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ArchaeologyPart of Humanities

Research project: Between the Monuments

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Between the Monuments seeks to investigate the character of human settlement in the Avebury landscape during the 4th to mid-2nd millennia BC, and its relationship to changing environmental and social conditions, including the demands of monument building.  The context for this work resides in on-going debates surrounding the character of settlement and routine life during the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age, the Holocene environmental history of the English chalklands, prehistoric human-environment relations in their broadest sense, and connections between landscape inhabitation, memory and monumentality.


The great prehistoric ceremonial monuments of the Avebury World Heritage Site, Wiltshire, have both captured the public imagination and been the focus of archaeological enquiry for over three centuries.  However the wider worlds of routine, subsistence and settlement within which the monuments were created remain poorly understood.  Visitors to Avebury often ask ‘where and how did the people who built these monuments live?', yet this remains a difficult question to answer.

The project is drawing together existing archives resulting from episodes of unpublished surface collection, excavation and chance discovery, and generating new information through a programme of targeted fieldwork.  During 2013 it is intended to undertake work on two important Middle-Late Neolithic sites: at the foot of Avebury Down; and on the line of the West Kennet Avenue, where excavations in 1934 revealed traces of in situ settlement remains.

The project is a collaboration between Southampton, the University of Leicester (Mark Gillings) and staff of the National Trust at Avebury (Ros Cleal and Nick Snashall).

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