understanding the economic basis of society, its forms of
agricultural production, storage, exchange, are essential to understanding
not only
how such large
-
scale monument construction could be resourced and organised
, but
13

help

understand periods of monument decline and social change, evidence of
communal co
-
operation and conflict.



What was the environmental setting for economic activities, and what
economic
potential
did the
natural
landscape offers different forms of activity
: geology
and soils
, climate and hydrology:

woodland, wetland and downland?



What was the economic and/or agricultural regime:
the extraction and
management of
wild resources
; agricultural production (arable,
pastoral/transhumant; mixed farming)
?



What were
the social and economic contexts and impacts of agricultural
innovations?



What were the sources of economic surpluses, and how was
they

accumulated:
crop production and storage (estimation of arable yields; means of storage),
livestock (types of animals, s
izes of flocks/herds), secondary products?



How were surpluses used: forms of exchange

and trade (extents of networks)
;
conversion
of economic surplus (
into
portable wealth, social capital,

status
);

conspicuous consumption

(
feasting, structured deposition
)?



What

other forms of production

could be converted into

wealth (
stone and
flint

objects
, pottery, metalwork
, ‘Beaker package’

etc.)?



What impact did past and current monument construction and use have on
landscape productivity: the removal of materials for

monument construction
(timbers, soil, turves); the removal of areas of land from production (temporary,
permanent); erosion an
d the long
-
term impact on soils?



How was the landscape organised for production
: landscape zones, boundaries
(
invisible boundarie
s, palisades, fences and ditches
);
field systems of variable
forms, origins, extents, and uses (arable fields, stock enclosures, manuring)?



To what extent was landscape organisation affected by contemporary and past
monuments (alignment on, avoidance
of, i
ndifference to)
; for how long did
boundaries survive
?

The monumental
and ritual
landscape


The
varied
monuments
that we characterise a
s

ritual monuments
are

among

the most
closely studied aspect
s

of the
World Heritage Site.
While m
any of the questions
rela
ting to them are site
-
specific or period
-
specific, others are wider in their scope
.

It
is only on the basis of the answers to the above issues that we can hop to understand
many of the issues surrounding the monumental landscapes of Avebury and
Stonehenge.

Nonetheless that does not prevent us from framing the questions
.



What initiated the processes of monument construction in the Avebury and
Stonehenge landscapes?

14



What was it that led to these two landscapes to develop large
-
scale monument
complexes, giving

them the character of ‘ritual or sacred landscapes’?



What determined the different trajectories and ‘life
-
cycles’ of these two
landscapes (comparison/contrast/opposition)?



What is the significance of the monumental development of these two locations
bein
g so different in form while so similar in scale; how do they compare to
other monument complexes at a greater distance, and away from the Wessex
Chalk?



What

evidence
is there that
th
at these were planned landscapes, as opposed to
groups of unconnected mon
uments? Do

different

monuments occupy different
parts of
the landscape?



What were the extents of any ‘areas of significance’ around individual
monuments or monument groups, how did these relate to topography, or other
monuments, and how have these changed

over time?



T
o what extent are
monuments

connected, either physically (by avenues,
cursuses, rivers, pathways), or through intervisibility and orientations?

(Exon et
al. 2000,
Stonehenge Landscapes
)



Is there s
ignificance in the locations of

individual monu
ments, in relation to
landscape (landform
,

paths,
woodland,
waterways), visibility for astronomical
observation, lo
cations of existing monuments?



How
was

monument

construction organised and how were they built
; what was
the available technology; from where

and from how far did the materials come;
how long did they take to build;

how many people would were required and
where did they come from; how would the workforce have been supported
economically and accommodated?



What evidence is there of ritual, ceremo
ny and symbolism: deposition and
burial; movement and procession; astronomy and alignments; the symbolism of
shape and form (linear/circular, flat/elevated); art and decoration?

What do
these aspects tell us about society and belief?



How did the appearance

of monuments change over time, through natural and
human processes; were they modified and re
-
invented, maintained, deliberately
‘closed’, left to decay, or purposefully destroyed?



To what extent were the monumental landscapes separate from the non
-
monum
ental, settled and farmed landscapes, and for how long?



For how long, and in what ways did the
monuments continue to
impact of the
lives of the local population, or
have

wider

significance?



15

The mortuary landscape

Closely associated with the monumental la
ndscape
s of Avebury and Stonehenge are
the

mortuary landscape
s
, in the form of individual and groups of burial monuments

(and non
-
monumental burials) which pre
-
date, are contemporary with and post
-
date
the different
phases of monument construction and use
.

Long barrows
,

a variety of
round barrow forms,
flat graves and unmarked cremation burials
are

all

widely
distributed across the Wessex Chalk and beyond
. However
,
the
y

cannot be seen in
isolation

from landscape they occupy, which

within the World Heritage
Site

includes
the monumental and ritual landscape.



What similarities and differences are evident in the mortuary landscapes around

Avebury and Stonehenge; to what extent are these similar to, distinct from other
mortuary landscapes?



To what extent are bur
ials located among, within sight of, or out of sight of
element of the monumental and natural landscape.



What is the spatial relationship between burials and ‘non
-
burial’ monuments,
and can a distinction can be drawn between burials away from monuments an
d
burial remains associated with monuments?



What is the relationship between identifiable burials and other contexts
containing human remains?



What significance can be attached to the variations in form of burial monuments
(linear, circular), in their size
, and structural complexity; do round barrow
‘types’ reflect real or arbitrary divisions
; how were burial monuments modified
over time
?



What factors may influence to location of burials in the landscape; w
hat is the
relationship of burials to pre
-
burial ac
tivity, or to settlement or other activity?



Why and how do burial grounds develop; how do they relate to other
monuments; what is the significance of different forms of burial ground
(communal burial, linear cemetery, closely or loosely clustered)
?



What is

the significance in the variability in mortuary and burial rites
(cremation, inhumation, other forms of disposal), in the presence of grave
goods, in the construction of burial monuments or other marking of graves, the
significance of ‘flat’ graves?



How r
epresentative are the burials of the wider population; were there selection
criteria for burial (at communal monuments, as individual burial in barrows, in
other locations), over how many generation were communal burial monuments
used?

16

P
ERIOD
-
BASED ISSUES

Lower and Middle
Palaeolithic

What do we know?

The current state of knowledge of the Palaeolithic period in the combined WHS area is
very poor. The record is so sparse that it difficult to state anything with certainty other
than that hominins had been pr
esent. In and around the Avebury WHS there are
perhaps no more than 16 find spots (the quality of some of the data is too poor to allow
certain separation of some of the entries tabulated below after Scott
-
Jackson 2013, xx
-
xx), mostly of individual “surfac
e
-
finds from the to
psoil overlying the

downlands

(
ibid.
); in the Stonehenge WHS as few as five
1
.

Table x: Palaeolithic find spots in the Avebury WHS

NGR

LOCATION

GEOLOGY

AOD

ASPECT

DESCRIPTION

SU 105 640 (E)

Milk Hill, Stanton St. Bernard

Clay
-
with
-

flin
ts

312m

edge of plateau

Handaxe

SU 1070 6415

North of Oxenmere, Stanton
St. Bernard

Clay
-
with
-
flints

312m

edge of plateau

Flake

SU 100 640 (G)

Milk Hill,
Stanton

St.Bernard

Middle Chalk

264m

slope

‘Palaeolith’

SU 123 731

Berwick Bassett Down,
Berwick Ba
ssett

Clay
-
with
-
flints

255m



-

Handaxe (crude ovate)


SU 125 725

Monkton Down, Winterbourne
Monkton

Upper Chalk

255m

slope

Flake

SU 128 726 (A)

Ridgeway Field, Hackpen Hill

Clay
-
with
-
flints

265m

plateau

At least 6 handaxes, 10 waste
-
flakes and 1 core

S
U 125 740 (E)

Hackpen Hill, Berwick Bassett

Upper Chalk

278m

slope

6 handaxes; 10 flakes; 1 core

This last reference probably a mistaken location for SU 128 726 (A)

SU 128 727 (A)

Glory Ann Barn Pit, Hackpen
Hill

-

265m

-

Handaxe

SU 130 750 (G)

Hackpen
Hill

Upper Chalk

280m

slope

5 handaxes, 3 unretouched flakes

SU 139 719 (A)

Old Totterdown, Fyfield

Clay
-
with
-
flints

280m

plateau

Handaxe

SU 084 744 (A)

Wyr Farm, Winterbourne
Bassett

Lower Chalk

182m

slope

2 handaxes




1
The record (Darvill 2005)comprises ovate handaxes and waste
-
flakes from t
errace gravels at Lake in
the Avon Valley (Evans 1897, 627
-
8; Roe & Radley 1969, 13); a handaxe from south of Amesbury
Abbey possibly from the river gravels; a further two from Alington, Boscombe, from deposits in the
Bourne valley (WA 1993b, Av3

1); a fli
nt ‘tortoise’ core from southwest of Greenland Farm,
Winterbourne Stoke (Anon 1973; DM 39.1972); a handaxe from ‘near Stonehenge’ (WA 1993b, Av3

3); and three handaxes and associated worked flint from an upland field situated on a spur on the north
side of

the Wylye Valley at Stapleford (Harding 1995:120
-
2).

