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Terrace Archaeology

and Culture in Europe

 

England

Ingram Valley, Cheviot Hills, NE England:

Early Bronze Age

Gentle Slope/Lynchet

Maritime Temperate

Pilot excavations have been undertaken by Waddington on cultivation terraces at Plantation Camp and Ritto Hill in the Ingram Valley (Frodsham & Waddington 2004). The site has produced dates ranging from Neolithic to Roman, although the bulk of radiocarbon dates are Early Bronze Age (Frodsham & Waddington 2004), providing a terminus ante quem for the terrace construction. While the three EBA dates from the base of the terrace cultivation soil/palaeosol interface suggest the terraces were in use as cultivation terraces, the Early Neolithic date could either represent the underlying paleosol or and earlier episode of agricultural use. The Iron Age Plantation camp and its trackway overlie the terraces. Therefore, taking this together suggests to us that the cultivation terraces were built and commenced use in the EBA c.1800-1500 cal. BC. Excavations in 2019 by Archaeological Research Services and the TerrACE Team uncovered the treads and risers of 6 or 7 terraces both cut into the underlying sediments and supported by rubble walls.

 

Blick Mead, Salisbury Plain, S England:

Post Mesolithic

Gentle Slope/Lynchet

Wet Temperate

Excavations by David Jacques of the university of Buckingham uncovered a large assemblage of mesolithic lithics and aurochs bones along side the warm spring at Blick Mead. Radiocarbon dating of objects from the Buckingham-sponsored excavations now shows that this site was occupied between 7550-4700 BC, which means that the Blick Mead site was in continuous use for almost 3,000 years.

The radiocarbon dates make this the oldest ever ‘homebase’ found in the Stonehenge area and could be one of the reasons why Stonehenge is sited where it is.

The mesolithic site is buried by at least one period of lynchet construction, previously considered to be medieval in date. The TerrACE Team conducted sampling at Blick Mead in June, 2019.

 

Charlton Forest, Sussex, S England:

Late Bronze-Early Iron Age

Gentle Slope/Lynchet

Wet Temperate

Lidar survey during the South Downs National Park "Secrets of the High Woods Project," uncovered  field systems dating from the late prehistoric and Romano-British periods. Previous investigations of a nearby lynchet produced dates of approximately 2900 years ago. DNA, p hytolithsand geochemical analysis are hoped to help us to understand what was grown in the surrounding field system and how these fields were maintained.

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