Fieldwork 2016 – the sites

The second fieldwork season of the Round Mounds Project is already in full swing! Below is a list of sites that will be investigated this year.

One or two more sites may yet be added to this list… See here to read about the criteria we used to select our study sites. We’re looking for mounds situated in landscapes with known prehistoric activity (especially Neolithic monuments!), mounds that are in low-lying and ‘watery’ topographic settings, and mounds that are relatively large (i.e. larger than your average barrow).

The sites

  • “Castle 2”, Hamstead Marshall, W. Berkshire
  • Sherrington, Wiltshire
  • Castle Tump, Worcestershire
  • Clare, Suffolk
  • Tonbridge, Kent
  • Catterick, N. Yorkshire
  • Pilsbury, Derbyshire
  • Tickhill, S. Yorkshire
  • “Montem Mound”, Slough, Berkshire

See here for the list of sites we investigated in our first field season.

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Holy Mounds, Sacred Springs. Prehistoric mounds and their landscapes.

To put the Round Mounds Project in context, Dr Jim Leary describes some previous work on Neolithic round mounds in Wiltshire and how those sites might give us some clues in the search for other similar mounds elsewhere…

One way of identifying mounds with potential for prehistoric origins is to look at the landscape settings of known prehistoric mounds and target sites in similar settings. Recent work on three huge mounds in Wiltshire has proved invaluable.

Silbury Hill: The largest prehistoric mound in Europe

Jim Leary, David Field and Gill Campbell. 2014. Silbury Hill: The largest prehistoric mound in Europe.

On the chalk massif in Wiltshire, near the famous Avebury henge, is a huge pudding bowl-shaped earthen mound called Silbury Hill. It dates to the later Neolithic period, and at 31m high is the largest prehistoric mound in Europe. Recently it was the focus of a multi-million pound archaeological and conservation project after a cavity opened up on the summit in 2000. Although many have suggested that it could have acted as an elevated arena, one of the most striking aspects of the mound is its setting – occupying a low-lying position surrounded by high terrain. This precludes the desire for height and visibility as the main reason for construction. It was not meant to be a prominent feature within the landscape; in fact it is relatively hidden when viewed from afar. Its associations are low down in the landscape – with water. Indeed, Silbury Hill occupies a springhead location and is situated at a confluence of springs and winterbournes of the River Kennet, effectively marking the river’s source. Continue reading