Saturday 28 February 2015

Stanton Drew Big Mound

The Bath and Camerton Archaeological Society has published many reports on Stanton Drew (amongst other reports) including the most recent investigation into the Big Mound there. It was thought (hoped) it might be a Silbury like artificial one, it seems it is just a natural feature.

These reports are available from

Stanton Drew - Probing the Big Ground Mound 2014 (High Resolution Print Version)

Stanton Drew - Probing the Big Ground Mound 2014 (Low Resolution Screen Version)

Stanton Drew - Report on The Big Ground Mound 2013 (High Resolution Print Version)

Stanton Drew - Report on The Big Ground Mound 2013 (Low Resolution Screen Version)

Valley of the Stones - Observations of Possible Megalithic Structures in the Valley of Stones, Dorset

Hautville's Quoit - Stanton Drew Surveys, 2012 - Hautville's Quoit ((High Resolution Print Version)

Hautville's Quoit - Stanton Drew Surveys, 2012 - Hautville's Quoit (Low Resolution Screen Version)

Stanton Drew Report - Stanton Drew Report 2010 (High Resolution Print Version)

Stanton Drew Report - Stanton Drew Report 2010 (Low Resolution Screen Version)

Stanton Drew Report - Stanton Drew Report 2009

Stanton Drew Stones - High Resolution Overhead Photos of the Stones

Hat tip to Brian John

Thursday 26 February 2015

WANHS on Stonehenge - Victorian Volumes

Many past copies of the WAHNS annual publication are available online

A couple of examples:

Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society Volume: 16
Publisher: Devizes : Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society
Year: 1876 - 1876 (Many Stonehenge Articles)

From 1865 an investigation into how to move the stones.

Wednesday 25 February 2015

Monday 16 February 2015

Where the missing Sarsens went?

One of the mysteries of Stonehenge is what happened tothe missing Sarsens. Assuming it was complete somewhere in the order of 300 tonnes of sarsen stone is miising. Apart from the edge damage caused by visitors it seems that complete stones were removed and that they were chosen from within the monument for some reason. Why take that lintel but leave the easier to remove fallen stone here? The stones don't seem to be present in any local buildings and it seems to odd to suggest they were broken up for roadstone when the easier pickings of the bluestones don't seem to have been so.

Julian Richards has suggested that one reason that sarsens were removed was for the stone to be used for producing grinding querns. There is very little stone in neighborhood suitable for stones to grind grain with and some sarsen stone types are very suitable, other less so. So a source of excellent source material may have been irresistible in the later Bronze Age, and a quern manufactory set up.

"East of (north Fargo) plantation the field system corresponds with an area of later Bronze Age activity identified by extensive surface collection in the winter of 1980-81 and subsequently sampled more intensively (Richards, J 1990 The Stonehenge Environs Project. HBMC: London ). The surface scatter consisted of pottery and large quantities of burnt flint and burnt and broken sarsen, including quern fragments, and was interpreted as a small nucleated area of later Bronze Age settlement, lying within the area of regular field"

Research Department Report Series 82-2011
Sharon Bishop

Vicki Cummings Papers on 

A selection - excuse formatting.

This article considers the interpretation of stone and wood in Neolithic chambered tomb architecture in Britain and Ireland. Against a broader theoretical agenda of both relational materialities and animistic ontologies, it is argued that... more
Research Interests: 
This article considers the long-debated and thorny issue of the transition from the Mesolithic to the Neolithic in Britain. The apparently polarised debate that has dominated this discussion is, we suggest, unhelpful, and rather than... more
Abstract In this paper we highlight some of the issues surrounding the delivery of fieldwork modules, using archaeological excavation as an example. There are a whole range of issues surrounding the assessment of fieldwork-based modules,... more
This paper considers some possible avenues for new research into the study of lithics for British and Irish assemblages dating from the Mesolithic and Neolithic. While scholars have been successful in extracting detail on technological... more
One of the big unanswered questions is whether the start of the Neolithic in Britain and Ireland saw the arrival of a new population, bringing with them new forms of material culture from the continent, or whether native hunter-gatherers... more


TITLE: Cummings, V. 2007. From midden to megalith ? The Mesolithic/Neolithic transition in western Britain. In A. Whittle and V. Cummings (eds), Going over: the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition in NW Europe. London: British Academy.

