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Figure 1
Figure 1. Gray Hill, Monmouthshire, showing some of the principal landscape features, and the location of the 2002 trenches (based on Makepeace 1999: 72, but incorporating some new information).
Gray Hill or Mynydd Llwyd (centred at ST 4360 9360) is a distinctive red sandstone hill in south-east Monmouthshire, approximately 2 km north-east of Caerwent, in a prominent position overlooking the Severn estuary. A stone circle, possible stone row or standing stones and prehistoric cairns were known on the hilltop, but a GPS-based assessment survey carried out in 1999-2000 by Graham Makepeace on behalf of Monmouthshire County Council identified many more archaeological features (Fig. 1). These include possible prehistoric coaxial field boundaries, hut circles and cairns. Their exact age and relationship to one another is unknown, and many are extremely rare in a Welsh context. There is also a large, D-shaped scarp-edge enclosure that appears to be one of the earliest constructions on the hill (Makepeace 1999; 2000). It shares many features with upland enclosures in Britain (Oswald et al. 2001), especially Gardom’s Edge in Derbyshire (Barnatt et al. 2002), and may thus be of earlier Bronze Age or Neolithic date.

The Gray Hill Landscape Research Project is currently investigating the nature, scale and temporality of past human activity on Gray Hill, through six years of earthwork survey and targeted excavation. Staff and students from the University of Wales College, Newport are principally undertaking the project, although our co-director Helen Wickstead is from University College London. The project’s primary research aims are to map at more detail both existing and newly identified archaeological features, to characterise and date the D-shaped enclosure, and to identify evidence for any Mesolithic occupation. We also hope to identify, characterise and date later prehistoric settlement and agriculture, and to compare and contrast the prehistoric occupation on Gray Hill with that in the nearby Severn Estuary (e.g. Bell et al. 2000; Locock 1998a; 1998b). The project aims to build links with other institutions and local archaeology groups, and our work will also help to inform future land management and conservation strategies. We are also trying to explore and develop innovative, interpretative and self-critical fieldwork methodologies. On-going survey work is adding important detail to the known archaeology, and a new length of co-axial boundary has been identified to the east of the D-shaped enclosure, running towards a boulder-walled enclosure. Another new boulder-walled enclosure has been identified on the south-eastern flank of Gray Hill.
Figure 2
Figure 2. Trench 2 during excavation and recording, looking north- west. The wall running from the middle left to the bottom right is the later, rebuilt co-axial boundary running downslope. The structure running from middle left towards the upper right of the photo is the surviving courses of the D-shaped enclosure wall. Note the large facing blocks.

In June 2002 we excavated two trenches. Trench 2 (Trench 1 was not excavated after all) was located where there was a possible break or entrance through the D-shaped enclosure (Fig. 2). The first major phase of activity appears to have involved the building of a roughly east-west stone rubble bank up to 1.20 m in width, which may have had a gap or entrance at the western end of the trench. This was then used as a platform for the construction of an east-west stone wall 1 m in width. This survives elsewhere on Gray Hill to a height of over 1 m, but in this place it had been more comprehensively robbed. There were very large, rectangular facing blocks on the southern, presumably ‘outer’ face, whilst smaller, irregular stones seemed to ‘tie’ these larger blocks into a fabric of more tabular fragments. What is not yet clear is whether or not the stratigraphically earlier rubble bank was a separate phase, or merely a revetment for the larger stones. Though undated it is probable that these earlier phases were prehistoric.

This part of the D-shaped enclosure appeared to be abutted by a roughly north south co-axial boundary, which further downslope was of double orthostat construction. Excavation revealed a right-angled section of faced and coursed drystone walling, whose corner appeared to respect the possible entrance through the rubble bank. This walling was of much more regular and evenly coursed stone, up to 0.70 m wide. The stratigraphic relationship between this wall and the more massive masonry could not be ascertained however, as subsequent disturbance had removed all the stone between the two sections of walling. Again, there were no finds to date either of the structures. In general form however, the north-south wall may be later in date than the more massive east-west example, which does not resemble any of the medieval and post-medieval boundaries on Gray Hill, and may thus be prehistoric. If this is indeed the case, then the north-south wall may itself be a rebuild of an earlier, double orthostat co-axial boundary. Rather than abutting the D-shaped enclosure, this may have been keyed into the earlier, wider wall. It appears much more ‘modern’ in form than the earlier east-west structures, and could be of medieval or post-medieval date.

Demolition and robbing have created a clear gap in the ‘corner’ formed by the intersection of these two structures, and masonry from both walls was deliberately pushed over to the south-east and south to form a ‘ramp’ leading up to this gap. The larger stones were infilled with smaller fragments, and a metalled surface was created north of the gap. Both the north-south and the east-west walls seem to have been comprehensively robbed, presumably to facilitate livestock access in recent times.

