Saturday 26 June 2021

Durrington Walls Palisade Enclosure -the 1952 excavations.

 The July-October 1954 edition of the Antiquaries Journal has an interesting write up of the 1952 excavations at Durrington Walls which I have not seen referenced before.

Stone, Piggott and Booth discovered a row, mostly a double row, of post holes that held posts when the bank was raised. They only excavated a 68 yard length so how far round the circle it went is unknown. The details are in the images below.

In 2016 excavations in the bank tested the "superhenge" theory and found that large posts had been in place before the bank was raised in the middle of the bank - for details see:  

It would have been interesting to have discovered if the outer post row extended to the areas where the massive posts were.

A note on the journal - this edition was missing from the Wiltshire Museum library and I was lucky enough to be given it and donate it to them. It was unopened or intonso so I took the liberty of using a plastic card - better than a knife - to open the pages to take the photos for my notes. There is still a lot to learn from old reports which are too often left unread in search for the new.


1 comment:

  1. A late comment.
    Tim thanks for posting this. Although these excavations are covered in the Wainwright and Longworth Durrington volume there are no plans and sections and there is more detail here, the plans add so much.
    “There is still a lot to learn from old reports which are too often left unread in search for the new.” I can’t find reference to these post holes and hollows in the 2 Parker Pearson books but they were published before the 2016 excavations that proved the existence of a palisade of large timbers (rather than stones) under the southern bank and possibly the whole bank circuit at Durrington. As you suggest this double post alignment and shallow pit arrangement appears even more relevant looking at its proximity to those relatively short- lived large posts and the houses that probably preceded those on that circuit. They must have belonged to the same consecutive periods.
    The posts, not a revetment for the bank, too close together to walk in between as a processional way. The henge discovered in 2018 near Woodbridge in Suffolk came to mind which had a preserved timber walkway in the centre following the course of a spring to a timber platform. No spring here but were the pits important, were they the source of chalk for the house floors? The rectangular arrangement of posts thought originally to be a possible rectangular house, was that a platform?
    Not considering the old in pursuit of the new, looking at the recent BBC Stonehenge the Lost Circle even the fairly recent with good evidence for is discarded, as with West Amesbury henge and probable stone circle, no mention and Durrington is represented late on in the programme by a dull digital interpretation with so many strangely incorrect details. No timber circles, no avenue, a vague ditch and bank at the same time as a mass of round (yes round) houses descend from through the air into the centre of the henge. Complete misinformation, Why? There is already masses of evidence and still fascinating details to piece together and interpret as in this post, perhaps it is easier and requires less thought to produce a load of tosh.
    Someone did produce some reconstructions of Durrington not too long ago probably more accurate than this I can’t remember who it was.
    Peter Dunn