A massive, late Neolithic pit structure associated with Durrington Walls henge

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Authors

  • Vincent Gaffney
  • Martin Bates
  • C. Richard Bates
  • Christopher Gaffney
  • Derek Hamilton
  • Tim Kinnaird
  • Wolfgang Neubauer
  • Ronald Yorston
  • Robin Allaby
  • Klaus Löcker
  • Alois Hinterleitner
  • Tom Sparrow
  • Immo Trinks
  • Mario Wallner
  • Matthew Leivers

Colleges, School and Institutes

Abstract

A series of massive geophysical anomalies, located south of the Durrington Walls henge monument, were identified during fluxgate gradiometer survey undertaken by the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project (SHLP). Initially interpreted as dewponds, these data have been re-evaluated, along with information on similar features revealed by archaeological contractors undertaking survey and excavation to the north of the Durrington Walls henge. Analysis of the available data identified a total of 20 comparable features, which align within a series of arcs adjacent to Durrington Walls. Further geophysical survey, supported by mechanical coring, was undertaken on several geophysical anomalies to assess their nature, and to provide dating and environmental evidence. The results of fieldwork demonstrate that some of these features, at least, were massive, circular pits with a surface diameter of 20m or more and a depth of at least 5m. Struck flint and bone were recovered from primary silts and radiocarbon dating indicates a Late Neolithic date for the lower silts of one pit. The degree of similarity across the 20 features identified suggests that they could have formed part of a circuit of large pits around Durrington Walls, and this may also have incorporated the recently discovered Larkhill causewayed enclosure. The diameter of the circuit of pits exceeds 2km and there is some evidence that an intermittent, inner post alignment may have existed within the circuit of pits. One pit may provide evidence for a recut; suggesting that some of these features could have been maintained through to the Middle Bronze Age. Together, these features represent a unique group of features related to the henge at Durrington Walls, executed at a scale not previously recorded.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article number4
Number of pages47
JournalInternet Archaeology
Volume55
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2020

Keywords

  • Durrington Walls, Stonehenge, geophysics, Late Neolithic, Middle Bronze Age, landscape archaeology