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Archaeology Matters

Startling results from new analyses at Avebury

New work on samples taken from a lesser-known site in Avebury have revealed startling results that affect not just the world heritage site, but our understanding of Neolithic Wessex and other great political and religious centres over 4,000 years ago. The latest issue of British Archaeology magazine reports on these findings.

Some of the West Kennet article in context

Archaeologists excavated the West Kennet enclosures (surviving as deep, narrow trenches dug to hold oak palisades) between 1987 and 1992. Finds from the dig have been re-investigated in a Historic England-funded project, with sensational results.

Originally thought to be contemporary with Avebury’s megaliths and Stonehenge, the enclosures have now been revealed to be up to 1,000 years older, and date to around 3300BC.

The new study has also shown that centuries after the enclosures had burnt to the ground, the site became a large settlement where the people who built nearby Silbury Hill lived.

These conclusions follow a major radiocarbon dating programme using samples from the old excavations.

Details of the new research and a broader history of Avebury are available in the latest edition of British Archaeology magazine, which is available in all good newsagents from Friday 9 June or via subscription or CBA membership.

A previous dig at Avebury
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