Stonehenge neighbourhood

1 Dec 2016

At .... the military base at Larkfield, part of what is called the Stonehenge landscape (within walking distance of the stones), has been hiding a Neolithic 'causewayed enclosure' provisionally dated to 3650BC. These enclosures garnered that name as the circle is really a series of ditches laid out in concentric circles with gaps between them. The gaps were supposed to be causeways but their function or purpose is unknown. The enclosures themselves are no different than the average henge (circular ditches with no gaps) in that they were used for seasonal gatherings. One historian will say they had a religious purpose and another might say they were places where people exchanged goods and services, made bonds with extended family and ate a lot of meat (the  bones of which ended up in the ditches - along with broken pottery, pieces of discarded flint from knapping, clapped out querns, and even the odd burial (usually of cremated bone). In addition the ditches have produced lots of organic material.

What this new find emphasizes is that a lot of activity was going on in the area prior to the setting up of the stone circles. Also, we have a parallel with Avebury as the stone circle there was predated by the causewayed enclosure on Windmill Hill. At n earby Bulford Camp (again a military base) a henge has been found dating from 2900BC. Here there is said to be evidence of the henge going out of use in the Early Bronze Age (by 2000BC).