17

SU 085 715

Windmill Hill, Avebury

L
ower Chalk

194m

slope

Handaxe and 2 flakes

SU 102 750 (G)

Winterbourne Bassett

-

-

-

flat pointed handaxe; a few
reputable implements

SU 100 750 (G)

Hackpen Hill, (Field 86)

Lower Chalk

170m

valley bottom

at least 3 handaxes and butt of
sarsen handaxe

S
U 113 724 (A)

Base of Monkton Down,
Winterbourne Monkton

Lower Chalk

177m

slope

at least 2 handaxes (1 sarsen)

These last three may refer to the same find spot

SU 105 681 (A)

Avebury

Middle Chalk

161m

slope

Handaxe (round butted cordate)

SU 108 690

Beck
hampton Ave, Avebury

Middle Chalk

175m

slope

Handaxe

SU 113 724

Winterbourne Monkton

-

-

-

Handaxe

-

Winterbourne Monkton Down

-

186m

-

butt of sarsen handaxe


Significance

The significance of this material to the WHS is limited. There is no sense in wh
ich the
Palaeolithic occupation of either the Stonehenge or Avebury regions had any direct
influence on the development of the ceremonial buildings that form the core of both,
and which are the focus of the World Heritage status. Consequently, research int
o the
Palaeolithic is only of
secondary importance

in terms of the WHS Research Agenda
(regardless of its significance in any other agenda).

Questions

Research questions should wherever possible address the Principal and Strategic
Themes identified in the
Research and Conservation Framework for the British
Palaeolithic

(The Prehistoric Society & English Heritage 2008). Given the difficulty
in framing questions that address gaps in current knowledge when that knowledge is
based on such scant data, the most g
ermane of these for the WHS would be
Collections and Records Enhancement
(Strategic Research and Conservation Theme
8). One priority for Palaeolithic research then would be
:



an improved data set
.


A second set of questions relate to
:



the nature of the pala
eoenvironment and the effects of climate on the
formation of landscape features
.


The environment would have been periglacial;
cold climate, marginal to the glacial
environment, and characteristically subject to intense cycles of freezing and thawing
of s
uperficial
sediments. Permafrost

commonly occurs within such environments.
However, processes that involve the freezing, unfreezing, and movement of water are
considered to be periglacial; processes associated with the presence of perennially
18

frozen ground

are permafrost. Permafrost is therefore closely associated with the
periglacial environment, and usually permafrost processes take place within a
periglacial environment (Dobinski 2011, 158
-
169).

The coombes and dry valleys that are the characteristic fea
ture of the region are likely
to have formed by ground
-
water sapping. This process occurs where springs exiting
the chalk at the head of a coombe cause the ground to destabilise and erode, a process
which gradually nibbles back into the plateau, and over m
illennia results in the
elongated valley profiles see
n today(Sparks and Lewis 1958).

While these processes were not necessarily cold
-
stage, those resulting in the further
significant shaping of the landscape undoubtedly occurred within periglacial
environm
ents of the late Pliocene and Pleistocene. The cross
-
profiles of the coombes
were re
-
shaped by freeze
-
thaw processes, with erosion occurring more rapidly on the
sunnier south
-
facing slopes of the valleys, where the cycle of freeze
-
thawing was
more frequent

and pronounced. Such action leaves the characteristic asymmetrical
profiles seen today with the steeper north
-
facing slopes and gentler south
-
facing
slopes. Another consequence of this erosion was the deposition of significant amounts
of what is commonly
known as ‘coombe deposit’; poorly or un
-
sorted chalk and flint
rubble in a chalky silt matrix. These deposits (sometimes referred to as ‘chalk Head’)
can be found in significant quantities in coombe bottoms or at the bases of chalk
escarpments, and are com
monly several metres in depth. Importantly, these deposits
have the potential to seal and preserve land
-
surfaces of Pleistocene date (as seen at
Durrington Walls within the WHS and at Wharf Farm, Winchester), which may
contain Palaeolithic archaeology.

Oth
er cold
-
stage features commonly seen within the WHS are periglacial involutions;
the distinctive brown stripes formed as freeze
-
thaw processes sort clasts into patterns;
generally stripes on shallow slopes, and polygons on flatter surfaces. On easily sorte
d
materials such as gravel these stripes and polygons can be very impressive; on chalk
the polygons are irregular blobs at best and are usually int
erpreted as ‘solution
hollows’.

While the flint itself can be related to replacement of sponges and other org
anisms by
siliceous minerals within the Cretaceous period, the characteristic clay
-
with
-
flints
deposits
which top the downs
are believed to be the product of the erosion of the
chalk, and the sorting and re
-
deposition of flints within it during the Pliocen
e
and into
the Quaternary period.

Methods

An improved data set
could be achieved by:



cataloguing and archiving of the extant artefacts collections. A catalogue
similar to that produced for the Avebury area (Scott
-
Jackson, 2005:66
-
76)
would contribute to th
e wider aim of a comprehensive WHS GIS
;



mapping, sampling and dating Middle/Late Pleistocene deposits (e.g. fluvial
gravels, clay
-
with
-
flints
,

etc
.
)
;



c
arefully controlled, detailed investigations and excavations at
known sites
which have not been subject t
o modern field study. The site at
Hackpen Hill
is
19

one candidate, as is that at Knowle Farm Gravel Pit at Savernake, a little
beyond the Avebury WHS;



investigation of valley fill deposits in the Stonehenge WHS (Darvill 2005 Map
E). These may be of high pote
ntial, as they do not appear to have been
extensively quarried.


20

Late Glacial and Mesolithic

What do we know?

There are no definite Upper Palaeolithic sites or
find spots

within either the Avebury
or Stonehenge areas of the WHS.

The evidence for the Mesol
ithic period is
quantitatively better, but around Avebury at least is still limited. Among the 70 sites
and find spots recorded in the Wiltshire HER, George notes only two which can be
considered as “minor (short stay) occupation sites” (George 2013, xx).
Around
Stonehenge the situation appears to be somewhat different, due in large part to the
presence of large posts beneath the Stonehenge

car park and on Amesbury Down.

Significance

The significance of this material to the WHS varies. The Late Glacial data

(or lack of
it) is of little direct importance (although in the period and wider region it may be of
very great significance given the location of Avebury at the
headwaters of the Kennet).
Like
wise t
he earlier Mesolithic evidence.

For the Late Mesolithic,

the case is different. The postholes and other features in the
car park at Stonehenge raise the possibility of the place having been a signi
ficant one
for many millennia.

Consequently, research into the earlier parts of the period is only of
secondary
im
portance

in terms of the WHS Research Agenda, while the question of the
relationships between the later Mesolithic and earlier Neolithic are of
primary
importance
.

Questions

The research question wit
h primary significance is then:



What was the nature of th
e transition from the later Mesolithic to the earlier
Neolithic?


Other research questions are of secondary significance, although some may contribute
to the first.
George notes “a lack of existing information… limited understanding of
where archaeological

deposits may remain, and a paucity of absolute dating evidence”
amounting to “a very fragmented data set” (George 2013, xx).
While i
t is clear that
people were present in the WHS during the Mesolithic at least, the scale
and nature
of
that presence remain
s unclear. Thus, one priority for research may be
:



to

better understand

the nature of Late Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic
activity.


A better assessment of the existing data set would allow further research questions to
be formulated and addressed. Th
e
Mesolithic Research and Conservation Framework
(in progress at the time of writing) highlights a number of Primary Research Themes,
towards which any agenda should be targete
d. Relevant questions include:

21



Can patterns of territoriality be distinguished?




What was the effect of climate and environment on past communities
(including their technologies and tool kits), and vice versa?


A clear understanding of the
climate,
en
vironment, vegetation and animal populations
in and
around
the WHS

and in particula
r the hydrology of the River
s

Kennet
and Avon
will be a crucial tool to understanding the landscapes of the Late Glacial and Early
Post
-
Glacial periods.




Can we refine further the chronology of sites, lithic industries and change?


Methods

The nature of t
he transition from the later Mesolithic to the earlier Neolithic

can be
addressed by:



a consideration of the Mesolithic activity preserved beneath Neolithic
structures at


for instance
-

Horslip Long Barrow (Ashbee
et al.

1979),
Windmill Hill (Smith 1959)
, South Street Long Barrow, (Ashbee
et al.

1979),
Silbury Hill (Leary
et al.

2012)
,
Roughleaze (Pollard
et al.

2012) and Falkners
Circle (Gillings
et al.

2008).
What this material represents remains open to
question. Is it merely an effect of the later str
uctures preserving material which
has elsewhere been removed by later activity? Or can continuity of
(presumably ceremonial) meaning be inferred?



a consideration of the Mesolithic structures already known from Stonehenge
and Amesbury Down; their relations
hip (or lack of it) to the later uses of the
same places; the possibility for other similar unrecognised structures
elsewhere.



A consideration of
how long barrows and causewayed enclosures cluster. Does
this have any relevance to understandin
g the
Late Mes
olithic?


T
o
better understand

the nature of Late Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic activity
,
research could focus on:



cataloguing and archiving of the extant artefacts collection
s, both public and
private. As with the earlier Palaeolithic material, this e
xercise
would contribute
to the wider aim of a comprehensive WHS GIS
, building on the recently
completed digitisation of Roger Jacobi’s card index (the Colonisation of
Britain archive); in addition (and perhaps more valuably), cataloguing would
allow the c
onfirmation (or not) of previous typological and chronological
identifications. It is suspected that
some Upper Palaeolithic artefacts from
surface collection may have been allocated a Mesolithic date

(note


for
instance


the core of Long Blade type reco
rded in the Colonisation of Britain
archive from somewhere to the west of Amesbury).I
t is as likely that
Mesolithic
material has

be
e
n
misidentified

a
s Neolithic.


