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A Neolithic Downland Monument in its Environment: Excavations at the Easton Down Long Barrow, Bishops Cannings, North Wiltshire

  • A. Whittle (a1), A. J. Rouse (a1), J. G. Evans (a1), C. Barker (a2), C. Cartwright (a3), G. Cruse (a4), I. Dennis (a1), A. S. Fairbairn (a5), M. Hamilton (a1), R. I. Macphail (a6), B. Noddle (a7) and J. Pollard (a1)...

Abstract

Excavations at the Easton Down long barrow were part of a wider programme of research into the Neolithic sequence and context of the Avebury area in north Wiltshire. The short barrow, on high chalk downland to the south-west of Avebury and the upper Kennet valley, and containing only a few inhumations according to Thurnam's 19th-century investigation, dates to the later 4th millennium BC. Test pits around the barrow produced very little struck flint, and virtually no colluvium in the adjacent dry valley to the west. The mound covered a thin calcareous turfline above a rubbly soil, probably formerly cultivated. The pre-barrow molluscan fauna, soil micromorphology and other environmental data indicate a clearance adjacent to woodland. In the secondary fill of the flanking ditches there is a succession from renewed woodland to open conditions in the Late Neolithic.

The Easton Down monument falls relatively late in the regional sequence of long barrow construction. Its setting was probably one of scattered, non-permanent clearances in woodland. Woodland was still widespread on the higher downland of the region in the middle of the Neolithic. Renewed and bigger-scale clearance towards the end of the Neolithic may be connected with the construction of very large monuments elsewhere in the region. The later prehistoric landscape became both more open and less diverse.

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A Neolithic Downland Monument in its Environment: Excavations at the Easton Down Long Barrow, Bishops Cannings, North Wiltshire

  • A. Whittle (a1), A. J. Rouse (a1), J. G. Evans (a1), C. Barker (a2), C. Cartwright (a3), G. Cruse (a4), I. Dennis (a1), A. S. Fairbairn (a5), M. Hamilton (a1), R. I. Macphail (a6), B. Noddle (a7) and J. Pollard (a1)...

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