Thursday, July 12, 2007

Notes; West Kennet Palisaded Enclosures

Enclosure 1 straddles the present course of the river Kennet, whilst enclosure 2 lies to the south of the river. Behind is Waden Hill, and to the n/e the steep chalk ridge of Overton Hill.
The sites are roughly equidistant from Silbury Hill to the west and the Sanctuary to the east, being about 1 km from each. The s/e end of the West Kennet Avenue passes within 170 metres to the n/e of enclosure 2. First chalk ridge to the south lies the WKLB and EKLB. Ditches have been traced north of the river and east of Gunsight lane, on the terrace south of the Kennet floodplain meadows and in the southern edge of the floodplain meadows.
There has been no investigation in the grounds of the manor west of Gunsight Lane - buildings will mask the sight here. 1970s a pipe trench was dug along the Kennet Ave - site observed by the Vatchers, they recorded several features - postpipes, some sarsen packing and patches of charcoal. 2 ditches; more easterly was about 2m broad, the more westerly over 3 m broad, they were not bottomed by the pipe trench. They ran obliquely across the pipe trench and showed more clearly than in section a pattern of closely spaced postpipes with small sarsens and charcoal concentrations.
Other features to the west of the more westerly feature were series of smaller features; shallow scoops and stakeholes. Finds; worked flints, including scrapers, single dec.sherd (grooved ware bowl) animal bone - cattle and an ox horncore of neolithic type....1987 Sept. 5 trenches; An inner and outer ditch about 25-30 m apart were located and excavated in trenches E and F, both features were also located in trench D. An oblique ripple flaked flint arrowhead was found in outer ditch trench D, also antler samples ( 2317-2142 and 2032-1890)...... in trench C a deep broad natural channel or hollow was found - its fill was mainly R/B and then Saxon date... ...Pig bones;
The most dominant species of animal bone "it is clear that the that the comnsumption of pork was a central concern in the events surrounding the enclosure" slaughter of young pigs must have been on a considerable scale, similar perhaps to the trees felled for the palisade, pig bone in every cutting. Sampling was from less than one percent of total perimeters, but if the same pattern of deposition occured all round the ditches, original total could have run into thousands of animals (conspicious consumption and large scale feasting).
Whittle's conclusion that this maybe reflect a short lived situation, in which pigs were used to clear secondary woodland, and maybe bracken, since bracken spore has been found in the Avebury area, and may have caused an infestation. Slaughter on site, or immediate vicinity; emphasis on particular body parts, and on body sides - lack of gnawing and placing of bone by palisade posts indicate the immediacy of bone treatment. Cattle may have been valued for ritual and slaughter (greater fragmentation of cattle bones) no evidence for marrow extraction.
Ritual and deposition; animal bone was placed around posts in the process of backfilling the ditches and constructing the palisades. Slaughter, sacrifice, feasting and deposition were closely related...In late neolithic long established tradition of feasting, the enclosures were overlooked by the ancestors in WKLB, most bone concealed but some left on top as a visual reminder for later gatherings...pigs may have had symbolic meaning in their own right. Emphasis on right side may be connected with a sense of propitiousness...comparing them to tribes in Papua New Guinea - a largely vegetarian society, their pigs were bound up with warfare and peace making, spirits and ritual, reared from a young age by women. When pig numbers reached a peak a kaiko was held. Pigs were slaughtered but not all eaten they were sacrificed, the ceremony was designed to bring peace with neighbouring tribes

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