To
distinguish patterns of territoriality
, research would need to address an area larger
than

the WHS. Patterns of difference or similarity
between
the two parts may go some
22

way to address this issue, but it is more likely that any consideration of this question
would need to
collate evidence from beyond the WHS boundaries.



In the case of Avebury

in particular it needs to be established whether the

activity within the WHS around the headwaters of the Kennet was
re
lated to
the very much more prolific
sites in the middle Kennet Valley
(Avington,

Wawcott
, Thatcham, etc.).


To better understand the
cl
imate, environment and fauna



u
nderstanding processes of post glacial water action, aeolian deposition, the
natural development of soils and woodland, tree clearance and farming and its
impact on colluvium and alluvium deposition
are

crucial
. This would als
o
allow modelling of

the likely locations

within the World Heritage Site

wh
ere
undisturbed deposits may survive;



more research is required into the relationship between geography and
find
spots
, including the association with such topographic features as s
pring heads,
or outcrops, dry valleys and river terraces, where evidence for anthropogenic
activity is likely
.


To
refine further the chronology of sites, lithic industries and change

As Lawson noted in the original Avebury Research Agenda “generally, the
chronology
of the Mesolithic activity in the Avebury is poorly understood…..” Improved d
ating
remain
s of utmost importance.
The absolute dates from pine charcoal in post
-
holes at
Stonehenge and Amesbury Down are unfortunately unrelated to any artefa
cts.

23

N
eolithic

What do we know?

The Neolithic (and Early Bronze Age) landscapes and the complexes of structures they
contain form the foci of both parts of the WHS, and are the primary reasons for the
inscription of the sites on the World Heritage List. The obje
cts of intense and
continuing study and speculation for well over two centuries, our knowledge of both
Stonehenge and Avebury is broad but (it could be argued) shallow, and with notable
areas of ignorance remaining. The outlines of the current state of kno
wledge are
sketched by Cleal, Pollard, Snashall and Montague for Avebury (Cleal
et al
. 2013, xx
-
xx) and by Darvill for Stonehenge (Darvill 2013, xx
-
xx). Despite the quantity of
information that has been generated, a large number of very basic ques
tions rem
ain to
be answered.

Significance

Questions relating to the Neolithic activity in the WHS are of
primary importance
.

Questions

For the sake of clarity, these suggestions for future research follow the themes and
order used by Cleal
et al
. in their assessmen
t of the existing resource (2013, xx
-
xx).
No particular hierarchy or

precedence should be inferred.

Settlement & Landscape

One consequence of the understandable

fo
cus of attention on the ceremonial
earthworks and other structures

has
been the neglect of sm
aller or less conspicuous
elements of the contemporary landscape
.
As a result, t
here
are a number of key
research questions:




identify, characterise and date
settlement features;



how should we understand Neolithic occupation?



where were the people living?



what did the settlements look like?



w
hat is the relationship between settlement and other structures?



What do surface artefact scatters tell us about modes of occupation?


Things

Many of the key excavated assemblages from iconic sites within the WHS derive

from
excavations that are in some case three
-
quarters of a century old. While some of these
formed the keystones of chronologies and type series’ they are themselves now
somewhat in need of reanalysis (as was undertaken with Alexander Keiller’s archive
fr
om Windmill Hill: Whittle
et al.

1999). A key question is to:



better understand the chronologies of key artefact types



24

Monumentality 1. Earlier Neolithic

The ceremonial complexes at Stonehenge and Avebury were not built in virgin
territory. The nature of

the existing landscape and of what influence it exerted over the
siting, construction and use of the henges and other stru
ctures remain largely
unknown.



What did the landscape look like during monumental construction?



What is the significance of how long

barrows cluster, or causewayed camps,
with relation to both the Mesolithic and the later Neolithic?



Review of oval barrows and the excavation of a selected example
.


In addition, now that fourth millennium
BC dates have been obtained for some of the
human

remains from Winterbourne Monkton, an attempt should be made to better
understand their contexts, to determine if
any trace of the burials remain
in situ
, and, if
it will be informative, to date further samples.

Monumentality 2: Late Neolithic

These perio
ds represent the
floruit

of the activity that resulted in World Heritage
status. As such, avenues for research are plentiful. The most obvious o
f these is the
‘why?’ question.



Why did these landscapes become pre
-
eminent ceremonial centres?


That both the A
vebury and Stonehenge parts of the WHS contain ostensibly unique
agglomerations of ceremonial earthworks is self
-
evident. But whether or not both
Stonehenge and Avebury were unique in the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age or if they
appear so now because they

are unique surv
ivals remains to be determined.

After the ‘whys’, the second most
-
obvious questions are the ‘whens’. These relate to
the structural sequences of individual sites (as Darvill’s Objective 5 in his 2005
Agenda to reduce the uncertainty attache
d to the current phasing of Stonehenge), as
well as the chronology of landscapes (as for instance the temporal relationships
between
the West Kennet enclosures, the Avebury henge ea
rthworks and Roughridge
Hill).

Further ques
tions address individual struct
ures, or grou
ps of structures, or practices:



How much can be said about the use of the sarsens
spreads

on and around
the Fyfield and Overton Downs (Fowler 2000, 8
-
11)?



Is it possible to trace their use?

Were
these spreads the source of some of the stones

at
Avebury and

Stonehenge?

Methods



I
dentify, characterise and date settlement features.


25

Even around Stonehenge, where fieldwalking and other programmes have been
extensive, the identification of “the ‘signature’ of the sorts of settlements (using the
t
erm here in a general sense) that might be expected [is]… not without its problems”
(Darvill 2005, 127: Objectiv
e 4: Understanding occupation).

As Cleal
et al.

note, the traces of settlement activity

around Avebury

are ephemeral,
most often consisting of s
urface scatters of worked flint and (occasionally) pottery.
More substantial remnants of middens, pits, and post and stake settings, along with
cultivated soils, are
less common
.

The situation is similar around Stonehenge, and in
both parts of the WHS (the

buildings uncovered within Durrington Walls
notwithstanding
) there is a general absence of any solid
ly

‘domestic’ architecture.

There are many aspects to this question including:



How should we understand Neolithic occupation;



where were the people living;



what did the settlements look like?


Where were people
living?

is often framed as a search for houses, but this in itself
begs a whole series of other questions: were there houses as we understand them? If
so, of what type? Would we be able to recognise t
hem if they were there? The single
-
minded quest for domestic architecture can divert attention away from less evocative
but more informative types of settlement evidence. “
Following a pattern seen
repeatedly across southern England, it is only from the mid
-
2nd millennium BC that
stable agricultural settlements and field systems appear
” (Cleal
et al.

2013, xx) and
given this it is perhaps self
-
defeating to insist on the continued search for the kinds of
Neolithic ‘villages’ that typify the LBK, for instance
.

A better question might then be
how should we understand Neolithic occupation, and what did the settlements look
like?



What is the relationship between settlement and other structures?



Evidence of the use of the landscape by Neolithic groups predates th
e construction of
the earliest elements of the ceremonial complexes at both Stonehenge and Avebury.
The series of (presumably changing) relationships between the continuing occupation
of the wider area and the emergence and development of the henges and su
rrounding
structures provides evidence of how people’s conceptions of that landscape did or did
not change.
Because this question is essentially diachronic, it has more than one
subject, and needs to address the relationships between (at the least):

-

early
settlement and other contemporary earthworks and buildings
(causewayed camps, long barrows, cursuses);

-

early settlement and later earthworks and buildings (henges, avenues, circles,
palisades, mounds);

-

later settlement and contemporary earthworks and build
ings (henges, avenues,
circles, palisades, mounds).


Traces of early occupation and activity in the form of scatters of lithics and ceramics
have been encountered in parts of the Stonehenge landscape both through fieldwalking
(Richards 1990, 22
-
4) and exca
vation (for instance from the Coneybury ‘Anomaly’
26

and adjacent to Robin Hood’s Ball (Richards 1990, 40
-
66) and on King Barrow Ridge
and Wilsford

and Stonehenge Downs (Cleal
et al.

1995, 474
-
6)). At Avebury, traces of
early activity survive as

scatters of w
orked flint and early carinated bowl and
Peterborough wares in the buried soil under the bank and within the interior of the
henge (Gray 1935; Passmore 1935; Smith 1965a, 224
-
6; Evans
et al
. 1985). To the
east, topsoil sampling and limited excavation in Ro
ugh Leaze identified scatters of
Early and Middle Neolithic flint, a series of early Holocene tree
-
throw pits containing
small quantities of artefactual material within their upper fills, and a concentration of
stake
-
holes likely associated with prehistori
c activity (Pollard
et al
. 2012).

The answers to these questions may pose a further set: if it transpires
that some

early
occupation was later built over, can we assume that the meanings inherent in the
‘monumentalised’ place existed previously? And if loc
ations were occupied and
abandoned, why did they cease to mean, or come to mean differently? In particular,
the investigation of the relationships between later Neolithic settlement and other
structures may assist in addressing a related question:
w
ere the

houses
within the
henge
at
Durrington Walls really houses?



What do surface artefact scatters tell us about modes of occupation?


