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VI.—The Avebury Excavations, 1908—1922

  • H. St. George Gray


In point of size and grandeur Avebury stands out pre-eminently among the prehistoric stone monuments of Britain. It is, however, decidedly difficult to realize fully what Avebury and its appendages were when in the height of their glory. The monument has been terribly mutilated, and vandalism must have prevailed for many years, if not centuries, to effect the complete destruction of so large a number of the great monoliths.



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page 99 note 1 Avreberie in Domesday.

page 99 note 2 The stones of Avebury were first noticed by Aubrey in 1648–9, when he observed that Avebury far surpassed Stonehenge as a cathedral does a parish church.

page 99 note 3 The site of ‘the Temple’ is on the outcrop of the Middle Chalk zone of Rhynchonella Cuvieri.

page 100 note 1 The Rev. Bryan King said: ‘There are very few lineal yards which are not occupied by causeways, walls, and cottages, all formed of sarsen stone, sufficient, and more than sufficient, to absorb all the stones of the Beckhampton Avenue’ (Wilts. Arch. Mag. xviii, 377–83).

page 100 note 2 The perpendicular height of Silbury is 125 ft.; its diameter at base is from 552 to 555 ft.; circumference at base about 1,660 ft.; diameter at top 103 ft.; angle of elevation 30°.

Stukeley, in his work on ‘Abury’, published in 1743, says: ‘In the month of March 1723, Mr. Halford ordered some trees to be planted on the top of Silbury Hill, in the area of the plain 60 cubits in diameter…. The workmen dug up the body of the great king, there buried in the centre, very little below the surface.’

In 1777 a shaft was sunk from the summit by the Duke of Northumberland and Col. Drax. It is to be regretted that no detailed account of these operations is upon record; all that is known was published by Douglas in his Nenia Britannica, p. 161. In 1849 the base of the mound was tunnelled from the western ‘isthmus’ on the south side of the hill. Two pieces of red-deer antler were found, and on the old surface fragments of a sort of string of two strands, each twisted. It is recorded that the Archaeological Institute came across the shaft 5 ft. by 4½ ft., previously sunk from the summit of the hill, as above mentioned. (Proc. Archaeol. Inst., Salisbury vol., 1849, see papers by Dean Merewether and C. Tucker, 73–81, and 297–303; also Waylen's History of Marlborough, 1854, pp. 405–8.)

Excavations were conducted at Silbury in 1867 to ascertain the direction taken by, and the position of, the Roman road with relation to Silbury Hill. See Preb. Wilkinson's paper, Wilts. Arch. Mag. xi, 113–18. Further work was undertaken by A. Capper Pass in 1886 (op. cit. xxiii, 245–54), and by Sir W. M. Flinders Petrie in 1922 (op. cit. xlii, 215–18).

page 101 note 1 Wilts. Arch. Mag. xxxviii, 1–11.

page 101 note 2 Guide to the British and Roman Antiquities of the N. Wilts. Downs.

page 101 note 3 It is now generally known that Stukeley was most assiduous in the preservation of his various manuscript writings and drawings (‘Stukeley, Avebury and the Druids’, by S. Piggott, in Antiquity, ix, 22–32).

page 102 note 1 Wiltshire Gazette, 3 Aug. 1922.

page 102 note 2 Wilts. Arch. Mag. x, 209–16.

page 102 note 3 The author of this paper has italicized the word; ‘British’ in this paragraph.

page 103 note 1 Fergusson, Rude Stone Monuments, 72 seq.

page 103 note 2 This plan is pl. v in Smith's Guide to the British and Roman Antiquities of the North Wiltshire Downs, 2nd edit., 1885.

page 104 note 1 xxxiii (1903–4), 103, where it is also stated that ‘one small piece of British pottery was found on the original surface beneath the vallum’. This digging is also barely mentioned in the same Magazine, xxviii, 81.

page 104 note 2 In our cutting into the vallum in 1914 there was apparently no indication of an earlier vallum having been surmounted by additional material.

page 105 note 1 Two very large antler picks found in the excavations in 1894 were disposed of on 10 April 1915 at the Meux sale at Dauntsey House, near Swindon (lot 1258), and were acquired by the Wiltshire Archaeological Society for Devizes Museum.

page 105 note 2 The Committee consisted of Dr. J. G. Garson (Chairman), Mr. H. Balfour (Secretary), Sir John Evans, Mr. C. H. Read, Prof. R. Meldola, Mr. A. J. Evans, Dr. R. Munro, and Prof. W. Boyd Dawkins. In 1901 Mr. A. L. Lewis was added to the Committee. The two grants made by the British Association for the work at Arbor Low amounted to £50.

