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Period 0-1 | Period 2 | Period 3 | Periods 4-5


The excavations of 1975 followed a long series of excavations on the defences undertaken by a number of people since 1948 - the majority by Wainwright in the 1950s (archive held at Wiltshire Heritage Museum, Devizes). The results of these were later collated and analysed by Radford (1972). However, since many, if not most, of the interpretations of the evidence obtained in 1975 differ from those put forward by Radford, it is necessary to reanalyse and reassess this evidence.

These differences of interpretation have arisen for several reasons. The 1975 excavations were conducted on a scale large enough to investigate both areas of and sections across the defences. Secondly, many of the trenches were rather longer than earlier ones, allowing more information to be gained, in particular about the arrangement of the ditches. And thirdly (and perhaps most importantly) Radford's report had already presented the results of earlier excavations in sufficient detail to generate working hypotheses which could be directly tested in the field. That many of the interpretations he proposed have been superseded by this more detailed examination must be considered as a normal result of the processes of archaeological enquiry.

This reassessment is also made both possible and desirable because previous work has established a body of evidence which by any standards is a representative sample of the physical structure of all four sides of the circuit of the defences. From the comparison of the 1975 evidence with results of this earlier work it should be possible to construct a model for the physical state of the defences as a whole for particular periods, which can be tested against similar evidence from other places. From this, inferences can be drawn about the operation of more general historical processes. All this evidence is analysed in this section within the framework of the five main periods established at the beginning of Part 1.

See notes

Periods 0-1 | Period 2 | Period 3 | Periods 4-5

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