Topsoil and ploughsoil scatters of worked flint along with casual finds of lithics and
ceramics provide the best evidence for

the presence and extent of settlement and
associated activity (Holgate 1987, 1988; Whittle
et al
. 2000). Many of the larger
scatters that have been identified around Avebury are located on the upper slopes and
higher ground around the main ceremonial comp
lex


effectively ‘looking in’. The
lithics contained within them indicate that some have formed through repeated
visitation over long periods of time (e.g. on the southern slope of Windmill Hill),
while others are dominated by distinctive Middle
-
Late Neol
ithic tool forms (e.g. the
foot of Avebury Down).



In addition to finds made during surface collection, traces of Neolithic occupation
have been encountered fortuitously during groundworks and in the excavation of
contemporary and later sites. A limited a
mount of research
-
led excavation has also
focussed on identifying settlement evidence (Whittle
et al
. 2000, Pollard
et al
. 2012).
Traces here take the form of buried artefact scatters (including dense concentrations
best interpreted as midden spreads), pit
s and other sub
-
soil features, fence
-
lines,
artificial surfaces and cultivated soils.


The detailed analysis of this body of material, bringing together existing work with
new studies (effectively updating the Stonehenge Environs Project for the whole
WHS)

would enable a proper interpretation of settlement patterns.




better understand the chronologies of key artefact types


Sites and assemblages which would repay new analysis include:

-

Durrington Walls (Wainwright and Longworth 1971)

-

Shrewton Barrow Ceme
tery (Green and Rollo
-
Smith 1984)

-

Wilsford Shaft (
Ashbee

et al.

1989)

-

Robin Hood’s Ball (Thomas 1964; Richards 1990)

27

-

Woodlands (Stone and Young 1948)

-

The West Kennet Avenue ‘occupation site’ lithics (Smith 1965a)

-

The Peterborough Ware and Late Ne
olithic and Early Bronze Age ceramics
and lithics from the West Kennet Long Barrow (Piggott 1962)

-

The Av
ebury G55 ‘midden’(Smith 1965b)




What did the landscape look like during monumental construction?


It wa
s probably only within the Early Neolithic
per
iod
that the first

major episod
es of
clearance within the

Stonehenge

region took place
, the Mesolithic having been
typified by only limited clearings
. This opening up of the landscape through the
clearance of forest was
probably

a gradual process, with reg
eneration of woodland
creating a complex mosaic of vegetation types (Cleal and Allen 1995).
Much of the
evidence suggests that many of the ceremonial earthworks of the period were
constructed in an open landscape. For example, analysis at Stonehenge showed

degraded rendzina soils prior to the initial phase of the site at

c.
3000 B.C., suggesting
that much of the immediately surrounding landscape must have been largely
deforested, comprising long
-
established open, probably grazed grassland prior to this
date

(Richards 1990, 108).

The extent and nature of Early Neolithic clearance in the

Stonehenge
region is still
difficult to establish (Allen 1990, 267). While the landscape of the initial phases of
Stonehenge appears to have been open, a short period of aband
onment seems to have
resulted in the encroachment and re
-
establishment of wooded scrub (Allen
et al.

1990). Molluscan evidence from the Durrington Walls area also indicates a potentially
open landscape during the preceding Early and Middle Neolithic (Evans

1971; Evans
and Jones 1979)
.

There is some indication of more wooded conditions prior to earthwork construction
from the north of Salisbury Plain at Knap Hill and Windmill Hill where molluscan
analysis suggests that wooded conditions existed prior to the
construction of the
enclosures in the Early Neolithic (Sparks 1965; Evans 1972, 242
-
48; Fishpool 1999).
Similar evidence is also seen at Avebury and Easton Down in the pre
-
Neolithic
(Evans
et al.

1985; Whittle
et al.

1993).

The buried soil profile under t
he Avebury henge bank contained

evidence of
associated clearance and cultivation, beginning with clearance of the early Holocene
woodland during the Early Neolithic, followed by cultivation and the formation of
grassland (Evans
et al
. 1985; Evans & O’Conno
r 1999, 202
-
4). Cultivation included
the use of an ard; uncommon on sites of this date, though similar and more extensive
ard marks of early
-
mid 4th
-
millennium BC date were recorded under the South Street
long barrow (Ashbee
et al
. 1979).

Opportunities to

increase the palaeoenvironmental dataset should not be overlooked,
and periodic synthesis
of that data should take place.



Review of oval barrows and the excavation of a selected example
.


In the 2005 Stonehenge Research Framework, Darvill identified this
as one of his ‘Big
Questions’ (Darvill 2005, 129, Objective 9). Only the Stonehenge Landscape Study is
28

identified in the subsequent update on research activity to 2012 (Darvill 2013 xx) as
having contributed to this Objective.



Why did these landscapes beco
me pre
-
eminent ceremonial centres?


One way of addressing this would be to examine Neolithic and Bronze Age activity in
the
Vale

of Pewsey. Recent and older excavations at Marden have suggested
similarities with Durrington Walls, and also with other sites
and complexes further
away, such as at Dorchester and Dorchester
-
on
-
Thames. Although the Vale of Pewsey
falls

bet
ween the WHS boundaries,
the
evidence to be found there

may well be critical
to understand
ing both Stonehenge and Avebury and the ways in which

they were
related. Also important here would be a consideration of the so
-
called fringe
monuments
such as the Marlborough Mound,
and

the less
e
r stone circles, e.g.
Clatford.

A subsidiary question relates to the direct connections between the two parts of
the
WHS: what were the overlaps between them in terms of

lifecycles and use
during

the
Neo
lithic and Early
B
ronze
A
ge
? Were the people of Avebury aware of what was
going on at Stonehenge
,

and
vice versa
?



What was the wider context of these complexes withi
n (variously) southern
England, the British Isles, and the rest of Europe?


The emergence of new techniques such as isotope analysis has led to an empirically
-
grounded appreciation of the degree of mobility operating among prehistoric
communities. One ques
tion resulting from this is
did high status people travel from
far and wide to be buried here?



Structure, sequence and chronology


Most questions related to these topics these could be advanced through:

-

Programmes of radiocarbon dating

T
he archives of al
l
excavated

Neolithic and
Early
Bronze Age
site
s in the
WHS
should be examined for surviving materials suitable for dating
. In the case of
the Avebury henge, an unpublished study by Alex Bayliss of English
Heritag
e’s Scientific Dating Team showed

that far
greater precision could be
achieved by dating further extant antler picks. The West Kennet palisade
enclosures yielded large quantities of animal bone and charcoal (Edwards and
Horne 1997; Cartwright 1997) so that the potential for selecting better samples

should be high.

Unpublished excavations should be brought to publication.

-

Targeted excavation

Limited closely targeted excavation or re
-
excavation should be considered to
obtain stratigraphic information and dateable material.

29

-

Material chronologies

Th
e
chronological models for Beaker and other early burials
need to be refined,
along
side

further studies of differences in depositional practice between
Grooved Ware and Beaker ceramics
. T
he significance of the Grooved Ware
assemblage at Stonehenge

needs to

be investigated.

30

Early Bronze Age

What Do We Know?

Early Bronze Age activity in both parts of the WHS is most obvious in the groups of
barrows which typify the downs around both Avebury (over 300: Cleal
et al.

2013, xx)
and Stonehenge (perhaps as many as

800 examples: Darvill 2005, 63). These however
are only the most visible of range of practices occurring in and around the earlier
ceremonial complexes.

At Avebury, the henge, avenues and Sanctuary at first continued to be foci for
attention: pottery and
other materials have been found as well as the single burials
against some of the stones of the West Kennet Avenue. Later, activity moved away
from the centres, with a ‘re
-
colonisation’ of the high downs visible (Cleal
et al
2013,
xx). Flat grave cemeterie
s and single sarsen
-
capped burials (on for instance Overton
Hill and Beckhampton) are also known, and evidence of cultivation also increases.

At Stonehenge, the henge itself seems not to have been a place utilised for any activity
that left an archaeologic
al trace (apart from the X and Y holes dating to the very end of
the period). Settlement in the surrounding landscape is hinted at by flint and pottery
scatters at Long Barrow Crossroads, on Durrington Down, Wilsford Down, King
Barrow Ridge, west of Stoneh
enge and between the Cursus and Packway (Darvill
2005, 65).

Significance

As with the Neolithic, activity in the Early Bronze Age is of
primary significance
. The
round barrows are the most numerous type of prehistoric structure in the WHS are
contribute di
rectly to World Heritage Status.

Questions

As with the evidence for the period, questions relating to the Early Bronze Age tend to
focus on the barrow cemeteries. At a basic level, these divide into two sets: those
concerned with
relationships

and those co
ncerned with
chronology
. The questions
relating to the former cannot be addressed without first addressing the latter. Some are
concerned with
barrow cemeteries
, while others are more appropriately directed to
individual barrows

whether part of a cemetery
or not.

The structure of this section draws on and to a large extent précis the
Archaeological
Research Framework for Normanton Down

(Needham
et al.

2010b). That document
provides a very detailed agenda for a single barrow cemetery, much of which is
german
e to a consideration of the barrows within the WHS in general (although

mound
-
specific agendas (which are not attempted here) would differ according to the
previous history of investigation and the particular questions asked of each example).


The requi
rements of an agenda for the barrows as a whole can be summarised as a
thorough review of existing knowledge

and assessment of the impact of previous
work; non
-
invasive research; and targeted small
-
scale intervention. These methods
would enable the advance
ment of enquiry into environmental and cultural context;
sequence; absolute date; and affinities.

