Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Windmill Hill

Windmill Hill causewayed enclosure is one of those 'first' places in archaeology, it has a pottery type named after it, it is the first evidence of settlement in the Avebury complex and so by right has a venerated role in the landscape.
I must have walked up to it in February of this year, from Avebury, past the church, over the bridge at Avebury Truesloe and then down the lane past the expensive cottages. Up the track with Moss, meeting a rider leading a horse, and then through the gate into this site. Its unprepossessing appearance is a first response, the barrows in the centre mark it out, but it ditches and banks are small. Looking at the recent book that has come out, and I note that Keiller who excavated some of the bank and ditches, restored them after the excavation was finished. In one photograph there are great piles of snowy white chalk spoil heaped in the background, and it is well to remember that what you see, may not necessarily be as it was. The same can be said of the barrows, one is supposed to have had a windmill on it, hence the name, they to have been much degraded, probably by farming.
Yet forgetting these petty criticisms, the photos that he took of the bones, mostly animal, at the bottom of the ditches, are a sharp reminder of past lives. There is a skeleton of a man lying casually on the original ground level beneath the bank. Another of a childs skeleton. Dog bones, oxen, some pig and sheep/goat are also to be found......

Two of the barrows in the centre

Ditch round barrow

Strange stone probably from excavations of ditches

bank and ditch with sheep

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