Clearly, more work is necessary to try and obtain dating evidence, and we will attempt to get secure material for radiocarbon or OSL dating. Future work in this area in 2003 will also establish if the rubble bank was a separate, early phase, and if there was an external ditch to the south, as indicated by shallow indentations in the modern ground surface.
Figure 3
Figure 3. The north-west quadrant of Trench 3, looking west. The surviving edge of the cairn curves around from the top left to the bottom right of the photo. Note the three especially large, tabular stones.

The second trench (Trench 3) was opened over what was thought to be a possible roundhouse or ring cairn. We established that the apparent ‘ring’ form was largely a product of later robbing, probably for a post-medieval wall some 30 m downslope to the south. This robbing had left much of the main body of the feature intact though. It proved to be a large stone cairn approximately 14 m in diameter, with its southern, downslope extent formed by a revetted bank of stone and earth still surviving to nearly 1.50 m in height. Further small ‘satellite’ cairns had also been added to the cairn. Two quadrants of the cairn have been investigated, and although not completed, they have already revealed intriguing details of the construction. In the northernmost quadrant (Fig. 3) three roughly equidistant, tabular slabs were recorded, which may have once stood upright. This raises the possibility that the cairn may originally have been a low stone circle, subsequently infilled with cairn material. Alternatively, this may have been a conscious architectural reference to such a form. At the centre of the cairn is a smaller, discrete pile of stone that may overlie central features.

The wider landscape context of the cairn is also important. It lies on the southern flank of Gray Hill, south-east of the stone circle, and looks across the Severn estuary, where Bodmin is visible on clear days. A group of smaller cairns lies concealed in scrub just to the south. The north-south co-axial boundary in its double orthostat form runs downslope towards the cairn but kinks slightly and stops just before it, apparently respecting its position. Between this boundary and the main cairn is a smaller satellite cairn. The large cairn would have been a very prominent feature in the past, especially to people moving upslope from the south. Further work on the cairn in 2003 will investigate the central area of the cairn and explore details of its construction and origins, and examine the relationship between the main cairn, the satellite cairn and the linear co-axial boundary.

It is partly because of these constructional complexities that we have been developing context sheets and ways of recording that try to engage with these ‘grammars of stone’ (Chadwick forthcoming). It is important that we recognise this complexity, so that we do not end up with the familiar but rather unsatisfactory metaphors of landscape palimpsests, with a series of features simply laid down upon one another, preserving static ‘pages’ from the past.

Instead, we are working towards more nuanced accounts, that will acknowledge the dynamic and mutable nature of these constructions and human experiences of the landscape. In order to understand the materialities of people’s existence in the past, we need to examine more closely our own physical engagements with stone and earth. Our recording sheets therefore explicitly link observable physical traits with inferential, interpretative comments, and encourage excavators to be as self-critical and reflexive as possible. Through the intricacies of recording and interpreting stone and earth, we can begin to dissolve the artificial divide between archaeological theory and practice. When removing the stones that hands had placed there in the past, we must consider how and why people had selected and arranged these stones, and what these embodied, social acts of construction might have implied for ideas of identity, community, cosmology, memory, labour and power.

Gray Hill is covered by bracken and stands of dense birch scrub, and is a challenging place to conduct survey and excavation. Yet the research potential of this upland Welsh landscape is great, and should allow us to examine settlement and subsistence practices, and to situate these within discussions of materiality and the relationships of past communities with the physical and cognitive aspects of their landscape. We hope the 2003 season will be as exciting as that of 2002.

Adrian Chadwick, Joshua Pollard, Rick Peterson and Mike Hamilton,
University of Wales College Newport;

Helen Wickstead,
University College London

We would like to thank the landowners Mr. and Mrs. Stephens and Mr. and Mrs. Micklethwait for their invaluable help and co-operation, Graham Makepeace for his knowledge and enthusiasm, and all of the students who took part. Anne Leaver provided vital administrative, logistical and illustrative assistance. The 2002 season at Gray Hill was made possible by funding from the Prehistoric Society, the Board of Celtic Studies and the SCARAB Research Centre.

