Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Stonehenge and Avebury seminar at Devizes – a report

Stonehenge and Avebury seminar at Devizes – a report

Mike Parker Pearson ....told us of some recent fieldwork he’d done near the Devil’s Den, a cromlech at the bottom of the long valley running south from Fyfield Down and the Grey Wethers, a valley that must have been a stone chute for the sarsens sliding down the valley sides. MPP said that he and Mike Pitts had spotted large depressions in the valley above the Den, and he suggested that these might have been the resting places of sarsen stones before they made the journey to Stonehenge. So, what would that journey have been? It’s very unlikely that they’d have been dragged up the valley and then down again to Avebury. So the only reasonable suggestion is that they went down Clatford Bottom, the valley continuation to Clatford, and crossed the river Kennet. Crossing the Kennet would require a causeway – and MPP thinks he’s spotted one beside the existing bridge. Exciting, or what? The obvious route then is to take the easy slopes through Lockeridge to Knap Hill, and then down to Marden henge, and the headwaters of the Avon. Perhaps the Marden henge monumentalizes the crossing of the Avon? The Clatford hypothesis should be easy enough to test and, if MPP is right about a heavily-piled Kennet causeway strong enough to carry stones weighing up to 50 tons, there could still be some mud-preserved remains in the river bottom. And that could lead to an RC dating that would date Stonehenge precisely.

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