ripple flaked arrowhead,
According to the BBC, English Heritage volunteer archaeologist Jim Leary was excited by the discovery, saying “It’s exceeded all of our expectations”. The dwelling appears to have been constructed between 2500BC-2400BC and appears to be different to a normal home, with Leary suggesting it may have been a priest’s quarters.
The finds echo those discovered a couple of years ago at Durrington Walls where several neolithic dwellings were also discovered. The newly discovered dwelling at Marden Henge, Wiltshire included an oven known as a hearth, which was regularly cleaned by the occupant. “Just outside the front door we can see this long spread of charcoal and general rubbish material”, Leary told the BBC.
Finds at the site’s archaeological dig also included a ripple flaked arrowhead, fresh flint flakes, pottery and bone pins, offering an insight into the history of the dwelling. On the 15th of July, EHArchaeology tweeted “Looks like we may have a Durrington Walls style neolithic building surface at #mardenhenge. Need to confirm that but looks promising.”
The henge definitely has plenty of features thatshould get experts excited. In the centre is a huge mound, similar to nearby Silbury Hill, which collapsed in 1806 and was completely flattened by 1817. The team is working on dating the material in its centre. A large circular feature, surrounded by a bank and gullies, is also being scoured as the mystery of Marden unravels.
The archaeological excavations were accompanied by geophysical and topographical studies to understand and preserve what English Heritage archaeologist Jim Leary says is an ancient sleeping giant. “Marden Henge deserves to be understood more partly because of its size, but also due to its proximity to the more famous stone circles at Avebury and Stonehenge,” he says. “The relationship between the latter two sites – chronology of their construction, whether it is built by the same people, how they were used, etc – is of immense interest” adds Leary.
During the 18th century a skeleton and deer antlers were found within the bank of Hatfield Earthworks, a key feature of the Marden Henge site.The archaeological dig uncovered Neolithic pottery, animal bones, antler picks, stone tools, and a human skeleton from the ditch. A Romano-British disc brooch made of bronze was also found. The nearby Hatfield Barrow are the remains of a large mound barrow which once stood 15 metres high, and 64 metres in diameter.
Digital Digging recently created a fantastic video based on Google Earth using an illustration by Philip Crocker, from Sir Richard Colt Hoare’s “Ancient Wiltshire” (1812) and overlaying onto the site to show clearly the distinct features of the site, including Hatfield Barrow. You can check out more reconstructions by Digital Digging of Durrington and Avebury here.
The discovery comes hot off the heels of the announcement of the discovery of a henge at Stonehenge, hailed as the most significant find at the Salisbury Plains site in 50 years. Marden Henge finds itself sited between UNESCO World Heritage sites of Stonehenge and Avebury.
You can watch the sun rise over Stonehenge from your own home with Stonehenge Virtual. Meet Neolithic builders, wander through the stones and even try putting a trithlon up yourself.