Barnatt, J., Bevan, B. R Edmonds, M. 2002. Gardom’s Edge: a landscape through time. Antiquity 76, 51-6.
Bell, M., Caseldine, A. and Neumann, H. 2000. Prehistoric Intertidal Archaeology in the Welsh Severn Estuary. York: Council for British Archaeology Research Report 120
Chadwick, A.M. forthcoming. What have the post-processualists ever done for us? Towards an integration of theory and practice, and a radical field archaeology. In Roskams, S.P. (ed.), Interpreting Stratigraphy. Contemporary Approaches to Archaeological Fieldwork: Democracy versus Hierarchy.
Locock, M. 1998a. Severn Levels survey 1987-1988 GGAT 21. A summary of the results. Unpublished report: GGAT ref. 98/007.
Locock, M. 1998b. Hill Farm, Goldcliff. Archaeology of the Severn Estuary 8.
Makepeace, G.A. 1999. Gray Hill (Mynydd Llwyd), Llanvair Discoed (ST 43 93). Archaeology in Wales 39, 71-2.
Makepeace, G.A. 2000. Gray Hill (Mynydd Llwyd), Llanvair Discoed, Monmouthshire. Archaeological Assessment. Unpublished report for Monmouthshire County Council.
Oswald, A., Dyer, C. & Barber, M. 2001. The Creation of Monuments. Neolithic Causewayed Enclosures in the British Isles. Swindon: English Heritage.



In July 2002 a team from Cardiff University and the University of Manchester conducted a survey and preliminary excavation of the chambered tomb at Cairnderry in Dumfries and Galloway. The extent of the surviving cairn was exposed to the west of the monument and a length of kerb (5m) was exposed to the south of the monument. These excavations revealed that much of the cairn had been heavily robbed. Several courses of cairn stones remained in the majority of the exposed area but near the centre of the monument the cairn had been robbed to the level of the ground surface in some places. The interface between this ground surface and the topsoil where stones were absent contained clusters of potsherds which are probably earlier Neolithic in date, suggesting the presence of pre-cairn activity. Geophysics were also conducted at the site with poor results. This excavation marks the first stage in a longer project which will investigate the chambers, the passages and areas outside the kerb as well as the cairn and areas covered by the cairn. The ultimate aim of the project is to obtain material for radiocarbon dating and to understand the sequence of construction at the site.

Project Directors: Dr Vicki Cummings (Cardiff University) and Dr Chris Fowler (University of Manchester).



Ninth International Conference on Hunting & Gathering Societies (CHAGS 9). Hunter- Gatherer Studies & the Reshaping of Anthropology. Edinburgh Conference Centre, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, 9th-13th September 2002

Hunter-gatherers have been a subject of anthropological inquiry since the very beginning of the discipline. Since Man the Hunter in 1966, several other conferences have been held on hunting and gathering societies from a multidisciplinary perspective. CHAGS 9, co-convened by Alan Barnard and Tim Ingold last September in Edinburgh, was aimed specifically at reassessing the state of hunter-gatherer studies in the context of the historical development of anthropology. It has in fact succeeded by becoming a stimulating forum for such a reassessment. This has been achieved through a wealth of theoretical and historical discussions on the subject and the plurality of participants from varying regions and traditions.

Throughout the five days of the conference, a wide range of issues was addressed in more than 30 sessions including papers, videos, posters, and other displays, some of which will be edited by their organisers and published.

Most of the relevant perspectives on hunter-gatherer studies at the gate of the 21st century were approached from a multiplicity of disciplines and of voices generally. These included their ideas, politics, and rituals; the relationships among themselves and to other societies; their long-term histories; their views by western societies, and the theoretical, epistemological, and historical background of their study.

The participation of anthropologists, archaeologists, biologists, and other specialists, and of hunter-gatherers themselves ensured very rich discussions on those issues and on the role and future of hunter-gatherer studies. Furthermore, some extra, informal meetings at the pub downstairs not only allowed extending some fruitful debates to late hours but also contributed to a very cheerful environment.

Overall, CHAGS 9 has been a stimulating and very productive forum of debate. There is still much knowledge from different sources and traditions to be shared - such as those from East and West, and much to learn from the very history of anthropology and of hunter-gatherer studies in particular under varying research contexts. The next CHAGS conference, which is due in Bhubaneswar, eastern India, probably in January 2006, will therefore provide another great opportunity for such an exchange, and we are already looking forward to it!

Sebastián Muñoz and Mariana Mondini Univesidad de Buenos Aires


The Bronze Age Forum, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 15-17th November 2002

The third meeting of the Bronze Age Forum occurred over the weekend of the 15-17th November at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and was hosted by Joanna Brück, Frances Healy and Stuart Needham. The forum began on Friday night with an informal wine reception held at the highly appropriate location of the Museum of Antiquities. The Forum was well attended with over a hundred delegates from all over the British Isles and Ireland. This geographical diversity was also reflected by the twenty-eight speakers.