31

Darvill noted that, although the barrow cemeteries formed one of the most
conspicuous parts of the Stonehenge landscape “very little is known about them. None

remains intact, and yet none has been excavated to modern standards… Nationally,
very few barrow cemeteries have been looked at in their entirety” (2005, 129). A
number of more recent projects have begun to address some of the outstanding
problems of the
barrow cemeteries in the Stonehenge region (summarised by Darvill
2013), but research is still most notable for its absence (Needham
et al.

(2010, 1) note
that the “limited amount of more recent [post
-
early 19
th

century] archaeological work
on this key blo
ck of landscape [the Normanton Down barrows] is surprising and
constrains comprehension of the broader development of the Stonehenge Environs”).
In the Avebury part of the WHS there has been even less systematic study.

In the Stonehenge part of the WHS thi
s work has begun to demonstrate how much can
be gained from analytical survey in terms of phasing between adjacent barrows and
even (in the case of the First Monuments Project geophysical surveys of the Cursus
Group
: Darvill
et al.

2013
) within individual
barrow structures.
The distribution of
barrows around Avebury is very

different
. Nevertheless a
similar set of
field
projects
and re
-
assessment of archives of 19
th

and early 20
th

century excavations would
be
likely to
yield valuable results.

Chronology

The

chronology of the individual barrows and barrow cemeteries remains key to
answering many of the questions regarding them. Given this, it is a lamentable fact
that there are only four dated examples in the Avebury WHS (Hemp Knoll, Roundway
G8, West Overton

G1 and G19: Healey 2013, xx
-
xx) and 11 in Darvill’s list for the
Stonehenge WHS (2005, 153
-
6: Amesbury G39. G51, G61, G71 and G72; Durrington
Down 7; Shrewton 5a, 5k, 24 and 25; and Winterbourne Stoke 44, although some few
new dates have been obtained sin
ce then


particularly the dates from Wilsford G1
(Leivers and Moore 2008) and the first secure date for a Wessex 1 burial, from
Overton G1 (Needham
et al.

2010a)).

There is, then, a need to:



establish the chronology of individual barrows and barrow cemet
eries;



elucidate
th
e phasing of barrow structures.


Relationships

Questions of relationships have several aspects. Necessarily they require an
understanding of chronology and sequence, both of individual barrows and of groups.
Obviously they relate to the
literal proximity of the barrows and barrow cemeteries to
the ceremonial complexes, and could include such matters as viewsheds and
intervisibility. But they also require a consideration of landscapes within which the
barrows were constructed. Avebury and
Stonehenge did not stand at the centres of
homogenous blank canvasses onto which the barrows could be dropped, but rather lay
within a heterogeneous complex of changing natur
al and inhabited environments.



Where were the earlier/later barrows placed in rel
ation to Stonehenge and
Avebury?


32



Are there changes over time in the location of barrows that might illuminate
changing perspectives on the
ir

significance

and the significance of
Stonehenge and Avebury
?


These raise a series of
dependent questions concerni
ng:



Palaeoenvironment and land
-
use history



Evidence for other activity in the landscape


One further specific question is:




Are the barrows of Avebury really 'poorer' than their Stonehenge
counterparts?



Cleal noted that “in comparison to the area around
Stonehenge, the Avebury and
Marlborough Downs appear relatively poor in grave goods (2005, 124). Is this an
effect of different histories of preservation and investigation, or is the distinction real?

While the barrows and barrow cemeteries tend to dominat
e considerations of the
archaeology in the WHS, there are other aspects of the period which require further
investigation. One such is:



What is the significance of rock art?


Darvill's O
bjective
7

(2005, 128) has now been fulfilled by a programme of laser
scanning (Abbott and Anderson
-
Whymark 2012), which increased the number of
prehistoric carvings on the stones from 47 to 118. Dating (based on the apparent
typology of the axes and daggers represented) places these in the period 1750


1500
BC. Why these c
arvings were made


and the significance which Stonehenge had for
the people who made them
-

remains to be investigated.



Dating


Given the number of Bronze Age burials that have been excavated in the area (Cleal
2005, 125

32), there is scope for further da
ting, especially of individuals buried with
Beakers against the stones of the West Kennet Avenue, the Longstones Cove and the
Sanctuary, since this would clarify the history of the settings and of the interaction of
different traditions. Now that cremated
bone is directly datable, and from very small
samples, the
chronology of the
burial record of the later second millennium could be
improved.

Methods



Establish the chronology of individual barrows and barrow cemeteries.



This can be achieved via a programm
e of absolute dating. Some dates may have been
provided by recent wider
-
ranging programmes of research (The Beaker People Project,
for instance). Where suitable material from existing excavations can be identified this
should be utilised, but in its absenc
e there should be no reluctance to obtain samples
33

through targeted excavation, since without a secure chronology, none of the other
research priorities can be addressed. Modern re
-
excavation of antiquarian trenches
could retrieve skeletal elements overlook
ed or discarded by earlier investigators.



Elucidate
th
e phasing of barrow structures.


T
he internal

development of barrows is

poorly understood
, in part due to the nature of
many of the earliest excavations. Construction methods and the possibility of epi
sodic
or sequential construction are largely unexamined. Importantly, complex burial
sequences (simultaneous burials or intercutting sequences) are often invisible in the
records of early excavations. All of these
could be addressed by programmes of
geophy
sical survey and targeted excavation
. Recent work using ground penetrating
radar has demonstrated the potential for key new evidence to be obtained using non
-
invasive techniques, but has also highlighted the difficulty of demonstrating sequence,
funerary r
ite, date and cultural context without excavation. Re
-
excavation of
antiquarian excavations has been variously successful, depending on how much of the
original deposits survive, but should be pursued whe
rever possible.



Palaeoenvironment and land
-
use histo
ry


Prehistoric environmen
ts were often a patchwork
of rapidly changing habitats.

Allen,
in his summary of the available information, described the database from the
Stonehenge environs as still ‘frighteningly small’ (1997, 138).

This is particularly the
c
ase south of the A303, where limited exploration suggests areas of soil depletion
which might have had an effect on land use

(Norcott, Allen and Stevens 2008)
.

As well as ascertaining the general succession through time, detailed maps of
vegetation and soi
l type across space and through time

might, for example, show
va
riations in land use across the parts of the WHS, on individual blocks of downland,
or
highlight
local phases of abandonment relating to the di
suse of one part or other of
particular cemeterie
s
.

In a

chalk environment, molluscan

remains would undoubtedly
be the primary data for vegetation reconstruction, but all others should be
systematically sought. An assumption has to be made that barrows in close proximity
are unlikely to give rise to radi
cal differences in background vegetation cover at any
given moment in time and therefore that cross
-
correlation of the vegetational
sequence established for each monument is viable.
If good environmental markers
occur in separate sequences and can be cross
-
matched, there is the potential to
establish more refined sequences of construction than radiocarbon dating would
permit.

Soil micromorphology and chemistry would be essential adjunctive analyses
bearing on both environmental conditions and land use. Wher
e independent dating
evidence was available, it would serve to fix the sequences to an absolute chronology
as well as providing a coarse check on a
ny cross
-
sequence correlations.

If evidence for agricultural activity prior to mound construction were to be
found (as,
for example, at Amesbury G70 and G71 (Christie 1967) and South Street Long
Barrow, Avebury (Fowler and Evans 1967)), it might constitute an important rebuttal
of the apparent absence of earlier land use
.
A
lternative hypotheses
have been
advanced

that some barrow cemeteries (for instance
Normanton Down


Needham
et
al.

2010; Cleal
et al.
1995, 410)
may have been
constructed in
either neglected zone
s

or one
s

of special function


choosing between these will depend on
independent
34

evidence for the st
ate of the landscape and its utilization before and during cemetery
development. Evidence relating to land use could also show whether its intensity was
changing, for example increasing grazing pressure causing soil erosion. This could
potentially be linke
d to the relative fortunes of the resident populations and perhaps
their corresponding funerary sequences.



Evidence for other activity in the landscape


The funerary activities associated with the barrows and barrow cemeteries need to be
placed in a social

context: they were only one aspect of prehistoric life. If we are to
understand the crucial relationship between burial customs and the rest of life, it is
vital to establish what other activities were pursued by the living communities in and
around the a
reas where

the barrows came to be built.

As with the Neolithic period, these activities and their locations can be characterised
by considerations of evidence obtained through programmes of systematic
fieldwalking and survey (see for instance Richards 199
0, fig 10; Cleal
et al

1995, 240;
English Heritage Fieldwalking Survey at Stonehenge and Avebury WHS,

Salisbury,
unpublished, Wessex Archaeology Refs 52535.505 March 2004, 67210.01 March
2008; Wheatl
ey 1996).

There is also the question of other types of b
urial, both around and away from the
barrows. Around Avebury, these include the single burials against some of the stones
of the West Kennet Avenue, as well as flat grave cemeteries and single sarsen
-
capped
burials. Around Stonehenge, some burials appear t
o cluster around barrows (at, for
instance, Wilsford G1: Leivers and Moore 2008). Geophysical survey and LIDAR
imagery have both proven useful in the i
dentification of such features.

35

Middle and Late Bronze Age

What Do We Know?

The immediate answer to this

question varies according to which part of the WHS it is
addressed to. For Avebury, the answer appears to be “very little”. As Mullin points out
(2013, xx) the Middle Bronze Age was absent from the original Avebury research
agenda while the later Bronze A
ge is “Avebury’s Dark Age” (Gillings and Pollard
2004, 85). That these characterisations are more products of the arbitrary nature of the
WHS boundaries than reflections of prehistoric realities is made evident by the
eastwards extension of the WHS to incl
ude parts of the extensive field systems on
Fyfield Down, at least parts of which are likely to originate in the Middle and
Late
Bronze Ages (Fowler 2000).

