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Site name East Chisenbury Midden
Site number 1700
Burial codes 2002 2006 2021 2023 2025 2028 2030 2035 2036 2037 2042 2045 2052 2053 2065 2075 2084 2092 2098 2104 2111 2127 2143 2152 2181
8/700bc-100bc 8/700-100bc: A Bronze Age-Iron Age transition midden of massive proportions, formed in a circular mound c200m in diameter, and truncated on its northern and western sides by a 'Celtic' field lynchet. To the east it overlies the bank of a circular enclosure. A second smaller midden also circular lies to the south west, and there may be others nearby. At least 7 linear ditches focus on the large mound. A cutting uncovered a double ditched avenue and possible pit alignment heading straight towards the main mound.

The midden is over 2m deep in places, and c65000 cubic feet of mound material must still survive, implying a huge mound existed before erosion from cultivation and other losses took place. Excavation of a 2 x 3m area has shown that the mound built up rapidly as a complex construction rich in cultural residue dating from c650-530bc (800-600 BC). The excavated midden material was dark and greasy in texture, and was dominated by a large ceramic component which consists of decorated fine and coarse wares both employing a wide range of coloured applied slips with haematite additives present in small numbers. The most distinctive forms were short necked and long necked furrowed bowls. Much of the pottery appears to have been placed during a small number of punctuated episodes, and much occurred as a series of associated events as joining sherds appear in different layers. The refitting sherds are large, in unabraded condition and many retain traces of food residues. The deposits were considered to be consistent with structured deposition.

In the deposits were also spindle whorls, worked and decorated bone, fragments of stone, worked flint, shale and a glass bead. The bones were unusually representative of foetal or neonatal sheep, and cattle, pig and deer were also well in evidence. In this quite small excavation fragments of human bone were recovered, including two skull fragments. One of these had apparently been placed deliberately within the mound surrounded by sherds of pottery from the same vessel and a small block of sarsen stone. Linear scarring and teeth marks on its surface have not been explained. Copious quantites of coprolites including human examples were also noted.

Within the excavated layers of the midden were a series of compacted chalk surfaces or platforms. These may have been sealing and cleansing layers, and seemed deliberate parts of the structure.

Breaking the original turf line at the base of the midden were a number of pits and post holes associated with 2 clay ovens. At the same level was found the broken blade end of an unsharpened socketed axe probably of local Sompting type, and a Late Bronze Age tanged chisel.
Remains/Period Y2
County Wiltshire
Region S
National grid square SU
X coordinate 146
Y coordinate 532
Bibliographic source McOmish 1996


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Last updated: Tues Aug 10 2004