After the official welcome by Frances Healy and an Appreciation of Dave Coombs given by Stuart Needham, the first session, chaired by Anthony Harding was on Settlement and Landscapes. It was kicked off by Helen Loney and Andrew Hoaen who discussed the results of their recent survey work on the north-east of the Lake District National Park, followed by William O’Brien, mine working in south-west Ireland and Bronze Age settlement landscapes. A comparison between the upland landscapes found at Stansted and Heathrow’s fertile Thames Valley location was given by Angela Batt and Fraser Brown. Dominic Powlesland and Terry Manby’s paper highlighted the implications of Heslerton for the Bronze Age in Eastern Yorkshire. Rachel Pope then gave us an introduction into her work, which is providing evidence for everyday activity using over 200 Bronze Age circular structures in the north and central Britain. Stuart Needham finished the session by giving details about the site of Runnymede.

The second session, chaired by Stuart Needham, focused on metalwork and exchange and included discussions of recent significant finds, such as the swords and spears from Bradley Fen (Mark Knight); the Ringlemere cup (Gillian Varndell, Keith Parfitt & Stuart Needham); and assemblages from Galmisdale and Cladh Hallan (Trevor Cowie) and Rameldry (Alison Sheridan & Brendan O’Connor). Current research into the intentional breakage of bronzes in Irish hoards (Katharina Becker) and nuances of the Carps’ Tongue complex (Louise Turner) were described.

Sunday morning began with a stimulating paper by Alex Gibson looking at Bronze Age pottery from north Northumberland. Maria O’Hare then discussed the preliminary results of her research on the replacement of chipped stone techniques by metallurgy in Ireland, and Linda Hurcombe highlighted some of the recent exploratory work using pottery and flint to look at prehistoric basketry. Martyn Barber concluded this session with a highly entertaining presentation on metalwork and cremation in the British Bronze Age.

The session on Ritual and Ceremony included Joanna Brück who argued that grave goods may not as much represent the deceased as the character of relationships that had made that person what he or she was. Andrew Fitzpatrick gave a presentation on the rich beaker burial known as the Amesbury Archer (reported in PAST 41) and Jackie Nowakowski provided a case study on the Cornish Probus barrow looking at the detailed distribution of broken objects. Other papers dealt with Bronze Age landscapes large and small including Raunds (Frances Healy), the Peak District (Jonathan Last), the Kilmartin Valley (Clare Ellis). Richard Bradley detailed new evidence about recumbent stone circles and Matt Beamish discussed recent work on burnt burial mounds in Leicestershire and Derbyshire. Mike Parker-Pearson’s paper on Cladh Hallan introduced us to two mummified remains known as Mr and Mrs Dead. The forum was acknowledged by all to have been very well organised and for this a special thanks has to be given to Frances Healy.



Readers of PAST may have been slightly confused by Roger Thomas’s piece in issue 43, in which he stated that the Treasure Act 1996 had abolished treasure trove. In fact the Treasure Act 1996 does not apply in Scotland, where treasure trove continues to operate in an increasingly systematic way to ensure the protection of all kinds of portable antiquities (Saville 2002).

In order to publicise the system in Scotland, and to make it easier for finders to report their discoveries, there is now a website ( for Scottish treasure trove. The website explains how and why treasure trove operates, including an account of its legal basis in common law, and provides specific information for excavators, detectorists and other finders, and museum curators. The website is currently under further development to include a searchable database of items claimed as treasure trove. Meanwhile annual lists of claimed items and the museums to which they have been allocated continue to be published in each issue of the Council for Scottish Archaeology’s Discovery and Excavation in Scotland.

Saville, A. 2002. Treasure Trove in Scotland. Antiquity 76, 796-802.

Europa Prize
Former President Tim Champion presents Prof. Seamus Caulfield with the twelfth Europa Prize

The twelfth Europa Prize for 2003 was awarded to Professor Seamus Caulfield (Professor Emeritus at University College Dublin) following the AGM on 28 May. His Europa lecture Structured Space and Place: the Neolithic of western Europe was a very stimulating, wide ranging and humorous tour de force much enjoyed by all present. I look forward to publishing it in PPS 70. Vicki Cummings, shown in the second photo, was presented with the Bagueley Prize for the best paper in PPS 68. The evening was a jolly occasion all together, with plenty of wine and good conversation. The only slight disappointment, especially for our speaker, was that Lady Molly Clark, who is now in her 90s, did not feel up to the long journey from Cambridge and so, for the first time, was unable to present the prize herself. Former President and long-time colleague and friend of Professor Caulfield, Tim Champion, stood in instead.

Bagueley Award
Vicki Cummings receives the Bagueley Award for 2002 from President Graeme Barker.

Dave McOmish completed his term of office as Society Secretary (preceded by a term as Programme Secretary and interspersed with a short stint of doing both!) having worked incredibly hard. Council marked his departure with the presentation of book tokens and a book not just any old book mind you, but Christopher Hawkes’s own, personally annotated, copy of All Cannings Cross. Many thanks Dave enjoy your retirement (but remember we know where you are!!)