page 105 note 3 Reports, British Assoc. 1901, 427–40; 1902, 455–66; Archaeologia, lviii, 461–98; Journ. Derbysh. Arch. Soc. xxvi, 41–77.

page 105 note 4 In 1905 Mr. C. H. Read became Chairman of the Committee. The Cornish work was recorded briefly in Reports, Brit. Assoc. 1906, 370–82; and 1907, 368–73. A fuller and illustrated report is published in Archaeologia, lxi, 1–60.

page 105 note 5 In 1908 the Committee consisted of Mr. (afterwards Sir) C. H. Read (Chairman), Mr. H. Balfour (Secretary), Lord Avebury, Dr. J. G. Garson, Mr. (afterwards Sir) A. J. Evans, Dr. R. Munro, Prof. (afterwards Sir) W. Boyd Dawkins, and Mr. A. L. Lewis.

In 1909 Prof. (afterwards Sir) W. Ridgeway was added, and in 1912 Dr. G. A. Auden. In 1913 Lord Avebury died. In 1915 Prof. J. L. Myres and Mr. H. J. E. Peake joined the Committee. In 1922, after the war, the same Committee remained, but Mr. Lewis and Dr. Munro had died.

page 106 note 1 Accounts, containing considerable detail, appeared in the Reports, Brit. Assoc., after each period of excavation, as follows: 1908, 401–11; 1909, 271–84; 1911, 141–52; 1915, 174–89; and 1922, 326–33.

page 106 note 2 Society of Antiquaries, £32 2s., Royal Archaeological Institute, £12 25., Marlborough College Natural History Society, £25 15s., Lord Abercromby, £55, Lord Avebury, £35, and the Hon. Henry B. Portman, £15; then there were contributions of from, £5 to, £10 each from Sir Arthur Evans, Dr. W. M. Tapp, Mr. H. Balfour, the Druitt family, and the following, now deceased, Mr. Heward Bell, Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice, Sir Prior Goldney, Col. W. L. Morgan, and the fifth Marquess of Lansdowne. In smaller amounts the sum of £40 35. id. was raised. Our thanks are due to Canon E. H. Goddard for having collected some of the Wiltshire donations.

page 107 note 1 They were numbered consecutively from no. i onwards covering the several seasons of work. Several of the numbers will not appear in this report as they refer only to modern and unimportant objects and to medieval and later sherds, but practically all the numbers will be found in the reports to the British Association.

page 107 note 2 Owing to the large area to be surveyed in detail, the task was a heavy one, but I received some assistance from my wife and my son (aged eleven years). No excavations were undertaken that year.

In 1908, the Director-General of the Ordnance Surveys informed me that at Avebury the magnetic north was 16° 21′ W. of true north, and the north point is shown accordingly.

page 107 note 3 The drawing was not finally completed till January 1935.

page 107 note 4 From these points cross-bearings were made with a prismatic compass, all points being checked by tape measurement.

A few small rings on the plan indicate the position in 1912 of certain large trees. The NW. vallum and fosse are wooded (pl. xxx, fig. 2). T.P. indicates ‘telegraph pole’.

page 107 note 5 Others might perhaps be detected in the winter-time when the grass is at its shortest. Proper excavation will some day no doubt reveal all the socket-holes. My plan shows more of these depressions than are represented in the 25-in. O. Sheet xxviii. 10 (edition 1924).

At first the stones on my plan were numbered, but these have been deleted as being of little or no value.

page 108 note 1 Stukeley's and Crocker's plans give the diameter as 410 ft., while Lukis says ‘not more than 270 ft.’

page 108 note 2 The southern of the remaining stones is 17 ft. in height above the ground-level; it leaned in 1922 to the N. 33 in. out of the perpendicular; in 1881 there is a record that it overhung to the extent of 27½ in. The western stone is 14 ft. 7 in. in height, with a width of the same dimensions; in 1881 it overhung 15 in. The northern stone fell in 1713 and was broken up; it is said to have been 7 yards long.

page 108 note 3 For some years the writer had known of part of a sarsen stone showing one or two inches above the surface in the farmyard near ‘the Cove’, and probing revealed the fact that it extended for some distance. Expecting that this stone might be of sufficient importance to mark on my plan, this area was dug over by two men. The stone proved to have been buried by penetrating the solid chalk for the purpose. In plan it measured 5·8 ft. in length by 4·5 ft. in width at the W. end; at the E. end it was 3·5 ft. wide; it was a stone apparently of almost quadrangular cross-section; its

thickness at the W. end appeared to be 1·7 ft.

