Lying 3km to the north-east of Stonehenge and dated to the mid-3rd millennium cal BC, Durrington Walls is the largest henge in Britain (Fig. 1). The massive bank and ditch of the henge span a dry valley and enclose ground that slopes significantly down towards the south-east. Ever since rescue excavations in the late 1960s, its significance as a later Neolithic monument and its association with large quantities of material culture have been known (Wainwright with Longworth 1971). Despite this and earlier work, only a small proportion of the site had been excavated and there was much that remained unclear about its developmental history and the character of its use.
Figure 1: Location map showing the position of Durrington Walls within the wider Stonehenge landscape
Between 2004 and 2007 the Stonehenge Riverside Project carried out a comprehensive programme of investigations into the site (Parker Pearson et al. 2006a; 2006b; 2007). The principal objective was to examine the area between the River Avon and the henge's eastern entrance. In addition, the Southern Circle, western enclosures and the henge's southern, western and eastern entrances were all subjected to survey and excavation.
The following article provides an introduction to the worked flint recovered from the recent excavations. The analysis of the assemblage of worked flint from Durrington Walls is ongoing but, to date, 54,000 artefacts have been recorded; this number is expected to rise to roughly 80,000 artefacts. As the analysis is not yet complete, the results presented here are preliminary. The analysis refers mainly to material excavated during the 2005 and 2006 excavation seasons. Presently, only a small amount of the 2004 and 2007 material has been analysed and these data are only referred to in the discussion of House 851.
Figure 2: Plan showing the location of the Stonehenge Riverside Project's 2004, 2005 and 2006 trenches at Durrington Walls
As with all artefact categories from Durrington Walls, the majority of the worked flint assemblage (over 90%) comes from the excavations at the East Entrance (Fig. 2). This is partially because of the extent of excavation and the degree of preservation in this area of the site, but primarily it reflects the different nature of the activities that took place there. Given its predominance, this article will concentrate on the assemblage from the East Entrance. The objectives of this article are fourfold:
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Last updated: Wed May 27 2009