Posted by: travelrat | September 29, 2016

The King’s Gate Dig.


They say ‘History is all around us’. If you live around here, it’s under us as well. We sometimes joke that you can’t put a new flower bed in your garden without having a geophysical survey done first. The oldest known settlement in Britain of any kind was not far from here, and the dig around King’s Gate is unearthing ‘finds’ from the Neolithic right up to Roman times.

They’ve already found the grave of the famous ‘Amesbury Archer’, as well as the foundations of a Roman villa and a Roman cemetery. They held an ‘open day’ at the latest phase of their work last week, Of course, there’s a lot of painstaking lab work to be done before their finds can be properly analysed, but there’s enough to see to make a rough guess at what went on here.

They found post-holes from what used to be the framework of an Iron Age house. The posts were believed to have been much thicker than the hazel sticks used in the Neolithic houses at Stonehenge … maybe we’re looking at the forerunner of the half-timbered house here?

More post holes suggested the existence of ‘four-posters’. You may remember that there were some of these at Durrington, but the archaeologists said they didn’t know what they were for. However, the man here said he had a theory that the post may have been used to raise a grain store off the ground … like the later ‘staddle stones’, still found in many a barn around here.

Many of the ‘finds’ from this dig probably would, if you found them digging in your garden, and didn’t have any archaeological training, you’d probably toss aside. But they found one thing instantly recognisable. A pit containing the bones of several cattle. But, I’m wondering why they were buried here (presumably, they ate the meat and used the hides?) Did they maybe attach some religious significance to the practice?

We’ll probably never know for sure … but it’s fun to guess.

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