Neolithic Ground Axe-heads and Monuments in Wessex

David Field

English Heritage, NMRC, Kemble Drive, Swindon SN2 2GZ, Wiltshire, UK. Email:

Cite this as: Field, D. 2009 Neolithic Ground Axe-heads and Monuments in Wessex, Internet Archaeology 26.


While central southern England is well known for its extant Neolithic monuments and for the fine artefacts recovered from some of its Bronze Age barrows, Neolithic artefacts from the region have received relatively little attention. This might be considered surprising, as the area not only witnessed some of the earliest investigations into the source of materials, notably the Stonehenge bluestones, but it also harbours some of the earliest dated ground axes in the country. This article examines the occurrence and distribution of ground axes found in Wessex when compared to other artefact types, but, more importantly, comparison with the location of extant monuments allows a rather different view of Wessex to emerge. The article will consider the influence of local resources, of flint mines such as those at Durrington, Easton Down and Porton Down in Wiltshire, and the extent and processes by which axes of non-local materials may have been introduced and dispersed across the landscape.

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