For Stonehenge, the picture is rather different, with at least four settlements known;
much of the i
nfilling of the Wilsford Shaft dated by radiocarbon to the entirety of the
period; at least two metalwork hoards; and the large areas occupied by field systems
and crossed by linear ditches. At least some of the people inhabiting these settlements
and usin
g the field systems are buried in flat cemeteries and inser
ted into earlier round
barrows.

Significance

In terms of the WHS and its significance, many of the questions relating to the Middle
and Late Bronze Age are of
secondary significance
. Few have any d
irect bearing upon
the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age ceremonial complexes. Questions of
primary
significance

are listed first below.

Questions

Virtually all of the evidence for both Middle and Late Bronze Age activity at
Stonehenge and Avebury come from t
he wider landscapes at a distance from the
ceremonial complexes. One very basic question then is
:




what was happening within the ceremonial complexes at Stonehenge and
Avebury?



Is there merely a lack of evidence for activity, or were these places actuall
y being
avoided? What does
the
evidence
(or lack of it)
for later activities at Avebury and
Stonehenge tell us about continuities or changes in the significance of these sites
during the later 2
nd

millennium and beyond?

A question relating to the relations
hips between earlier and later Bronze Age activity
and the influence of the former on the latter concerns field systems. T
he
matter of the
spatial relationships between later B
ronze
A
ge

activities and those dating to the
Neo
lithic and Early
B
ronze
A
ge larg
ely remains t
o be explored. One question is:



is there any evidence that field boundaries were either deliberately sighted
on pre
-
existing barrows, or actively avoided them?


36

The remaining questions are of
secondary significance
.

Middle and Late B
ronze
A
ge

land use is still poorly understood
, and questions
relatin
g to it are many. They include:



how are settlements distributed in relation to field systems?



Can episodes of colluviation and alluviation be dated, and if so can they be
linked to changes in land u
se?




What is the chronology of various elements of the field systems?


Fundamental work still needs to be carried out into the nature of the “natural”
landscape during the later Bronze Age and the effect which cultivation had on this,
especially in terms o
f soil fertility and erosion
.

Barber (2005, 148) has called for the detailed examination of reported
find spots

of
metalwork as a way of gathering more detailed contextual information about the
process of deposition, but further work on the landscape locat
ion of hoards and single
finds needs to be carried out, especially in the light of recent work carried out
in
south
-
east England (Yates and Bradley 2010a; Yates and Bradley 2010b).

The Owen Meyrick collection in Devizes Museum demonstrates the usefulness o
f
large
-
scale fieldwalking and, although a catalogue of this material has been published
(Swanton 1987), very little work has been carried out on pottery fabrics or the
depositional context of vessels. The significant assemblage of
Deverel

Rimbury

ceramics

from West Overton G19 also remains unpublished.

T
he transition into the earliest Iron Age remains an area which requires further, fuller
investigation. In particular the level of continuity between these periods, the pace of
change and the reorganisation
of both the landscape and the society which produced it
should be investigated.

Methods



what was happening within the ceremonial complexes at Stonehenge and
Avebury?



One possible means of addressing this situation may be the Stonehenge Palisade
and/or Ga
te Ditch. Whether those two features are in fact the same remains to be
confirmed, as does the date of the construction and use of either part. Even if the
feature itself is not Bronze Age, it formed a focus for activity in that period and
afterwards. It u
rgently
requires further investigation.

A second means of investigation may be the presence or absence of Middle Bronze
Age burials in the flanks and ditches of earlier barrows. In the Stonehenge region,
such burials tend to be very specifically clustered
(around Amesbury G107
-
111 and
Wilsford G57a
-
f; apparently absent on Normanton Down: Needham
et al.

2010b).
The reality of this distribution and its significance should be investigated.




Field systems


37

Detailed study of aerial photographs to identify field
patterns and settlement
distribution


effectively extending the coverage of the Fyfield and Overton Down
Project

(Fowler 2000) westwards


would allow many of the questions relating to
fields, settlements and earlier activity to be addressed. Material sui
table for absolute
dating may survive in museum collections, but carefully targeted excavation of fields,
cemeteries and valley bottom sites will undoubtedly be necessary in order to address
questions of sequence, environmen
tal change and human behaviour.



38

Iron Age

What Do We Know?

While “the Iron Age of the… WHS is poorly understood” (Chadburn and Corney
2001, 9) it is at least attested to by a growing body of evidence. For Avebury,
Fitzpatrick is able to list two enclosed settlements within the WHS and
another seven
in the surroundings, with unenclosed settlements represented by pits and artefact
scatters rather more numerous. Very few have been excavated recently, or subjected to
dating programmes. In the Stonehenge part of the WHS, works in advance of
the A303
revealed an enclosed Iron Age settlement at Scotland Lodge, just to the west of
Winterbourne
Stoke (Leivers and Moore 2008).

Significance

As with the later Bronze Age, only those questions relating directly to the Neolithic
and Early Bronze Age ce
remonial complexes are of primary significance.

Questions

The repeated question of the relationships (if any) between Iron Age activity and the
earlier ceremonial centres is of
primary significance
. For the Iron

Age, the possibility
of activi
t
y at Silbury
Hill (and its nature) needs to be addressed.

As was the case in 2001 (Corney and Chadburn 2001, 67) one of the key requirements
for the study of the Iron Age, if not
the

fundamental building block, is to firmly
establish the types of sites present in and c
lose to the World Heritage Site, and their
date.

The priorities for the Iron Age in the South West Archaeological Research
Framework (Webster 2008) focussed on the need to better understand the material
culture of the period, including its chronology (Rese
arch Aims 11, 14 and 16f), and
the agricultural basis of the ordinary farms that are typical of the period (Research
Aims 17b, 19d, 21c and 40), and this is also true of the areas in and around the World
Heritage Site. At present the range of settlements w
ithin the World Heritage Site and
their date is poorly understood and knowledge of the agricultural basis is limited.
Only a small assemblage of animal bone was found at Overton Down X/XI and the
work was done before the recovery of charred plant remains h
ad begun.

Methods

The programmes of arable reversion mean that in certain areas within the World
Heritage Site there will be few opportunities for fieldwalking that might lead to the
discovery of later prehistoric settlements, even if pottery were to survi
ve in the
ploughsoil. Research should be directed to enhancing the existing resource and it is
recommended t
hat the following be undertaken:



the systematic collation of the evidence for later prehistoric settlement in the
World Heritage Site and the study
area.



the assessment and spot dating


but not detailed analysis


of the later
prehistoric pottery from within the World Heritage Site and the study area held
39

in museum collections (SWARF Research Aims: 11, 14, 16f). Particular
attention should be paid t
o the Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age as there is
very important evidence from this period from the settlements and midden
sites in the adjacent Vale of Pewsey (Lawson 2000; McOmish
et al
. 2010;
Tubb 2011) and there are also a number of important hoards and

associations
of metalwork from Wiltshire.



the collation of the range of activities represented by all the finds from within
the World Heritage Site and the study area (SWARF Research Aims: 6, 11,
14, 21 and 40)



the collation of this evidence with that fro
m the English Heritage National
Mapping Programme of aerial photography and the recent LIDAR survey
(SWARF Research Aim: 1a and 2)



geophysical survey and, where possible, fieldwalking, of all known certain and
possible later prehistoric settlements within
the World Heritage Site only
(including Overton Down X/XI) (SWARF Research Aim: 2)


Many of these suggestions were put forward by Chadburn and Corney (2001, 67
-
8) in
addition to proposals for work in the Vale of Pewsey and near Marlborough. With the
except
ion of work in the Vale of Pewsey (Tubb 2011, 3, 99
-
122) little or no p
rogress
has been made on their p
ropo
sals in the intervening period.

The more geographically restricted work proposed here does not involve invasive
fieldwork or materials analysis. As s
uch it would be relatively inexpensive and it
could be undertaken in one or more appropriately directed a
nd supervised Masters
projects.

This would result in a soundly based and even statement of the current state of
knowledge which could be set against ot
her surveys (e.g. Robinson 1997; McOmish
et al
. 2002; Bowden 2005) and the review of the pottery would also increase the value
of the Meyrick collection more generally, which includes finds
from across northern
Wiltshire.

Without such a review it will rema
in difficult to identify any avenues for further
research. For example is the apparent rarity of Middle Iron Age settlement in and near
to the World Heritage Site genuine or apparent? (SWARF Research Aim: 3k). If
genuine, can it be correlated with the buil
ding of the hillforts around the World
Heritage Site as has been speculated? (Fowle
r 2000, 225; Bowden 2005, 162).

Equally, without a clear and consistent evidence base for the later prehistoric periods
in and around the World Heritage Site, understanding
of how the earlier monuments
may have been regarded at this time will remain speculative.


40

Romano
-
British period

There appear to be both similarities and significant differences in the character of
Romano
-
British activity in the two areas of the WHS. The
Avebury area is bisected
by the Roman road between the Roman small towns of
Cunetio

and
Verlucio
, and an
extensive, organised roadside settlement was established, approximately midway
between them, at the foot of Silbury Hill, and extending up the Winterbo
urne to
within 1km of the Avebury henge. The Stonehenge complex of monuments, in
contrast, appears to have lain more off the beaten track in the Roman period, the road
running north from
Sorviodumun

to
Cunetio

(probably a Romanised trackway)
passing up the

east side of the Avon valley,
c.