View the paper here:


TITLE: Cummings, V. and Whittle, A. 2005. Pentre Ifan: east or west? The origins of monumentality in Wales and western Britain. In G. Marchand and A. Tresset (eds), Unité et diversité des processus de néolithisation sur la façade atlantique de l'Europe. Bulletin de la Société Préhistorique Française.

View the paper here:


TITLE: Cummings, V. 2002b. Experiencing texture and touch in the British Neolithic. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 21:3, 249-61.

View the paper here:


TITLE: Cummings, V., Jones, A. and Watson, A. 2002. In between places: axial symmetry and divided space in the monuments of the Black Mountains, south-east Wales. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 12:1, 57-70.

View the paper here:


TITLE: From cairn to cemetery: an archaeological investigation of the chambered cairns and early Bronze Age mortuary deposits at Cairnderry and Bargrennan White Cairn, south-west Scotland. With Chris Fowler.

View the paper here:


Thursday 5 February 2015

Restoring Stonehenge and the Stonehenge Aerodrome Reports

Two excellent reports have just been released by English Heritage - go get 'em!

Title'Restoring' Stonehenge 1881-1939
SummaryStonehenge was transformed considerably during the 20th century, the monument itself being subjected to more intervention and alteration from 1901 than at any time since the Bronze Age. Some of the most important episodes of excavation at Stonehenge during the 20th century were driven by a desire to interfere with the monument’s physical appearance, often but not always due to concerns about stability. The romantic ruin of previous generations – leaning monoliths, twisted trilithons and recumbent sarsens – was rationalised into a more upright, orderly design and secured for posterity with concrete. At the same time, the visibility of the enclosing earthworks was enhanced for the paying visitor, the enclosure ditch only partially backfilled and surplus material spread across the site to conceal old trackways. 1901 was also the year that the monument was first enclosed and an admission charge introduced, both intended as means of controlling the numbers and types of visitor. This report pays close attention to the circumstances surrounding three key episodes – the appearance in 1881 of some timber supports; the straightening and concreting of the massive Stone 56 in 1901; and the uncompleted ‘reparations’ of 1919-20.
SeriesResearch Department Reports
  • Barber, M
KeywordsAerial Photograph Interpretation ,  Aerial Photography ,  Conservation

TitleStonehenge Aerodrome and the Stonehenge Landscape
SummaryBetween 1917 and 1921, Stonehenge had an aerodrome for a near-neighbour. Initially a Royal Flying Corps training establishment, from January 1918 it became the No. 1 School of Aerial Navigation and Bomb Dropping, home to a contingent of RNAS Handley Page bombers. The aerodrome featured two camps either side of a take-off and landing ground, the first located close to Fargo Plantation, and a subsequent and more substantial technical and domestic site situated either side of what is now the A303, a few hundred yards west of Stonehenge. After the war, the aerodrome buildings became the focus of debate about what constituted unacceptable modern intrusions in the Stonehenge landscape. Converted to both agricultural and domestic use, the hangars and accommodation blocks prompted the first demands to ‘restore’ the Stonehenge landscape – not to what it had been prior to the war, but to something deemed more appropriate as a setting for the monument. Following a public appeal, the aerodrome and neighbouring farmland was purchased, the buildings dismantled and removed, and the land handed to the National Trust. The result was intended to be a landscape freed from “the restless and commonplace current of every day life”.
SeriesResearch Department Reports
  • Barber, M
KeywordsAerial Photograph Interpretation ,  Aerial Photography ,  Airfield ,  First World War ,  landscape

Tuesday 3 February 2015