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The University of Southampton
ArchaeologyPart of Humanities

Research project: Longstones field, Beckhampton - Dormant - Dormant

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Excavations undertaken in 1999 at Beckhampton, to the west of Avebury, Wiltshire, led to the discovery of the remains of a second megalithic avenue leading from the famous henge monument, and an unusual late Neolithic earthwork enclosure. The existence of the second avenue (the so-called Beckhampton Avenue) had been mooted by the 18th century antiquarian William Stukeley, though severe doubts about its existence had subsequently been raised in the absence of any clear physical evidence.

Longstones field
Longstones field

Excavation revealed a total of six stone settings along the line of the Avenue. These were defined by buried stones and post-medieval stone destruction pits, together with original stone sockets. First spotted from the air in 1997, the enclosure is oval and up to 140m across. Consisting of a shallow, semi-segmented ditch broken by a wide eastern entrance, it pre-dates the avenue. The work, undertaken by a team from the University of Leicester, University of Southampton and University of Wales (Newport), represents the first stage in an Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded five-year project designed to more fully explore the context and history of the remarkable concentration of later Neolithic monuments in the Upper Kennet valley.

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