Extending the digging both N. and S., two other stones were uncovered, the most southern reaching the present surface at the W. end. The most northern stone was only 5 in. deep below the surface at the W. end; at the E. end it was rather deeper. It was found that the three stones covered a length of 16·5 ft. The S. piece was triangular, 7·3 ft. in length, with a maximum width at the W. end of 6·2 ft., where the thickness of the block appeared to be 1·25 ft. The most northern stone was of more or less triangular shape, having a maximum length of 7·5 ft., and a maximum width of 4·;15 ft.; thickness about 1·75 ft. The N. and middle pieces were only 0·35 ft., and the middle and S. pieces 0·75 ft. apart. The middle stone sloped eastwards at an angle of some 45°; the others were lying fairly flat.

These stones, which were covered up again at the wish of the owner, Mr. J. Peak-Garland, are to the E. of the two great standing-stones known as ‘the Cove’. The nearest parts of the N. and middle stones are about 29 ft. E. of the nearest or highest stone of ‘the Cove’.

It is surmised that these stones originally formed one large stone which might possibly be Stone ‘D’ of Hoare's plan, buried in the position now found; if so, it formerly stood at a distance (according to Hoare) of 83 ft. from the nearest stone of ‘the Cove’.

In connexion with the position of stones in the vicinity of ‘the Cove’, the photograph of a watercolour by J. Browne of Avebury, dated 1825, here reproduced for the first time, will be of interest (pl. xxxiii, fig. 2). It appears here with the kind permission of Mr. Herbert Druitt of Christchurch, Hants.

The drawing measures 10¼ in. by 6¾ in., and the following contemporary information accompanies it: ‘The Cove or place of Sacrifice in the Serpentine Temply at Abury…. The stone to the right is that at the foot of which the Alter stone for the sacrifices was placed; the marks of fire are still upon it. A stone was originally placed to the left of it accordant with the central one to form the Cove. That to the left in the picture is one (stone) of the smaller circle around it.’

page 108 note 4 Wilts. Arch. Mag. x, 212.

page 109 note 1 We have ventured to dot in a circle on the plan, although its position may not be accurate by several feet.

page 109 note 2 Stukeley's and Crocker's plans give the diameter as 410 ft., while Lukis makes the dimension 320 ft.

page 109 note 3 The Rev. A. C. Smith (North Wilts., p. 142) mentions an urn full of bones ‘found towards the centre of the southern temple in 1880’ by Mr. Pratt when he was sinking a hole for a flagstaff, on the occasion of a village fete in that field. The urn was broken to pieces, and the fragments carried off by the children.

This burial by cremation was probably deposited here considerably after the construction of the circles.

A traditional ‘sanctity’ still lingers round this spot.

page 110 note 1 The extent of the excavation on the N. and E. sides of the largest prostrate stone of the southern inner group is also indicated. See pp. 131–3, and fig. 5 for details.

page 111 note 1 We heard some reports that the fosse had been cultivated as arable land circa 1850–60, but were unable to substantiate those statements on making inquiries from inhabitants still living.

page 111 note 2 At a depth of 1 ft. were found a farthing of William 111, 1698, and a small Jacobean clay pipe.

page 111 note 3 Within 3 ft. of the surface and below the turf-mould were found two oblong-headed horseshoe nails (no. 15), part of a horseshoe (no. 17), and tang and portion of a blade of a small iron knife (no. 75).

page 111 note 4 It was picked up by a reliable excavator at a depth of 7·8 ft. below the surface. It is quite probable that a small pointed object like this might work its way down from its original position in the silting by means of rabbit and other holes to a much lower level. On the other hand, as the excavator had just begun a fresh ‘spit’, earth containing the arrowhead may have fallen from a higher level beforehand without revealing the object. However, no. 56 is shown in the diagram (pl. xxxvi, fig. 1) at the depth at which it was picked up.

