SARSEN STONES and THE POLISSOIR
Working with our hardy volunteers we have been searching the landscape around Tenants Hill for sarsen stones. The objective has been to look at the natural distribution of the stones, and think about this in relation to the prehistoric monuments that were built using sarsen. This led one of our volunteers to alert us to some sarsens that had been recently uncovered (from brambles and scrub) by Natural England and EuCan in the Valley of Stones, which is when the polissoir was spotted.
We have scanned and recorded the polissoir stone, and started an initial excavation of the area but we want to do much more. This is only the 2nd large polissoir in the UK that has been found in its original context, so this is a great opportunity to learn more about exactly when and how it was used. We cannot excavate further without ensuring first that all the analysis can be properly done and paid for. Volunteers are always involved in our projects as possible but they are also conducted to the highest standards of research. Therefore we are fund raising.
If you wish to help out by sponsoring a sarsen stone you will not only enable the project to continue on its research journey but your name will be enshrined in our reports as we produce detailed maps of the sarsen stones and name one after you!
For more information on the polissoir please read our blog entries.
TENANTS HILL, WEST DORSET
Tenants Hill forms the western end of a chalk ridge, which is part of the South Dorset Ridgeway. The site overlooks the valley of the River Bride to the north and has views of the coastline between Bridport and Lyme Regis to the west. It is impossible to access by car today although ancient footpaths traverse the site, including the South Dorset Old Stones Way.
The landscape is full of prehistoric monuments, our excavation is next to Kingston Russell Stone Circle, the Grey Mare and Her Colts chambered long barrow is a short walk along the ridge and there are numerous burial mounds scattered throughout the fields. The landscape is also rich with later archaeology- medieval lynchets and field boundaries can be seen in nearby pastures.
Our excavation has uncovered a possible 3500 year old settlement very close to the stone circle. This is unusual because it is normally assumed that ritual and domestic spaces occupy different places! We hope to investigate further to confirm if it is a settlement and to explore how the settlement and stone circle relate to each other.
QUANTOCK LANDSCAPE PARTNERSHIP
We are conducting test pit excavations in villages around the fringes of the Quantock Hills Landscape, Somerset. This is part of the Quantock Landscape Partnership Scheme and we will be working together with local residents and the AONB. We hope to improve our understanding of the development of these villages during the medieval and post-medieval periods.
Our aims are to:
• Enhance current understandings of medieval and post-medieval village development in the Quantock landscape;
• To identify artefacts and features that might indicate foci of activity, which do not necessarily relate to extant or known buildings.
• Teach people about the history of the landscape of the Quantock fringe through a high-quality archaeological experience.
For more information about the scheme please visit https://qlps.org/ or to register interest contact us here.
MARSTON MAGNA HERITAGE GROUP
A recently formed community group looking at the heritage of Marston Magna, Somerset