| 2 September 2014
Finds from Avebury's West Kennet Avenue
Archaeology students mostly from Southampton and Leicester universities have re-opened one trench from last year's dig, plus another major area of investigation, moving tons of turf and soil to reach a level that has never been ploughed. This part of the Avenue was where, in the 1930s, Alexander Keiller located a gap in the row of stones.
Among this year's finds are several flint arrowheads - including one tiny barbed and tanged arrowhead which the project's experts say was deliberately miniaturised, and the workmanship is extraordinary.
The dig is part of the long term "Between the Monuments" collaborative research programme, which aims to find out more about the routine lives of the people who built and used Avebury's henge and avenues, understand why these monuments were made and why the site was chosen.
Soil samples may reveal signs of plant life, what animals were about, and other details. The soil is so acidic that snail shells and bones are not found, but pollen and chemical residues will be preserved.
A recently developed technique allows scientists to tell what different sizes and shapes of flint cutting tools were used for. This high-magnification process has shown one tool found last year was used to cut nettles - from which string and cords were made.
Another exciting find in one of last year's trenches is what looks like the remains of a hearth, near twelve stake-holes in a pattern suggesting part of a dwelling.
If sufficient funding is available, a third year's dig may reveal even more evidence of the human lives that flourished between Avebury's stones.
Edited from Marlborough News Online (5 August 2014)
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