The arrowhead has a socket of circular section; shank nearly straight and bevelled abruptly near the point where the cross-section is rhombic, length 1¼ in. The late Viscount Dillon, P.S.A., said, ‘The Avebury specimen is a medieval arrowhead of the “pile ” class, and for use with the long bow. It is an interesting and rare example, but the actual date is quite uncertain.’ Vide also on Medieval Arrowheads, Gentleman's Mag. cii, 1832, pt. i, p. 114.

page 112 note 1 Among these sherds is a large proportion of pieces of rims and bottoms of vessels; less frequently handles of pots were found, and fragments bearing definite traces of glaze. This pottery bears a close resemblance, both in quality, form, and general character, to that found in my excavations in the large camp known as ‘Castle Neroche’, 7 miles SSE. of Taunton (Proc. Som. Arch. Soc. xlix, ii, 23–53).

page 112 note 2 Two fragments of Romano-British pottery were found in the chalk rubble, but quite high up, close to the inner wall of the fosse, and as evidence of date their position was unimportant.

page 113 note 1 All the picks and other antler and bone implements found in the Avebury excavations were restored by Mrs. St. George Gray.

page 113 note 2 Three bone shovels, described on pp. 115–16, were found at the bottom of the fosse in Cutting II.

page 113 note 3 Other flint implements and flakes from Cutting I are recorded in the tables on pp. 143,145.

page 113 note 4 The width of the fosse at 5 ft. above the bottom was 21·5 ft. on the west; near the east, 20·5 ft.; and on the east, 22 ft.

page 114 note 1 The ‘finds’ here included an Irish halfpenny of George III and a seventeenth-century tobaccopipe of clay (maker's mark, ‘Thomas Hunt’). The upper deposits had apparently been disturbed and further inquiries led me to believe that the surface soil in this part of the ditch had been cultivated up to the third quarter of the nineteenth century.

page 114 note 2 No. 126 (marked in the section) is a piece of base and rim of an early medieval pot, with fingermark indentations round the edge of the bottom; depth 3·2 ft.

page 115 note 1 As these eight lots are not mentioned elsewhere, a brief description will be given; it will be unnecessary to state the depth in each case as all the finds are marked in the sectional diagrams, pl. xxxvii:

No. 101. Piece of hard grey Roman pottery, painted brick-red inside and out; thickness, 7·5 mm.

No. 102. Fragment of thin Roman pottery, pale grey on the inner face, brick-red on the outer.

No. 104. Part of base of a coarse brown pot; Romano-British.

No. 108. Small piece of red pottery of a smooth soft paste, Roman. Probably worked its way down through a hole into the upper part of chalk rubble.

No. 114. Several fragments of a lathe-turned vessel of brown ware of a very sandy texture; Romano-British.

No. 115. Three fragments of Roman vessels of different qualities; one of sandy texture like no. 114; another greyish-brown ware; the third a fragment of thin grey pottery painted brick-red on both sides.

No. 118. Piece of thin grey ware, and a fragment of dark brown ware; Roman.

No. 130. Two pieces of Romano-British dark brown ware of sandy texture like no. 114.

page 116 note 1 In Archaeologia, lxii, 113, the late Horace W. Sandars said, ‘Some doubt has been expressed as to whether scapulae were employed for such purposes (shovelling chalk), but further and convincing proof of such usage has recently been afforded by the investigations carried out by Mr. H. St. George Gray at Avebury, where similar implements in association with deer-horn picks have been found at the bottom of the deep ditch that surrounded the monument.’

Similar bone shovels have been found at Cissbury (one is figured in Archaeologia, xlv, 345). But perhaps the most interesting are the five specimens found in the Harrow Hill flint-mines, 1924–5, and described by Drs. Eliot Curwen and E. Cecil Curwen in Sussex Archaeol. Coll., lxvii, 103–38; they include a unique example with the neck of the bone hollowed out by a deep tapering groove for the insertion of a handle (see illustrations in their paper, p. iii). Dr. E. C. Curwen has also written some notes on the use of these scapulae as shovels (op. cit., 139–45). Portions of three worked shoulder-blades were found at All Cannings Cross: see Mrs. Cunnington's book on the subject, pl. 10, figs. 1, 2, and pl. 14, fig. 3. A specimen was found in a flint-mine at Stoke Down, near Chichester, and is now in the Brighton Museum (Proc. Preh. Soc. E. Anglia, iv, 89).

Two shoulder-blades of somewhat similar character were found in the Glastonbury Lake Village; see the work on the subject by Dr. A. Bulleid and Mr. H. St. George Gray, ii, 415. They have been found in rather large numbers in the excavations being conducted at the Meare Lake Village, 4 miles W. of Glastonbury; a small proportion of them is ornamented.

page 116 note 2 No. 129 is preserved in the British Museum, no. 137 at Devizes, and no. 145 in the Pitt-Rivers Museum at Oxford.

page 118 note 1 The sectional diagram (fig. i) also shows the position of no. 139, part of a base of a medieval pot, depth 6 ft.; and no. 144, two small pieces of grey Roman pottery, depth 9·5 ft.

