Time, Memory, the Sacred and the Forbidden (awarded 2021)

As part of an initial pilot project investigating the Roman ritual landscape of Avebury, a team from Universities of Southampton, Bournemouth and L – P : Archaeology were generously funded by the Roman Research Trust to excavate a number of trenches over a geophysical anomaly tentatively identified as a Roman Temple.

Following work previously undertaken by the AHRC-funded Living with Monuments project, a series of geophysical anomalies were identified in the vicinity of a spring, approximately 400m to the northwest of Avebury stone circle in Wiltshire. A series of suspected enclosure ditches, entrances and a springhead in the southwest corner of the complex strongly support the hypothesis that the features represent a ritual structure probably dating to the Late Iron-Age/Early Roman period.

Four trial trenches were excavated over the complex, revealing a number of post-pads, part of a small Roman building, and two (presumably ritual) shafts. Although it was not possible to fully excavate the shafts, they were both augured to a depth of at least 8.5m without the bottom being reached.  Analysis of the pottery and metalwork recovered during excavations confirmed a late Iron-Age Early Roman date for the complex.