Society Merchandise: summer sale

The Society has a range of merchandise available, including jewellery that was exclusively designed for us by Christopher Milton Stevens of Bath, in Stirling silver, millennium hallmarked. Limited stocks are available. We also still have ties, tee-shirts and sweatshirts displaying the Society logo. Our summer sale applies to orders placed before the end of September. All prices are inclusive of VAT and postage & packing to UK addresses, overseas orders please add £2 per any order that includes tee-shirts, £5 for orders that include sweatshirts.

Jewellery Usual Price Sale Price
Pendant/brooch £28 £22
Earrings (stud) £26 £20
Cufflinks £32 £25
Enamel Badges £1.50 £1
Polyester £7.95 £6
Silk £14.95 £11
Tee-shirts £8 £6
Sweatshirt £18 £12

        Tee-shirts and sweatshirts are all adult, one size. Available in grey, gold, light blue, red and green. Please state colour preferences.
        All orders to Julie Gardiner, Wessex Archaeology, Portway House, Old Sarum Park, Salisbury SP4 6EB. All cheques payable to the Prehistoric Society, please (sorry, no credit cards).



A recent discovery may change current perceptions regarding the origins and spread of leprosy throughout the world. In September 2002, 14 prehistoric burials from a site at Dryburn Bridge, East Lothian, were re-analysed. The site, originally excavated in 1978 and 1979, showed evidence of an Iron Age settlement and contained both Iron Age and Bronze Age burials. The ten Iron Age individuals were buried in stone covered pits, whilst the four Bronze Age individuals comprised two double burials in stone short cists. In both cists there was one articulated burial that was overlain by a second, disarticulated individual. One of these disarticulated skeletons was the only child to be recovered from the site, and it was this individual that displayed traits that are diagnostic of leprosy. Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease of the skin, nasal tissues, peripheral nerves and bone caused by the bacterium Mycobacteriurn leprae. The severity of the condition can vary, but symptoms include ulceration and infection of the skin and bones, particularly in the region of the nose and mouth and lower legs, loss of spatial awareness, loss of sensation in the limbs and extremities, claw hand and foot deformities and actual loss of fingers and toes. The affected child was aged between six and eight years at death and had previously been radiocarbon dated to between 2000 and 1600 years BC.

The changes observed in the skeletal remains of the child from Dryburn Bridge comprised resorption of the nasal spine and the region around and above the central incisors, remodelling of the bone and widening of the nasal aperture and pitting of the palatal surface. There was evidence of slight new bone growth on the inner surfaces of the nasal bones, and when the face was looked at in profile it had a dished appearance around the nose and mouth area. The central incisors themselves had been lost post-mortem. These features are typical of rhino-maxillary syndrome, which is in itself indicative of leprosy. In order to make a definite diagnosis of leprosy, some researchers state that characteristic lesions should also be present in the hands, feet and tibiae (Brothwell pers. comm.), although it has been noted that changes in these areas are often very slight and sometimes even absent, in juveniles (Lewis pers. comm.). Unfortunately in this instance, it was not possible to examine other potentially affected regions, as the hands and feet were missing at the time of excavation and both tibiae had been sent for radiocarbon dating in 1980.

The early date of the skeleton also cast doubt on a diagnosis of leprosy. Current perception of the disease is that it was introduced into Europe in the 4th century BC by the armies of Alexander the Great, returning from their campaigns in India. The earliest known example to date in Britain is from the Roman period, although the disease did not become widespread until the 11th century AD. Differential diagnosis of disease should not, however, be governed by chronology, and with this in mind and considering the potential importance of the discovery, Historic Scotland agreed to fund a research programme aimed at identifying the DNA of the pathogen that causes leprosy in the skeletal remains. This type of work has been successfully undertaken in the past by Dr Mike Taylor, at Imperial College, London, although the skeleton was of a much later date (Brothwell pers. comm.). In this instance, the research will be conducted by Dr Will Goodwin of the University of Central Lancashire (formerly of the Human Identification Centre, University of Glasgow). The initial stage of the work has already commenced and the project will be completed by the end of February 2003.

If the DNA analysis proves to be positive, then the child from Dryburn Bridge will change current perceptions regarding the origins and spread of the disease throughout the world. There are also social implications for this particular Scottish community and perhaps Bronze Age society as a whole. If the child was suffering from leprosy, the burial rite that he or she was afforded was certainly in contrast to that imposed on the later medieval sufferers of the disease who, upon diagnosis, were stigmatised, isolated and declared ‘dead to the world but alive unto God’ .