page 119 note 1 These cleats are of frequent occurrence in Romano-British deposits; their use as portion of the iron furniture of sandals, or shoe-leather, is proved by the discovery of specimens, with a quantity of hob-nails, at the feet of skeletons at Rotherley and Bokerly Dyke. A specimen was found on the old surface line under the rampart of Wansdyke, a few miles S. of Avebury (Excavations in Cranborne Chase, ii, 190; iii, 102, 106, 129, 270, &c). Two specimens were discovered at Maumbury Rings (Proc. Dor. Field Club, xxxi, 244).

page 119 note 2 Other finds of Roman and Romano-British pottery were as follows:

No. 152. Fragment of soft cream-coloured New Forest ware, painted black and slightly ornamented; depth 4·2 ft. near top of mixed silting.

No. 153. Fragment of brown pot; found in similar position to no. 152.

No. 155. Two fragments of light brown pottery; depth 4·3 ft.

No. 158. Fragment of brown pottery, with slight striations; depth 4·5 ft.

page 120 note 1 When the whole profile of the fosse became covered by chalk rubble the remainder of the silting must have accumulated in a decidedly decreasing ratio. The upper stratified layers, which are of a sedimentary character and much finer than the chalk rubble below, must have been deposited by wind blowing material into the fosse, and also produced by rain.

page 120 note 2 See similar seams of mould in the fosse of Wor Barrow, Handley, Dorset (Excavations in Cranborne Chase, iv, pl. 250, 251, which the writer drew for General Pitt-Rivers many years ago).

page 122 note 1 Between this stone and the field-fence to the SW. a small excavation was made to test the depth of the solid chalk, which was found to be 1·95 ft. below the field-level. The material above it was surface mould 0·75 ft.; the rest, mixed rubble.

page 123 note 1 This berm was noticed by the Rev. A. C. Smith in Guide to the Antiquities of the North Wiltshire Downs, 1884: ‘The rampart for a considerable portion of its circuit shows an apparent terrace or “berme ” half-way up its side, though this is in reality only the original level of the ground upon which the excavated earth from the fosse was thrown up.’

page 123 note 2 With the owner's permission, four young trees of some fifteen years' growth were removed from this position and transplanted. Afterwards in the removal of the silting, even at considerable depths, the work was much impeded not only by the roots of the bushes and young trees, but also by those of many of the larger trees growing on the causeway.

page 124 note 1 Seen, but not well seen, in photograph, pl. xli, fig. 2.

page 124 note 2 In that year we had exposed a length of only 4·25 ft. of the original floor of the fosse, and for a length of another 5 or 6 ft. the re-excavation had reached to within 2 or 3 ft. of the bottom.

page 124 note 3 In 1893 General Pitt-Rivers excavated Wor Barrow, Handley, Dorset, and the ditch which surrounded it, which proved to be 13·5 ft. deep (maximum). The latter was left open for four years, so that a calculation might be made of the amount of denudation and silting that would take place during that short period. The writer of this paper made three sectional diagrams for this purpose (see Excavations in Cranborne Chase, iv, 24), and it will be observed that in the middle of the lower part of the ditch a depth of 2·5 ft. of chalk rubble had accumulated, and that at the sides the rubble had covered the solid chalk profile for a distance of 8 ft. from the bottom upwards, leaving 6 ft. or more of the ‘wall’ exposed to the erosive force of the atmosphere, which had caused the ditch at the top to widen to the extent of about 1·5 ft. on each side.

page 125 note 1 At distances of between 6 ft. and 10 ft. from the E. end of the cutting several pieces of sarsen stone were found at depths varying from 5 ft. to 5–6 ft. They measured from 0·5 ft. to 0·75 ft. across, and were apparently not arranged in any special order. Much fewer and smaller fragments were found between 3·5 ft. and 5 ft. in depth.

page 125 note 2 In the lower chalk rubble we met with occasional seams of fine mixed silting much compressed and difficult to break up. There were more seams, or patches, of mould in the chalk rubble in this cutting than in the others, and small pieces of ochreous clay were occasionally met with.

page 125 note 3 The 9·5 feet extended eastwards from a point 6 ft. E. of the W. end of the section, fig. 3.

page 125 note 4 If a large amount of the chalk excavated in the construction of the fosse was, in this part, brought to the NW. and SW. corners of the fosse (p. 124), this would probably account to a large extent for the worn depression or ‘pathway’.

page 126 note 1 The human remains are described separately (see pp, 145–8). The position of most of the numbered ‘finds’ is shown in the plan, pi. xliii, fig. 3.

page 127 note 1 Several fragments of red-deer antler were found at the bottom of the fosse cuttings. Fifteen fragments of antlers of red-deer were found at the bottom of the ditch of the long barrow known as Wor Barrow, Handley Down, Dorset, among late Neolithic remains (Excavations in Cranborne Chase, iv, 133).

page 127 note 2 Somewhat similar worked rib-bones were found at All Cannings Cross, see Mrs. Cunnington's book on that site, pl. 10, figs. 3–5. Worked rib-bones, apparently of a different type, were found at Woodhenge (Woodhenge, pl. 21, figs. 1, 2).

