| 8 January 2005
Ancient henge discovered near Chester
Cheshire has a wooden henge after archaeologists made the discovery near Chester (England). Researchers working at Poulton, on the Duke of Westminster's land, were amazed to find the Bronze Age burials they had been investigating were preceded by a much earlier 'ritual' presence. A circle of holes indicated the existence of the wooden henge together with a large hole in the centre which was potentially a form of 'totem pole'. Now Durham University is to undertake both soil analysis and the dating of wood fragments.
Site director Mike Emery said: "This will firmly place the burial ground and the timber circle in their proper historical context, as well as providing valuable environmental evidence, which will help to recreate what life was like thousands of years ago. The uncovering of the site of a timber circle, possibly a 'henge' monument, is of great and rare importance in the north-west."
Mr Emery said this earliest phase was currently under excavation and a more detailed report would be given later this year. "What can be stated is that the Poulton site was part of a ritual/religious landscape that was established some 5000 years ago," he commented.
Archaeologists have discovered evidence of human activity at the site from several periods of human history. And the 2004 excavations have proved to be the most successful to date. Work on the Bronze Age Burial Ground (1600-1000 BCE) is now complete. Cremated human bone has been found along with coarse, hand-made pottery and animal bone fragments.
The causeway into the area aims for a gap in the Cheshire Sandstone Ridge. It is now evident that the ring-ditch is one of several, others being located close by. Mr Emery says the importance of the Poulton Bronze Age 'barrow' group cannot be underestimated. "The existence of such a burial group opens up the unique and exciting prospect of locating a Bronze Age village, nearby," he said. "Such settlements are rare."
Sources: ic CheshireOnline, The Chronicle (31 December 2004)
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