Julie Roberts
Glasgow University Archaeological Research Division


We offer our apologies to Denise Telford for an error in the printing of Figure 5 of her paper The Mesolithic Inheritance, in PPS 68. This should show Mesolithic findspots but shows nothing at all! Investigations show that the problem was with the original digital artwork supplied by the author which looks fine on screen but refuses to plate correctly. Oddly (and rather embarrassingly), neither myself, the printers or the author spotted the error until the volume had been printed and distributed. Our apologies to Denise, and to our readers, for not being more vigilant. Correct copies are available from the author:



Navan Fort
Photo: Navan fort, Co, Armagh, Copyright: EHS Built Heritage

The Prehistoric Society’s last study tour to Northern Ireland was in 1967 some 36 years ago so we thought the time was right for another visit! The programme will include visits to sites in most of the region from the drumlin landscape of County Down, to the lakelands of County Fermanagh and the uplands of County Antrim. The range of sites will include megalithic tombs, the henge known as the Giant’s Ring outside Belfast, stone circles (including Beaghmore in County Tyrone) and the splendid ritual site of Navan fort in County Armagh. And although it is not ‘prehistoric’ a visit to the Antrim coast would not be complete without a visit to the Giant’s Causeway. Archaeologists from the Ulster Museum, Queen’s University and the Environment & Heritage Service (DoE) will provide the site tours and present the latest information. The programme is still being prepared, but if you would like to register your potential interest, contact our administrator, Tessa Machling, at the Society’s London address so that she can send out the details as soon as they are finalised.



At the fiftieth birthday AGM of the Society in 1985, Bob Chapman raised several questions for future editors to ponder when they select articles for inclusion in our Proceedings (Chapman 1985, 27). In particular, he repeated Graham Clark’s concerns that ‘the proportion of later prehistoric papers, particularly on the Bronze and Iron Ages, had increased at the expense of papers dealing with the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic’ (Clark, 1959), and he queried whether the tendency in Vols 46-50 to concentrate on British sites would result in a reduction in overseas interest in PPS. Seventeen years on, it may be instructive look again at the contents of recent PPS volumes and try to find some indicators of the impact that these volumes have had on the archaeological community, both in the UK and abroad.

Balance between Early and Later Prehistory
Whereas Vols 46-50 had 9.5 Palaeo/Meso papers (ie 15% overall), Vol. 51-65 contained 46 (which increased the overall percentage to 19%) and over 50% were on non-British sites. Whilst this change was largely the result of devoting the entirety of Vol. 57.1 to Palaeolithic Art, we do seem to have a better balance of both geography and period.

UK Perceptions
Looking for a barometer of how PPS is perceived in the UK, I selected the volume The Archaeology of Britain, (ed. Hunter & Ralston 1999), as it ‘provides a one-stop textbook for the entire archaeology of Britain and reflects the most recent developments in archaeology’ (their words!). From the 160 references from the eight authors of its seven prehistoric chapters we find that:-

PPS is the most cited, with 21 references, constituting 51% of all journals and 13% of all citations. The next most popular journal is Antiquity (11 refs), followed by Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries, of Scotland (5).

Of the books from commercial publishers, Batsford volumes had 18 citations, followed by British Archaeological Reports (14 references), British Museum (10) and English Heritage/HSMO (9), Duckworth (7) and Oxbow (6). University publications from Cambridge (16 refs), Oxford (10) and Sheffield (7) also featured.

Thus we can confirm that our Proceedings occupy a central place in this undergraduate textbook, with the largest number of citations.

In their preface (written in 1997), the authors declare their intent to review advances over the last twenty years. This goal is reflected in the dates of the PPS references, where only 16% are pre-1975, 24% are 1975-84, 16% are 1985-90 and 44% are 1990-7. The years 1992 and 1994 were the most frequently cited volumes (32% of all PPS references), so our editors clearly are producing volumes which continue to have a direct impact.

In the light of the earlier concerns about the reduced frequency of Palaeolithic/Mesolithic articles in PPS, it is worthwhile to look at the spread of PPS citations across periods. The breakdown is 38% Upper Palaeolithic/Mesolithic, 29% Neolithic, 24% Bronze Age and 9% Iron Age. Regardless of the possible reasons for this spread, it does provide comfort to those members who, like Clark, see the earlier period as being a prime business of prehistorians to study.

Continental Perceptions
Using a similar approach, I’ve examined the Societé Prehistorique Française volume on Bronze Age sites excavated along the TGV rail routes in the Pas-de-Calais for citations of English articles (Blanchet 2000). In this volume, some 16 authors cited 216 references in eight articles. This revealed that 31 references (14% of all) were to British periodicals. From this group, 18 (58%) were from PPS and 8 (25%) were from Current Archaeology and all these references were to English sites. Of the 83 citations to French journals, the most frequently cited were papers from the Bulletin de la Societé Prehistorique Française, with 18 articles. Thus, taking a random volume from my bookcase, it is heartening to find that papers from PPS feature as prominently as those from the most cited French national journal.