Two spatula-like implements (B 48, 49) made from the rib-bones of ox, with one end worn in each case, lengths 175 mm. and 200 mm. respectively, were found in the Highfield pit-dwellings, Fisherton, Salisbury (Wilts. Arch. Mag. xlvi, 612).

page 127 note 3 The roadway from the middle of hedge to hedge measured 33·5 ft. in width; the hard road measured 20 ft. wide. This road is nearly 3 ft. lower than the surface of the ancient causeway. In each of the sectional diagrams the position of the present road and the hedge and fence is shown. The digging in these cuttings (nos. IV, V, VI, VII) was carried down to the solid chalk.

page 130 note 1 In connexion with this subject it might be well to mention here that Dean Merewether in his account of The Examination of Silbury Hill (Archaeol. Inst., Salisbury vol., 1849, p. 76; Smith, Antiquities of North Wilts., 152) said that ‘the thin compressed line of clay, formerly grass, could be traced continuously throughout the tunnel’.

When the mound in the grounds of Marlborough College was examined it was found that over the charcoal on the original surface a thin stratum, ½-inch, of reddish clay extended (Report Marlb. Coll. Nat. Hist. Society, vol. lxi for 1912).

If was found in excavating the Cuckhamsley Barrow in Berks in 1843–4 that ‘over the turfy base is a stratum of stiff ochreous clay of a ferruginous nature, which must have been procured at some distant spot’. This barrow was 21 ft. in height, but formerly is believed to have stood much higher (Hewett, Hundred of Compton, Berks., art. Cuckhamsley).

page 131 note 1 A fourpenny-bit of William IV, 1836, was found near the foot of the interior slope of the vallum in the turf mould, depth 0·4 ft.

page 131 note 2 Photographs of flint saw, scraper, and chisel-end arrowhead found on the old turf line under the vallum of Avebury during excavations made many years ago were given by Mr. A. D. Passmore to Devizes Museum (Wilts. Arch. Mag., xliii, 385).

page 132 note 1 He appears to have based his deductions entirely upon Cutting IX on the east side of the causeway-a cutting a part of which was left open for several years, so that when we returned after the war we hoped to be in a position to ascertain what the accumulation of natural silting had been since we left the work in 1914. But in the meantime the villagers had deposited some of their pots and pans here and spoilt our intentions (see p. 124).

page 132 note 2 The larger upright figures in the diagram correspond with the levels above Ordnance Datum.

page 134 note 1 The respective cuttings are marked by Roman numerals—I, II, III, VIII, and IX.

page 134 note 2 502 is the level of the parapet of this bridge.

page 134 note 3 Wilts. Arch. Mag., xlii, 46, 121.

page 134 note 4 Cutting VIII was only 15·3 ft. deep at the SW. corner of the cutting, but just in this position there was a decided hump in the chalk at the bottom which was not noticed elsewhere.

page 135 note 1 A definite stratum of early Iron Age objects was not traceable in the parts of the fosse examined.

page 136 note 1 This work has been much facilitated by the assistance given by Miss M. V. G. James, Curator of the Museum, whose intimate knowledge of the varying textures of the Windmill Hill pottery has been invaluable.

page 136 note 2 Wilts. Arch. Mag., xlv, 300–35.

page 136 note 3 The Pottery from the Long Barrow at West Kennet, M. E. Cunnington, Devizes, 1927.

page 136 note 4 Op. cit., 3.

page 138 note 1 A small fragment of pottery belonging to no. 163 was sent at the time of discovery to the late Mr. Clement Reid, F.R.S., for close examination, and he wrote the following report upon it:

‘The “grout” or coarse material used for stiffening this pottery and making it keep its shape when burnt in an open fire, is of unusual composition. It consists mainly of burnt bone, with a few minute bits of charcoal. I think that ashes of a fire have been used, as being grit that would not fly, shrink, or burn out when the pottery was fired; there are also one or two small fragments of flint. The clay with which this “grout” was mixed seems to have been a coarse sandy clay with large rounded grains of quartz. Probably the so-called “clay-with-flints” so common on the chalk-downs was used. As far as one can judge from so small a sample, only enough clay was used to bind the material.

