New theory over Stonehenge origins

18 02 2018

THE community that built the Neolithic causewayed enclosure at Larkhill may have been the architects of the Stonehenge landscape, archaeologists believe.

New theory over Stonehenge origins A Beaker or Bronze Age infant burial site at Larkhill. Picture by Wessex Archaeology

The causewayed enclosure, which dates between 3650 to 3750 BC – pre-dating Stonehenge by 600 years, was uncovered by archaeologists from Wessex Archaeology in 2016.

Si Cleggett, project manager and archaeologist at Wessex Archaeology now believes the community who built the causewayed enclosure may have been more closely involved in the planning of Stonehenge than previously thought.

He said: “The causewayed enclosure at Larkhill was constructed during the late Stone Age, a period of transition when our ancestors gradually moved away from a mobile hunter-gatherer lifestyle and embraced a farming existence where the domestication of livestock and control of agriculture began.”

Causewayed enclosures are believed to be meeting places, centres of trade and cult or ritual centres to name but a few. They are only 70 known examples.

The Wessex Archaeology teams were commissioned by WYG on behalf of the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) to undertake excavations on land adjacent to Royal Artillery Larkhill. The land, on the edge of Salisbury Plainand, immediately north of the Stonehenge World Heritage Site, has been earmarked for the provision of service family accommodation under the Army Basing Programme.

Archaeologists believe there was a five post alignment at the entrance of the causewayed enclosure which were positioned almost identically to the stones of Stonehenge.

Mr Cleggett said: “The communities who gathered at the Larkhill causewayed enclosure during the Early Neolithic were there 600 years before the landscape setting of Stonehenge was conceived and may have been involved in the conceptualisation or even the creation of the landscape we see today.

“It is enormously fitting that thousands of years later, those that strive to protect our identity as a nation will again meet at Larkhill through the delivery of service family housing.”

The Larkhill site, which is 24 hectares, is the largest open area archaeological excavation ever undertaken in proximity to the Stonehenge World Heritage Site.

Article Source: Katy Griffin – Salisbury Journal

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23 02 2018

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