When the dates of the references to the two main English journals are studied, pre-1976 accounts for 38% 1976-85 for 46%, 1986-90 for 15%, post-1990 nil, whereas the French language citations tend to be more up-to-date, pre-1976 23%, 1976-85 23%, 1986-95 46% and 1996-2000 8%. From which, we could speculate that it is simply more difficult to keep up-to-date with foreign language articles: (NB when English authors write in French (ie Burgess 1996), it gets cited faster), or if it takes 10 15 years before an own-language paper becomes most readily quoted, then perhaps an extra 5 years to cross a language barrier isn’t too surprising, or perhaps it takes 10 years to get PPS to France in the UK mail!

In a final check, European subjects were found to constitute 26% of the main articles in volumes 56-65 of PPS, which is an improvement on the low point of 16% evident in volumes 46-55. Though our Editor, Julie Gardiner, is dependant on the articles submitted, we hope that PPS continues to receive sufficient submissions to ensure that the delicate balance of periods and of British vs non-British papers can be maintained into the future.

John Cruse, Vice-President

Blanchet J-CI, 2000, Habitats et Necropoles a l’Age du Bronze sur le Transmanche et le TGVNord, Societé Prehistorique Française, Travaux I.
Burgess C, 1996, Urns, Culture du Wessex et la transition Bronze ancient- Bronze moyen en Grande-Bretagne in Actes du 117e Congrès National des Societés Savantes (Clermont-Ferrand, 1992). C.T.H.S., 605-621
Chapman R, 1985 The Prehistoric Society, Prehistory and Society, Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 51, 15-29
Clark, JGD, 1959, Presidential Address, Perspectives in Prehistory, Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 25, 1-14
Hunter J and Ralston I, 1999, The Archaeology of Britain. Routledge, London



Figure 1
Figure 1. Plan of the Neolithic causewayed enclosure and Bronze Age ring-ditches recently excavated at St Osyth, Essex. The many later features, including those of the Middle Iron Age settlement, have been omitted for clarity.

Part of a large causewayed enclosure at St Osyth near Clacton has recently been excavated by Essex County Council’s Field Archaeology Unit. The Neolithic monument was an unexpected discovery, found prior to aggregate extraction on a low spur of land, c. 4 km inland from the North Sea coast. The area excavated (4.5 ha), consisted of a swathe across the centre of the enclosure (Fig. 1), which also revealed features and finds from other periods, including Bronze Age ring-ditches, and an extensive Middle Iron Age settlement. Finance for the excavation came from the developer, J.A. Lowe and Sons, Essex County Council and English Heritage (from the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund). A detailed analysis of the excavation has yet to be undertaken.

The quarry exposed a large part of the interior and substantial stretches of ditch on the south-east and south-west sides. The south-east side consisted of three circuits of interrupted ditches, and the south-west side of a single line of interrupted ditches, probably from the innermost circuit (assuming further circuits lay beyond the excavated area). The ditches varied in width, length, and depth. The longest was 33 m long and the shortest 6 m. There was no consistency in the length of the breaks between the ditches and there was no clear evidence for a designated entranceway or for associated structures like palisades and revetments.

Figure 2
Figure 2. A stretch of causewayed enclosure ditch under excavation

The ditches in all three circuits had been constructed from large elongated pits joined end to end. They varied in size and depth, from 1.15 m wide and 0.85 m deep, to 6 m wide and 1.5 m deep (Fig. 2). Where investigated, all of the pits appear to have been contemporaneous. In several places there was evidence in plan for the joining of existing pits by the removal of causeways.

The pits that made up the ditches had characteristic profiles of steep sides and broad flat bases. Fills in the lower two-thirds consisted of slumped deposits of sand, that had either come in from the eroded sides, or from a bank on the inside edge. The excavation found no direct evidence for banks, however, because ploughing had destroyed all upstanding features. Fills in the upper third, in contrast, consisted of deposits of grey and brown silty sand that had accumulated over a long period of time. Sherds of Grooved Ware in some of these later fills indicated that some of the ditches at least had still been partly open in the Late Neolithic.

Most of the causewayed enclosure ditches contained very few finds, the deposition of which appears to have been sporadic. The only exception to this pattern were large parts of single vessels which appear to have been deliberately deposited and which were found in two of the ditch terminals. No animal or human bone was found in Neolithic contexts, but the acid sand and gravel subsoil would have prevented survival unless it had been cremated material.