4 km from Durrington Walls and
c.

5
km from Stonehenge. Nonetheless, economic activity in both areas will have been
influenced by the access to wider urban markets provided by these roads linking the
towns.

Sorviodunum

wa
s established beside the Iron Age hillfort of Old Sarum and
Cunetio

may have replaced the suggested Late Iron Age
oppidum

at Forest Hill, and in many
aspects the wider patterns of Romano
-
British rural settlement and land use also appear
to have been contin
uations of those found in the Late Iron Age. The Iron Age
enclosure complex at East Kennett, for example, appears to have continued into the
Roman period, as does the Late Iron Age possible ‘valley fort’ at Durrington and the
settlement on Boscombe Down We
st, east of the Avon valley. The downland field
systems on Fyfield and Overton Down, and many of those recorded extensively across
Salisbury Plain, also had pre
-
Roman origins but were modified and expanded in the
Roman period.

In both areas there appear to

have been a range of settlement types extending from the
valleys up onto the downs, including villas and other substantial buildings. Within the
Avebury area this is evidence for a possible villa north
-
west Avebury Trusloe, with
others in the surrounding
landscape, such as at Cherhill, West Overton, Preshute and
Draycot. In the Stonehenge landscape the Avon valley appears to have been a focus
for villa settlement, as at Figheldean and Netheravon.

There is evidence for other settlements, of varying types, o
n Cherhill Down, Fyfield
Down and Overton Down, and to the south flanking the Vale of Pewsey at Knap Hill,
Huish Hill, east of Gopher Wood, and Martinsell Hill, and at Honeystreet within the
Vale. Furthermore, local fieldwalking has revealed a number of no
table
concentrations of Romano
-
British finds, such as at Winterbourne Monkton, East
Kennett and West Overton. There was a wide range of settlement types on Salisbury
Plain, include nucleated and linear village settlements. On the downland, east of the
Rive
r Avon, there are extensive settlement remains south
-
east of Amesbury, and a
significant part of the landscape on Amesbury Down appears to have been reserved
for burial grounds in the form of five cemeteries, containing
c.

350 graves.

Finds of Romano
-
Briti
sh material from hillforts indicates some continuing use of
these locations as well, although the nature of that use is not always clear. The finding
of stone roof tiles at Oldbury, for example, points to a substantial building, possibly a
temple. The re
-
u
se of hillforts for possibly religious and ritual activity, may be part of
a more general pattern of activity at visible ‘ancient’ monuments in the Romano
-
British landscape, and raises questions about the possible significance of the location
of the settle
ment at Silbury Hill. The presence there of wells or shafts apparently
41

containing ‘structured’ deposits may be a reflection of the distinctive character of the
settlement.

Roman coins were found in the façade area of the West Kennet long barrow. Within
Av
ebury itself, a parchmark comprising a circular features surrounding a square is of
interest in relation to possible Romano
-
British religious activity. Other evidence for
possible religious or ritual activity includes the large number of miniature bronze
f
ibulae

from Winterbourne Monkton Down, possibly votive in character; perhaps
similarly, numerous miniature bronze axe heads were found at All Cannings Cross.
Roman pottery and coins have also been found at a number of barrows and other
prehistoric sites in

the Stonehenge landscape, including Stonehenge itself, although
what type of activity such finds signify is unclear.

Burials of Roman date are know from near Silbury Hill, but more unusual are the
Roman barrow burials beside the Roman road on Overton Hill
, possibly just within
sight of the top of Silbury Hill, and possibly mimicking an ancient form of burial
widely visible in the landscape.

The main evidence for industrial activity close to the WHS is that of the Savernake
pottery industry, which may have

had its origins in the Late Iron age, and which
continued into the 3rd century AD, with major kiln groups at Withy Copse, Oare, at
Broomsgrove Farm, and to the west of Martinsell hillfort.

Primary research questions

Settlement and land use patterns

To wh
at extent (if any) were the general distribution of settlement in the WHS, and
the patterns of land use, affected by the presence of ‘ancient’ monuments in the
landscape?

Silbury Hill settlement

To what extent was the location of the settlement next to Sil
bury Hill determined by
the presence of that monument, and the proximity of Avebury, or does it simply
reflect at useful midpoint, close to water and springs, between the two small towns of
Cunetio

and
Verlucio
?

To what extent did the settlement have a re
ligious and ritual function focused on the
adjacent ancient monuments, and possibly also the springs, as reflected by the
reported evidence for structured deposition in shafts and wells?

The extensive settlement has an organised appearance, but what was it
s initial focus
and how did it develop?

Communications

Were the buildings to the north of the Roman road at Silbury positioned along a
trackway leading to Avebury?

It there evidence that the Silbury settlement had a
mansio

or
mutatio
?

42

Is there any evidence

that communication routes across the Stonehenge landscape
were influenced by the presence or locations of the monuments.

Ritual and other uses of ‘ancient’ monuments

Are there recognisable patterns of activity, including ritual/religious activity, at the
existing ‘ancient’ monuments within the landscape, including Neolithic monuments,
Bronze Age barrows and Iron Age hillforts.

Are there indications that the finds, particularly metalwork, from such sites were
votive?

How does the activity at earlier monume
nts compare to that found more widely in
Britain (and in Europe)?

Is there evidence of stone
-
robbing from the monuments for the construction of Roman
villas (or other buildings)

Is there any relationship between the monuments and the locations of Romano
-
Br
itish
burials and cemeteries?

Secondary research questions

The influence of Roman towns and roads

The character of the
Cunetio
and

Verlucio

remain unclear, and although well outside
the WHS, the nature of these towns, and of
Sorviodunum

south of Stonehenge
, are
likely to have had a bearing of the patterns of social, economic and religious life in the
intervening landscape.

Why did
Cunetio

see massive refortification in the late Romano
-
British period?

What was the nature of these towns in the late Romano
-
Bri
tish period?

In addition to the known Roman roads, can any other routeways through the
landscape be identified, including navigable waterways?

Settlement pattern

To what extent was there continuity of occupation at Iron Age settlements?

How much of the so
cial, economic and settlement pattern evolved from the Late Iron
Age framework, how much was intrusive?

What relationships are there between different types of settlement and different
landscape zones?

Are aspects of social organisation evident in settleme
nt variability?

Is the apparent absence of settlement in some areas of the landscape real (i.e. on the
lower chalk north
-
west of Avebury, or in the Vale of Pewsey), and if so what might
be the cause?

43

How were villas distributed within the landscape, and to

what extent can Romano
-
British land units be identified from known Anglo
-
Saxon estates?

Land use

What was the make
-
up of the landscape in terms of arable land, pasture, meadow,
scrub and woodland? Is there evidence for water management in the river valley
s?

Can the Romano
-
British field systems be clearly distinguished from those of earlier
and later date, and if so what does their form and extent tell us about land use and
agricultural production?

To what extent were prehistoric field systems used, modifie
d, over
-
ridden and added
to in the Romano
-
British period?

Are there patterns of change in land use over the Romano
-
British period, reflecting
more widespread economic and agricultural changes?

Is there evidence for managed woodland, for example of areas o
f clay
-
with
-
flints, and
how might this relate to evidence of industrial production such as the Savernake
pottery industry, or exploitation of iron deposits at Westbury?

Industry

Is there evidence for a pre
-
Roman date for Savernake pottery and when did it d
ecline,
and can the dating of the more general ERB and LRB ceramic sequences be
improved?

44

Post
-
Roman and early Saxon period

There are clear similarities in the patterns of

post
-
Roman and e
arly Saxon activity in
the two areas of the WHS. One is the general

abandonment of downland settlement in
favour of a new focus in the river valleys. There are suggestions in the Stonehenge
landscape of short
-
term continuity of activity

within some Romano
-
British downland
settlements, such as a very late hoard of Romano
-
B
ritish coins, believed to have been
deposited after AD 405 on Amesbury Down (the Butterfield Down site) and the
presence of possible sunken featured building (SFB), albeit containing only Romano
-
British pottery.

In the Avebury landscape
the downs ceased t
o be important
c.

AD 500 and
appear

not
to have been important

again until
c.

1050
. As at Stonehenge, there was a clear shift
of focus
to the valleys,
and
their immediate slopes
.

At Avebury, SFBs are recorded
west of the henge, while others are recorded in

the Avon valley, as at Figheldean, and
the group of five found at Countess East, at the Stonehenge visitor centre site, which
points to the presence of a substantial early/mid
-
Saxon settlement on the valley edge.
This pattern develops through the
later
Sa
xon period resulting in chains of settlements
being established along the valleys. The fact that the Saxon villages did not generally
overly earlier, Romano
-
British settlements (with the exception of the Fyfield villa)
may indicate that the gradual influx
of early Saxons settlers establishing themselves at
the edges of Roman estates.

The other broad similarity between the two WHS areas, as well as more widely, is the
frequent re
-
use of prehistoric barrows as burial sites. At Avebury, for example, there
were

inhumation burials in a Bronze Age round barrow and three 2nd century
Romano
-
British tombs at West Overton, near the crossroads of the Roman road and
the Ridgeway, the latter possibly established as a communication route at this date.
Similar intrusive bu
rials have been found in round barrows in the Stonehenge
landscape.

This was a period of significant political changes, although this is more evident in the
Avebury Landscape with the construction of the Wansdyke, a major boundary
earthwork

running across
the downs between the Kennet valley (and the line of the
Roman road) to the north and the Vale of Pewsey to the south. There was no
equivalent feature in the Stonehenge landscape, although the river valley may have
been significant in defining territorial
units.