page 140 note 1 On this fragment Mr. C. Reid wrote as follows: ‘The chalk-flint looks as if it had been intentionally crushed and added to the paste for stiffening. The quartz grains probably came from Tertiary deposits. Samples of clay as coarse as this can often be found over the chalk downs. It may have been baked by piling brushwood over the inverted pot. I see no sign of chalk or charcoal having been used in this paste.’

page 140 note 2 Mr. C. Reid described no. 252 as follows: ‘Soft paste stiffened with fragments of old pots and some grit. Well burnt outside to rim; black and slacker baked inside, suggesting that the pot was inverted and fire could only reach outside.’

page 140 note 3 The late Mr. C. Reid examined one of the coarsest unornamented fragments, and wrote: ‘Thin, well-burnt pottery, not local; the grit is all vein-quartz, and suggests Bristol coal-field.’

page 141 note 1 Of one of these fragments Mr. C. Reid wrote: ‘Not local; paste black and sandy, and full of splinters of grit, with some large quartz-grains. The splinters look like Carboniferous Limestone chert, rather than chalk-flint, but there is not enough material to be certain. Perhaps from the Mendips.’

page 141 note 2 E. C. Curwen, Antiquity, June 1930, iv, 186.

page 142 note 1 This specimen is preserved in the Pitt-Rivers Museum, Oxford. All the other flint implements are in Devizes Museum.

page 142 note 2 J. G. D. Clark, Antiq. Journ. April 1932, xii, 158.

page 142 note 3 Beaker pottery is found to occur with wares of food-vessel affinities in the lowland zone, e.g. at Plantation Farm, Shippea Hill, near Ely, which also produced plano-convex knives. Antiq. Journ. 1933, xiii. 266.

page 143 note 1 J. G. D. Clark, Proc. Preh. Soc. E. Anglia, 1932, vii, 67. See also Eliot Curwen and E. C. Curwen on ‘A Flint Sickle-flake from Selmeston, Sussex’, Antiq. Journ. Oct. 1934, xiv, 389.

page 143 note 1 This Table was drawn up by J. Grahame Clark and H. St. George Gray.

page 143 note 2 These four implements were not examined by Dr. Grahame Clark.

page 145 note 1 The tibia is not platycnemic, the latitudinal index being 731.

page 146 note 1 Dwarf skeleton from Dog Holes, Warton Crag, Lancs. Four bones of this individual are sufficiently perfect for measurement, and these are a left tibia (length 305 mm.), a left fibula (length 292 mm.), a left radius (length 226 mm.), and a right humerus (length 258 mm.). In all probability the Dog Holes femora were about 365 mm. in length when perfect. Adopting Rollet's and Topinard's formulae for calculating the height, we get an average stature from the four bones for the dwarf of 4 ft. 4¾ in. The epiphyses are united, showing that growth was complete. Age about twenty-five years. There is apparently an absence of pathological conditions (Trans. Lancs, and Chesh. Antiq. Soc. xxx, 1913, 113–14).

page 146 note 2 Near the top of Roman stratum above—in various places but more or less over the position of the skeleton—lumps of sarsen had been met with; two pieces measured 18 in. in length each; another 27 in. by 18 in. by 7 in.; and another 21 in. by 18 in. by 7 in. Farther west a large sarsen slab was found in the surface mould, length 47 in., max. width 24 in., max. thickness 11 in. (thin on all sides). The latter was probably split off one of the stones of the outer circle and shot over into the fosse. Between Cuttings IX and X on the surface of the silting of the ditch a piece of sarsen stone was noticed; it was found to be 4 ft. long.

page 146 note 3 Part of a lower jaw, no. 30, was found at a depth of 8·3 ft. in the chalk rubble in Cutting I, 1908.

page 147 note 1 A similar ball, not quite spherical, about 2 in. in diameter, was found at Grime's Graves in 1914 (see Grime's Graves Report, 1915, 210).

page 149 note 1 The discovery of antler picks is by no means confined to sites dating from the late Neolithic and early Bronze Age. Specimens have occurred on Roman sites, as for instance Woodyates (? Vindogladia) and Viroconium (Excavations in Cranborne Chase, iii, 135; Wroxeter Excavations, 2nd report, 1913, pl. ix, fig. 2).

