Friday, 4 April 2008

Stonehenge '08 dig day 4

From BBC History.

The Timewatch excavation entered an exciting new phase on Thursday. There's still work to be done in the bluestone sockets (chiselled into the chalk bedrock), but at last the team could move onto 'virgin soil' - a rare privilege at Stonehenge.

First, the archaeologists marked out the trench into 50cm-wide squares. Then, they chose four squares at random and carefully cleared them to a depth of 5cm, one at a time. Not unexpectedly, this top level had a scattering of "Victorian picnic debris" said Professor Tim Darvill - fragments of glass, clay tobacco pipes and pottery.

The discovery of some broken-up bluestones, at around 11.30am, was much more encouraging, "just the sort of material that we're looking for", explained the Professor. A hammer stone was also found, but made from a non-local material. This means that it was brought to the area, though for now its origins remain a mystery.

News of the dig has travelled far. Today, like many before them, TV crews from Russia and Germany made the pilgrimage to the world's most famous Neolithic monument. In today's video, David Miles, chief archaeologist at English Heritage, explains why this dig is so special, and Professor Darvill reports from the trench itself.

Full story here.

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