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East Chisenbury Midden 2015−17: further investigations of the late prehistoric midden deposits, enclosure and associated settlement

Andrews, Phil, Booth, Tom, Crabb, Nicholas, Egging Dinwiddy, Kirsten, Foster, Jennifer, Garland, Kathy, Harding, Phil, Higbee, Lorrain, Lalor, Briony, Lopez-Doriga, Ines, Madgwick, Richard ORCID: and Norcott, David 2021. East Chisenbury Midden 2015−17: further investigations of the late prehistoric midden deposits, enclosure and associated settlement. Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine 114 , pp. 84-121.

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After a gap of almost two decades further investigations were initiated at this remarkable late prehistoric midden site, supported by Operation Nightingale/Breaking Ground Heritage. Geophysical survey clarified the extent of the broadly contemporary enclosure surrounding the midden, as well as other related features, while subsequent excavations provided new information on the midden, the enclosure and settlement. Two small trenches in the northeast half of the midden revealed a different sequence and produced far fewer finds than the 1992−3 excavations in the southwest half, demonstrating that it is not a homogeneous mound. A substantial ditch and associated bank, largely levelled by the late Roman period, may have been contemporary with or pre-dated the early development of the midden, while some 150 postholes attested to the presence of numerous roundhouses and other structures within the enclosure. Overall, a date range of c. 1000−500 cal. BC and possibly later is suggested from radiocarbon dating and pottery, the main phase of midden development perhaps later than the majority of the settlement. Furthermore, recent results of radiocarbon dating of material from the earlier excavations suggest the site sequence may continue as late as c. 400 cal. BC. Radiocarbon dating of the few human remains has also highlighted the likelihood that some were curated, the probable intervals between the dates of death and deposition ranging from a few decades to three centuries. Finds and environmental assemblages are generally consistent with those previously found, but a few sherds of scratch cordoned bowl represent a significant new discovery, as does a unique copper alloy ‘pendant’ of possible continental origin. Evidence now indicates that cattle, as well as sheep and pigs, were intensively managed and slaughtered on site, with the isotope data suggesting local origins for most of the animals, though some cattle may have been raised on pasturage further afield.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
Related URLs:
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 17 August 2021
Date of Acceptance: March 2021
Last Modified: 03 May 2023 06:26

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