Primary research questions

Settlement and land use patterns

Is there evidence that the patterns of Saxon settlement and land use were affected by
the presence within the landscape of the ‘ancient’ monuments?

What determined the locations of the earl
y Saxon settlements, and any subsequent
shifts?

Is there any pattern in the relationship between the locations of Saxon settlement and
the valley
-
sited monuments, such as Silbury Hill, Avebury henge and Durrington
Walls?

45

What range of activities were under
taken at or close to earlier, upstanding
monuments?

Land division

To what extent were prehistoric monuments, Roman settlements and other landscape
features used in defining Saxon estate boundaries, and are they referred to in late
Saxon charters?


Communic
ations

How important was the Roman road between
Cunetio

and
Verlucio

in the Saxon
period. What was its condition, particularly on the valley floor?

What relationship might the Roman road have had with the Wansdyke to the south?

Is there any evidence that
communication routes across the landscape were influences
by the presence or locations of monuments.

The Ridgeway at Avebury is possibly of early Saxon origin, although not documented
until the 10th century

Burial

Are there variations in the re
-
use of preh
istoric barrows patterns for intrusive Saxon
burial, for example in locations within the landscape, proximity to earlier monuments
etc?

The 7th century decapitated inhumation Stonehenge Y
-
Hole 9 suggests that the
monument may have been a Saxon execution si
te; is there supporting evidence from
this or other monuments, and how might this reflect the marginal locations of the
monuments?

A

small number of
burial
sites discovered around Avebury be
long to a particular
tradition,
but the burial record of the major
ity of the population is missing
.

Is there evidence, such as the burial in a bog of a young woman, covered in planks, at
Lake in the Avon valley, that rivers or other features of the natural landscape had
particular significance?

A study of the relationshi
ps between modern, medieval, early post
-
Roman and Roman
settlement and churches to investigate the survival or otherwise of Christianity
.

What role did prehistoric monuments play in the lives of Anglo
-
Saxon communities
and to what extent were they ‘Christi
anized’ in the later first millennium AD
replacing earlier, and potentially very deep
-
rooted ideologies.

Politics

What roles might the Avebury monuments, and the Roman road (and the towns it
connected), had had in the defining of political boundaries, part
icularly the
Wansdyke, in the Saxon period?

46

Secondary research questions

Settlement and land use

What was the relationship between Romano
-
British and Saxon patterns of settlement
and land use?

Is the evidence for the conti
nued occupation of Roman villas?

We
re

materials robbed
from villas and re
-
used in Saxon settlements
?

What is the pattern of settlement and land use both within and away from the river
valley?

Waterlogged deposits should be sought to assist in expanding the
environmental evidence
.

What was

the nature of the agricultural economy?

Is there evidence for valley floor land management?

Chronology

The establishment of a chronological framework

for the Saxon period

is of very high
importance

Political change

Did the refortification of
Cunetio

in th
e late Romano
-
British period have any
continuing political impact in the Saxon period?

When was the Wansdyke built, what was its purpose?

What was the nature of Saxon activity at
Cunetio

and
Verlucio

with relationship to
Wansdyke
?

Burial

The study of exist
ing human and animal remains to indicate diet, health and economy.
Location of settlements and burials would greatly enhance these investigations
.

47

Mid

late Saxon and medieval periods

Many of the potential research issues for this period, relating to patte
rns of settlement
and land use, to political, territorial and administrative land divisions, to burial
practices and religious beliefs, to the environment and the economy, are applicable in
the wider landscape, and not uniquely relevant to either of the Wo
rld Heritage Site
areas. There are, however, some aspects of mid

late Saxon and medieval activity
which appear to have been influenced by the presence within the landscape of features
surviving from the prehistoric and Roman past. Such activity, in turn, h
ad an impact
on those features, whether as a result of deliberate re
-
use, modification or destruction,
or of their unintentional degradation through agriculture, traffic or other processes.

It is unclear what influence the prehistoric monuments had on patt
erns of mid

late
Saxon and medieval activity, although there appears to some contrast in the two areas
of the WHS. At Avebury, the medieval settlement, possibly developing from a 9th
century
defensible
burh
,

was focused closely on the henge, eventually ext
ending into
its interior, while in the Avon valley, the village of Durrington, based around two
manors (East and West), developed some distance to the north of the Durrington
Walls henge.

How such ‘pagan’ ancient monuments were viewed over the course of t
his period is
therefore unclear. Avebury appears to have been, the only settlement deliberately
established in close proximity to a major prehistoric monument, and the limited signs
of activity at other monuments are hard to characterise or draw general co
nclusions
from.

Primary research issues

Settlement

Is any pattern discernible in the locations of settlement and other activity in relation to
the prehistoric monuments, from which general conclusions can be drawn about how
the monuments were perceived a
nd treated in this period?

Changing significance of prehistoric monuments in the medieval world


Church’s
attitudes to the

monuments, siting of burial
s
, shrines and churches in relation to
monuments

Land division

What role (if any) did prehistoric monumen
ts have in the delineating of land
boundaries?

Communication

What role (if any) did prehistoric monuments have on communication routes, and to
what extent were they impacted by them?

Religion and belief

Treatment of the standing stones


contrast between

Avebury and Stonehenge

48

Investigation of the Waden Hill burial(s) and their date, and the possible cemetery
near the Sanctuary;

Waden Hill with its Old English
weoh

(temple, shrine)

Investigation of double
-
ditched possible Saxon shrine in Avebury henge

Th
e Late Anglo
-
Saxon structure on Silbury Hill

Land use and economy

Mapping of valley meadow, arable fields (open fields, enclosed fields, strip lynchets)
and downland pasture
.

Identif
ication of

downland enclosures
, and droveways

What was the nature of medie
val agriculture and how did it impact on earlier
monuments and their visibility? Exten
sion o
f arable at expense of downland grazing

Evidence (including documentary and place
-
names) for rabbit warrens
(eg,
Coneybury
)
,
such as the identification pillow mound
s and the
probable widespread
use of round barrows as warrens.

Secondary research issues

Settlement

The identification of mid

late Saxon and medieval settlements, and evidence for
settlement shift

Identify the internal organisation of settlements, such as

tenement boundaries

Investigate the origins and development of Avebury


possibly as an earlier elliptical
mid
-
Saxon settlement replaced by a late Saxon
burh
, or as a ‘failed town’, or as a
planned village etc.


There is a need for publication
of all the

work done within Avebury in the 1960s

1990s

Land use

Analysis of fieldwalking assemblages to identify area of manured arable cultivation

The analysis of documentary, place
-
name and aerial photographic evidence to provide
information about land use and the

environment

Identification of ridge
-
and
-
furrow from aerial photographs

Analysis of valley sediments to provide information on the medieval environment

Land
-
division

49

Reconstruction of early territorial units in the Stonehenge region from Domesday and
other

sources, and undertaken
in the Avebury region (Reynolds 2005)

Investigate any relationships between mid

late Saxon and medieval land boundaries
and prehistoric and Romano
-
British features in the landscape

Investigate the role of Wansdyke in the mid
-
Saxon
period.

Religion, burial and belief

Investigate the possibility of a possibly timber church at Amesbury pre
-
dating the late
Saxon structural elements in Avebury church

The n
ature of burial between 7th and 10th centuries
is
poorly understood; field
cemeteri
es of the mid Saxon period are now known, preceding churchyard burial.

50

P
ost
-
medieval and modern periods

The development of the settled and agricultural landscape, and its built heritage in the
two areas of the WHS during the post
-
medieval and modern perio
ds is to a large
extent typical of the wider region. However, this period also witnessed the initially
intermittent but, over the long term, ever
-
increasing recognition of and interest in the
prehistoric monuments which give these areas their distinct cha
racter. The impacts of
that interest have often been very negative on the archaeological resource, as have
other developments


in settlement, agriculture, religion, leisure, communications and
military.

Agricultural developments and innovations led to maj
or impacts on archaeological
remains, particularly the expansion of arable cultivation onto the downs from the 17th
century, accelerated by the process of inclosure in late 18th and early 19th century.
The Avon and Kennet valleys saw the development of wat
er meadows, while some
monuments were damaged by the creation of rabbit warrens, sheep folds, and
plantations, whether as shelter belts, game coverts, or for ornamental purposes.

The design and construction of ornamental parkland at Amesbury Park also had
an
impact. The park, at its fullest extent in 1760 extending as far as New King Barrow,
much of it under pasture. The course of the River Avon was altered, and the interior
and defences of Vespasian’s Camp were landscaped. While a number of ‘ancient’
featu
res were incorporated in the parkland, such as a grotto cut into the hillfort
rampart, and ornamental earthwork to replace a levelled round barrow, there are no
clear references in its design to the most obvious nearby monument


Stonehenge.
Much of the pa
rkland was returned to arable land by the start of the 19th century.

Research issues

Seek to understand the variable impacts on the archaeological resources by mapping
the development of the agricultural landscape


the changing distribution of open
field
s, inclosed fields, water meadows, downland pasture etc.

Study of place
-
names, field
-
names and other documentary sources can provide
evidence of changes in land use and environment.

Study of early antiquarian sources such as Stukeley and Colt Hoare, and ea
rly historic
mapping, as sources of information about the post
-
medieval landscape

The development of the road network, and the influence of, and impacts on
archaeological monuments