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The Army Basing Programme, Stonehenge and the Emergence of the Sacred Landscape of Wessex

Matt Leivers

Cite this as: Leivers, M. 2021 The Army Basing Programme, Stonehenge and the Emergence of the Sacred Landscape of Wessex, Internet Archaeology 56. https://doi.org/10.11141/ia.56.2

Summary

The sunrise from the Lark Hill causewayed enclosure
The sunrise from the Lark Hill causewayed enclosure

Recent excavations for the Army Basing Programme on the periphery of the Stonehenge World Heritage Site have revealed extensive evidence of Early, Middle and Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age activity, including a causewayed enclosure, burials, occupation, pit groups, henges, post alignments and circles. Several of these either incorporate or refer to features of the landscape such as solution hollows, dry valleys, hilltops and rivers, as well as to astronomical phenomena. An appraisal of this evidence alongside other recent programmes of research around Stonehenge suggest an accreting pattern of development of this landscape that begins in the 38th century BC, and which throws new light on the location and meaning of several of the ceremonial earthworks, including Stonehenge itself.

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  • Keywords: Stonehenge, Early Neolithic, Late Neolithic, Early Bronze Age, landscape archaeology, astroarchaeology
  • Accepted: 25 Nov 2020. Published: 28 Jan 2021.
  • Funding: The production and publication of this article was funded by Wessex Archaeology.
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Corresponding author: Matt LeiversORCID logo
m.leivers@wessexarch.co.uk
Wessex Archaeology

Full text

Figure 1: Location of the Army Basing Programme archaeological works and key places mentioned in the text

Figure 2: The Lark Hill causewayed enclosure, sinkholes, and other Early Neolithic features

Figure 3: A possible viewshed for the Lark Hill enclosure

Figure 4: A viewshed for the enclosure at Robin Hood's Ball

Figure 5: Composite viewshed from both Lark Hill and Robin Hood's Ball causewayed enclosures

Figure 6: Viewshed for the Larkhill Camp and Knighton long barrows from the enclosures at Lark Hill and Robin Hood's Ball

Figure 7: The sunrise from the Lark Hill causewayed enclosure

Figure 8: Early Neolithic evidence at Bulford

Figure 9: The line of the Stonehenge Cursus from the Winterbourne Stoke Down long barrow to the Bulford hilltop and the line of the Lesser Cursus to the Lark Hill dry valley and the Avon

Figure 10: Woodlands pits at Bulford

Figure 11: The Bulford henges

Figure 12: Late Neolithic evidence at Larkhill and MoD Durrington

Figure 13: The triple Beaker burial at Lark Hill

Figure 14: The Bulford Beaker and bracer in their pit

Figure 15: The Bulford Ring Ditches

Figure 16: Larkhill Early Bronze Age

Figure 17: Burials in pit 18012, Larkhill

Figure 18: Middle Neolithic evidence at Larkhill Camp

Figure 19: The summer sunrise alignment from Stonehenge along its avenue, over Lark Hill, to the bend in the Avon, showing Stonehenge, the Neolithic and Bronze Age evidence at Larkhill

Zoomable figure (5a): A detailed viewshed for the Lark Hill enclosure. The Knighton and Larkhill Camp long barrows sit on the margins of islands of visibility; both ends of the Stonehenge Cursus are within view. The enclosure at Robin Hood's Ball and its barrows are not.

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