To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Studies of early fourth-millennium BC Britain have typically focused on the Early Neolithic sites of Wessex and Orkney; what can the investigation of sites located in areas beyond these core regions add? The authors report on excavations (2011–2019) at Dorstone Hill in Herefordshire, which have revealed a remarkable complex of Early Neolithic monuments: three long barrows constructed on the footprints of three timber buildings that had been deliberately burned, plus a nearby causewayed enclosure. A Bayesian chronological model demonstrates the precocious character of many of the site's elements and strengthens the evidence for the role of tombs and houses/halls in the creation and commemoration of foundational social groups in Neolithic Britain.
In response to Timothy Darvill's article, ‘Mythical rings?’ (this issue), which argues for an alternative interpretation of Waun Mawn circle and its relationship with Stonehenge, Parker Pearson and colleagues report new evidence from the Welsh site and elaborate on aspects of their original argument. The discovery of a hearth at the centre of the circle, as well as further features around its circumference, reinforces the authors’ original interpretation. The authors explore the evidence for the construction sequence, which was abandoned before the completion of the monument. Contesting Darvill's argument that the Aubrey Holes at Stonehenge originally held posts, the authors reassert their interpretation of this circle of cut features as Bluestone settings.
The Altar Stone at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, UK, is enigmatic in that it differs markedly from the other bluestones. It is a grey–green, micaceous sandstone and has been considered to be derived from the Old Red Sandstone sequences of South Wales. Previous studies, however, have been based on presumed derived fragments (debitage) that have been identified visually as coming from the Altar Stone. Portable X-ray fluorescence (pXRF) analyses were conducted on these fragments (ex situ) as well as on the Altar Stone (in situ). Light elements (Z<37) in the Altar Stone analyses, performed after a night of heavy rain, were affected by surface and pore water that attenuate low energy X-rays, however the dry analyses of debitage fragments produced data for a full suite of elements. High Z elements, including Zr, Nb, Sr, Pb, Th and U, all occupy the same compositional space in the Altar Stone and debitage fragments, and are statistically indistinguishable, indicating the fragments are derived from the Altar Stone. Barium compares very closely between the debitage and Altar Stone, with differences being related to variable baryte distribution in the Altar Stone, limited accessibility of its surface for analysis, and probably to surface weathering.
A notable feature of the Altar Stone sandstone is the presence of baryte (up to 0.8 modal%), manifest as relatively high Ba in both the debitage and the Altar Stone. These high Ba contents are in marked contrast with those in a small set of Old Red Sandstone field samples, analysed alongside the Altar Stone and debitage fragments, raising the possibility that the Altar Stone may not have been sourced from the Old Red Sandstone sequences of Wales. This high Ba ‘fingerprint’, related to the presence of baryte, may provide a rapid test using pXRF in the search for the source of the Stonehenge Altar Stone.
The discovery of a dismantled stone circle—close to Stonehenge's bluestone quarries in west Wales—raises the possibility that a 900-year-old legend about Stonehenge being built from an earlier stone circle contains a grain of truth. Radiocarbon and OSL dating of Waun Mawn indicate construction c. 3000 BC, shortly before the initial construction of Stonehenge. The identical diameters of Waun Mawn and the enclosing ditch of Stonehenge, and their orientations on the midsummer solstice sunrise, suggest that at least part of the Waun Mawn circle was brought from west Wales to Salisbury Plain. This interpretation complements recent isotope work that supports a hypothesis of migration of both people and animals from Wales to Stonehenge.
Geologists and archaeologists have long known that the bluestones of Stonehenge came from the Preseli Hills of west Wales, 230km away, but only recently have some of their exact geological sources been identified. Two of these quarries—Carn Goedog and Craig Rhos-y-felin—have now been excavated to reveal evidence of megalith quarrying around 3000 BC—the same period as the first stage of the construction of Stonehenge. The authors present evidence for the extraction of the stone pillars and consider how they were transported, including the possibility that they were erected in a temporary monument close to the quarries, before completing their journey to Stonehenge.
The long-distance transport of the Stonehenge bluestones from the Mynydd Preseli area of north Pembrokeshire was first proposed by geologist H.H. Thomas in 1923. For over 80 years, his work on the provenancing of the Stonehenge bluestones from locations in Mynydd Preseli in south Wales has been accepted at face value. New analytical techniques, alongside transmitted and reflected light microscopy, have recently prompted renewed scrutiny of Thomas's work. While respectable for its time, the results of these new analyses, combined with a thorough checking of the archived samples consulted by Thomas, reveal that key locations long believed to be sources for the Stonehenge bluestones can be discounted in favour of newly identified locations at Craig-Rhos-y-felin and Carn Goedog.
These three books range from the clinical (Hunt) to the folksy (Woodward and Hill), and might be seen as a progression. One travelling from the Hunt-edited encyclopaedia with its emphasis on new and exotic scientific analytical techniques, rigorous theoretical approaches and data analysis, through the Integrative approaches book using techniques and ideas that have proved effective for decades (this book is firmly within the mainstream of recent excellent pot books that have a very strong US contribution, as exemplified by Quinn 2009), to the English, and almost quaint, re-issue of Woodward and Hill outlining post-processualist concerns and quite devoid of any black box ‘gee-whiz’. Their combined 1200 pages, heavily featuring petrography, often alongside geochemistry, show that these sorts of ceramic studies, although often regarded as comatose-inducing, are in favour again.
The long-distance transport of the bluestones from south Wales to Stonehenge is one of the most remarkable achievements of Neolithic societies in north-west Europe. Where precisely these stones were quarried, when they were extracted and how they were transported has long been a subject of speculation, experiment and controversy. The discovery of a megalithic bluestone quarry at Craig Rhos-y-felin in 2011 marked a turning point in this research. Subsequent excavations have provided details of the quarrying process along with direct dating evidence for the extraction of bluestone monoliths at this location, demonstrating both Neolithic and Early Bronze Age activity.
During the 1960s and 1970s, aerial reconnaissance on the northern side of the confluence of the Rivers Trent, Tame, and Mease in Staffordshire revealed a cluster of features indicative of prehistoric ceremonial activity. Some of the features within the cluster are morphologically unique, but a lack of previous investigation meant that their dating, phasing, and function were unknown. This paper details the results of a multi-disciplinary approach to addressing these questions about the complex and to place it into its contemporary landscape context. The results indicate that the complex represents numerous phases of symbolic and ceremonial activity extending from the late Neolithic and into the early Bronze Age. Furthermore, it has shown how these structures fit within a wider landscape of ceremonial activity extending back to the earlier Neolithic and continuing into the Bronze Age.
The authors review the significance of bracers by undertaking a detailed examination of their morphology, fragmentation, manufacture and wear. The results have a number of implications regarding their use and value and this is supported by the use of petrographic and geochemical analyses which suggest discrete patterns of raw material acquisition. A description of the technical methodology and appropriate data tables are available at http://www.antiquity.ac.uk/projgall/woodward.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this to your organisation's collection.