The Rev. A. C. Smith, in his large book on North Wilts., informs us that ‘fragments of antler picks, the instruments with which the graves had been dug, have been found repeatedly in opening the barrows of North Wilts.’. A large number of antler picks were found in the prehistoric shafts at Maumbury Rings, Dorchester, which the writer excavated in 1908–13 (Proc. Dorset N. H. & Archaeol. Soc.).

Others were found at Knap Hill Camp, Alton Barnes, N. Wilts. (Devizes Museum). A good specimen from Avebury was exhibited by the Rev. Bryan King, vicar of Avebury, when the British Archaeological Association visited Avebury in 1880. Portions of antler picks—one piece being smoothed and charred at the handle-end—were found in the great artificial mound at Marlborough College (Report M. C. Nat. Hist. Soc., vol. lxi, 1912, p. 25). About twenty antler picks were found in the Harrow Hill flint mines (Sussex Archaeol. Coll., lxvii, 117, and pl. v). Similar implements have been taken from the flint mines at Spiennes, Mons, Belgium (Stone Age Antiquities, Brit. Mus., 1926, 153).

But the flint mines of Grime's Graves and Cissbury have produced more specimens of these antler picks than any other places in Britain. At the Grime's Graves, excavated first by Canon Greenwell, the picks were all found in the galleries or in the filling of the shaft, below 17 ft. from the surface; the total number then discovered was seventy-nine. Much work has been done there since then, and readers are referred for further information to Mr. Clarke's Report and to Proc. Preh. Soc. E. Anglia, vol. ii, etc. No less than 244 antler picks were found in the excavations at Grime's Graves in 1914; 147 of the specimens had also been used as hammers. A fine example of an antler pick was found in Gallery 6, pit 1, and is figured in P.P.S.E. Anglia, vol. v, p. 110. There are at least four of these picks in Norwich Castle Museum, one with ‘cut’ handle and marks of fire. Others may be seen in the British Museum (Stone Age Antiquities, Brit. Mus., 1926, 79–81).

The above is not of course, by any means, a complete list of sites where antler picks have been found.

page 155 note 1 There is no doubt about the finding of this fibula in this position, as it was picked up by the writer when closely watching the excavators digging at this level.

page 156 note 1 ‘Aucissa’ is very rarely met with on Roman pottery. One piece bearing the name was found in Paris over a century ago.

page 156 note 2 Arch. Journ., lx, 240 (figured); Ephemeris Epigraphica, ix, 661; Vict Co. Hist. Som., i, 343 (figured); The Connoisseur, August 1918, li, 221 (one figured).

page 156 note 3 Arch. Journ., lxii, 265.

page 156 note 4 Ibid., 265–6 (figured); Hull Museum Publications, xv, Dec. 1905 (figured).

page 156 note 5 Proc. Soc. Antiq. Lond., xxi, 131; Proc. Som. Arch. Soc., lvi, ii, 56 (figured); The Connoisseur, li, 221 (figured).

page 156 note 6 The Antiquaries Journal, iii, 150.

page 156 note 7 One figured in Proc. Som. Arch. Soc., li, 146. A good specimen of the type was found with human remains in Coronation Road, near St. John's Church, Weston-super-Mare, and may be seen in the Museum in that town.

page 156 note 8 Figured by the writer in The Connoisseur, li, 221.

page 157 note 1 Cat. Devizes Museum, pt. ii (2nd edit.), 1934, p. 222, and pl. lxxii, fig. 8.

page 157 note 2 Wilts. Arch. Mag., xli, plate facing p. 279, no. 3.

page 157 note 3 Figured and described in the Wroxeter Report, i (1913), p. 24, no. 5.

page 157 note 4 Will be figured in the Fourth Report on Richborough (Soc. of Antiquaries).

page 157 note 5 Antiq. Journ., xii (1932), p. 64, and pl. xvii, 8 d.

page 157 note 6 This section has been read by Dr. J. Wilfrid Jackson, F.G.S.

page 160 note 1 See also Welsh Timber Trees, by H. A. Hyde (Nat. Mus. of Wales, 1931), p. 63.

page 161 note 1 The vallum now remaining nearest to the causeway would appear to have obstructed the entrance-way from the Kennet Avenue, but this is not really so, for allowance must be made for the silting down of the material composing the vallum at its end, forming a talus, and for the fact that other beech-trees have been planted in this position, caused obstruction, and gathered round them a certain amount of decayed vegetable matter.

page 162 note 1 When the Avebury excavations began in 1908 comparatively little was known as to the details which afforded a clue in dividing Neolithic from early Bronze Age pottery with any degree of certainty.


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