Publication of the week: David Jacques

18 December 2014

David Jacques and Tom Phillips, with contributions by Peter Hoare, Barry Bishop, Tony Legge and Simon Parfitt, “Mesolithic settlement near Stonehenge: excavations at Blick Mead, Vespasian’s Camp, Amesbury”, Wiltshire Archaeological & Natural History Magazine 107 (2014), 7-27

A spring at Blick Mead, Vespasian’s Camp, close to Stonehenge, has preserved substantial Mesolithic deposits, which potentially transform our understanding of the pre-Stonehenge landscape and the establishment of its later ritual character. This report contains detailed analyses of the finds of lithic material and animal remains from the excavations there, which expanded when The University of Buckingham adopted the project in 2013.

David Jacques argues that Blick Mead was a ‘persistent place’ for nearly 3,000 years during the Mesolithic period because the sheltered position and constant water temperature created an extended growing season which attracted fauna and then humans.  Wood and flint were abundant at the site, and the red algae which turn flint a bright magenta pink are a unique phenomenon.  The evidence suggests that tool-making and large-scale feasting took place there.  There are more remains of aurochs, twice the size of modern cattle, than at any other Mesolithic site in Britain, and they were hunted and killed around Blick Mead.  Mr Jacques concludes that “the later Mesolithic may well emerge as a new starting point for the better known archaeology of the Stonehenge landscape.”

Read the full article, by permission of the Wiltshire Archaeological & Natural History Magazine.

David Jacques is Senior Research Fellow in Archaeology at The University of Buckingham, and programme director of the MA in Archaeology: Stonehenge a Landscape through Time.  The University also offers a MOOC on Stonehenge.