Friday, April 19, 2013

Vespasian’s Camp: Cradle of Stonehenge

The ancient spring at Blick Mead, where recent investigations have found objects deposited over thousands of years.

Salisbury Plain is renowned for its spectacular Neolithic monuments, but decades of research have found few traces of earlier activity in the Stonehenge landscape. Now the discovery of the plain’s oldest residential site has uncovered evidence of 9,000 years of ritual and domestic activity, beginning three millennia before Stonehenge was built, as David Jacques, Tom Phillips, and Tom Lyons explained.

About a mile east of Stonehenge, an impressive promontory rises out of Salisbury Plain to around 95m above sea level. Situated close to the Avenue and Bluestonehenge (CA 237), commanding extensive views over the river Avon, and surrounded at all points of the compass by important prehistoric and historic sites and monuments, this spot might be expected to have held pivotal cultural significance for the plain’s early inhabitants for its location alone. But until our small-scale Open University excavations began in 2005, the Iron Age fortifications cresting the hill had received little archaeological attention.

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