Attitudes to Disposal of the Dead - Gazetteer Query Form

Background to the Gazetteer | Table of Contents


Site name Woodhenge, Durrington
Site number 408
Burial codes 4005 4009 4021 4023 4025 4028 4030 4031 4036 4037 4043 4046 4048 4051 4052 4053 4065 4072 4075 4084 4092 4098 4102 4104 4108 4110 4111 4127 4128 4143 4151 4153 4181 4183 4200
2500bc-14/1300bc An oval enclosure with a broad ditch broken by one entrance to the NNE, with a berm and external bank. Six oval concentric rings of pits were in the interior, and a (?)female child's grave was just south west of the centre in the south west quadrant. There was a possible stone hole at the south in the 5th ring (B), and an extensive amount of grooved ware pottery finds with some Beaker sherds. The grave was 0.3m deep in the chalk, oval, and contained at the south end the crouched burial of a child c3 facing NE. The skull was thought by the excavator to have been cleft before burial, but the pathology report makes no mention of such a feature. No grave goods accompanied the burial which was just south west of the centre of the innermost ring. [The burial is not unequivocally of this period.]

Another grave-like pit was found to the south of the centre but contained only a good deal of charcoal, ashes, and a few burnt flints along the middle, a deposit rather than the site of a fire. Many of the post holes in the circles contained animal bone, flint flakes, antler pieces, flint arrow heads, chalk pieces (including carved chalk axes, two chalk cups, perforated pieces, and incised chalk blocks) and pottery sherds in various combinations.

In the ditch were single fragments of human skulls, with Romano-British pottery found in three places, and in one place in the same layer as Beaker pottery. Part of a human radius and fragments of a child's jaw and teeth were found in two other places. In hole C14 there were fragments of human skull and a tooth, a cremation. There was a crouched skeleton of an adult in a grave dug below the floor of the ditch in the eastern section.

The henge bank sealed three pairs of pits denoting pre-monument activity on the site, and by their position suggesting that they may have been related to the siting. Each each was filled with a homogeneous mixture of charcoal rich soil containing burnt flint (pit 6 had pure wood ash), unburnt pig or cattle bone (in huge quantities in Pits 1 and 2), and occasional sherds of grooved ware. Pit 6 contained 13 flint implements including two transverse arrow heads. This appears to be deliberate domestic refuse deposition.

There appear to have been special deposits associated with the henge: grooved ware, lithics, animal and human bone, small assemblages of worked chalk and worked bone. The ditch terminals contained larger sherds, transverse arrow heads in greater proportion, and more flint in the east terminal than in the west, with biases in the types of implements placed in each. Other ditch deposits have been referred to above.

The distribution of deposits in the interior also appears to have had a pattern of deliberate variation. Some examples are: sherds varied between rings in post hole deposits, flint implements and animal bone occurred largely in Ring C with a reduction to the exterior and interior rings, antler appeared more in Ring E, 65% of sherds occurred in the eastern half (the same bias is seen with antler, worked chalk and animal bone, but not with worked flint), antler is concentrated in the southern and eastern part and within this there are variations in the location of antler picks and antler fragments, worked chalk is exclusive to the eastern sector, pig bone restricted to the three outer rings, cattle bone substantially in the inner rings, and the human remains also in that area. Generally there seems to have been an east-west axis divide of deposits.

RC: from the ditch fill BM-677 1867 +/- 74, BM-678 1805 +/- 54
Remains/Period Y4
County Wiltshire
Region S
National grid square SU
X coordinate 150
Y coordinate 434
Bibliographic source Cunnington M E 1927, 1929, Wainwright and Evans 1979, Harding and Lee 1987, Pollard 1995b


© Internet Archaeology/Author(s)
Last updated: Tues Aug 10 2004