Within the interior of the causewayed enclosure were many small pits, often in small groups of two, three, or four. Inside many of these, in deposits that were often dark with carbonised wood and macrofossils, were large amounts of worked flint and Mildenhall Ware, including many large sherds in good condition.

Many cores, chippings and unfinished tools provided evidence for the knapping of flint on site. 3-4000 of these came from just three pits and an adjacent ditch from the causewayed enclosure. The locally occurring flint at St Osyth is of poor quality, so it seems likely that most of this material had been brought in from elsewhere.

The causewayed enclosure probably endured as a significant landmark into the Bronze Age because within its interior were a pond barrow and many ring-ditches from Early and Middle Bronze Age barrows (Fig. 1). These were placed roughly centrally within the interior of the earlier monument. To either side of the pond barrow were two cremation deposits in large Collared Urns, and in and around the Middle Bronze Age ring-ditches were many cremation deposits in Bucket urns (Fig. 3). The pond barrow was possibly still a significant feature in the Middle Bronze Age because it was cut by a Middle Bronze Age urned cremation burial and three Middle Bronze Age pits with pots. Another indication of this came from the Middle Bronze Age ring-ditches, as they were arranged in two large groups to the south and east of it.

The pond barrow may have been used for pyres because it contained an irregular patch of scorched ground and a small number of scorched pits with cremated bone and carbonised wood. Cemeteries of many small barrows are a common occurrence in the north-east Essex area, similar groups have been excavated at Chitts Hill, Ardleigh and Brightlingsea (Brown 1999).

Figure 3
Figure 3. Excavating a Middle Bronze Age cremation burial

By the Middle Iron Age it seems likely that the significance of the causewayed enclosure had been lost, because it was overlain by a large settlement of roundhouses, granaries, enclosures, and granaries, which were laid out with complete disregard to the earlier features.

The causewayed enclosure at St Osyth is the third of its class to have been discovered in Essex the other two being Springfield and Orsett. In comparison with other examples in the UK, it seems less organised and consistent than most (Oswald et al. 2001). Its ditches and causeways are erratic, there is no clear increase in size or depth between its circuits, and the joining and lengthening of its existing ditches appears to have been carried out in an ad hoc fashion. At the moment, it is unknown if all three circuits were complete, or if they were successive or contemporaneous. The surrounding area has many archaeological cropmarks, including a possible henge and cursus, yet in spite of this no trace of the remainder of the causewayed enclosure has so far been seen. If the innermost and outermost circuits go full circle, then the feature at 3 ha to 12.5 ha is amongst the largest of its class.

Mark Germany, Essex County Council Field Archaeology Unit

Brown, N. 1999 The Archaeology of Ardleigh, Essex: Excavations 1955-1980. East Anglian Archaeology 90
Oswald, A., Dyer, C. R Barber, M. 2001. The Creation of Monuments: Neolithic Causewayed Enclosures in the British Isles. English Heritage


The portrayal of archaeology in contemporary popular culture: opportunity or obstacle for the promotion of cultural heritage?

Clichés about archaeology abound widely in popular culture. They occur in films, TV documentaries, newspaper articles, literature, and various forms of advertising, but also in theme parks, modern art works, and the tourist industry. Archaeology and archaeologists tend to be portrayed as being primarily concerned with treasure hunting, field adventures in exotic places, collecting original artifacts, and comprehensive reconstructions of the past from tiny traces found beneath the surface. Archaeologists themselves have often felt uneasy about their image in popular culture. Some feel that a more realistic representation of the variety of archaeological practice would make a contribution not only to an improved public understanding of science but also to a better appreciation of archaeological artefacts and sites as part of our cultural heritage. A new project will now investigate this issue in some detail.

As a Marie Curie-Fellow of the European Commission I am based at the Swedish National Heritage Board (Riksantikvarieämbetet) in Stockholm and will study in some detail if and how the popular characterisations of archaeology stand in the way of promoting our cultural heritage or not. In effect, I will be asking a broad question of considerable social and political relevance within the emerging field of ‘public archaeology’. In order to give the results wider relevance, a comparative perspective will be chosen and fieldwork will be conducted in Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Germany.

My research will be conducted in two phases. During the first phase I will gather a portfolio of evidence for the popular image of archaeology in all three countries. This material will then be analysed for each country and the results compared. In a second phase, I will evaluate how archaeology is portrayed against various possible aims of both archaeology in general and archaeological heritage management in particular, before reaching a concluding assessment. The project began in October 2002 and will last until September 2004.

Now would be the best time for anybody with relevant experiences or passionate views on this subject to contact me and see that their views are represented in my study! If you know of any particularly interesting or unexpected appearances of archaeology in popular culture, or if you have strong opinions about the usefulness (or uselessness) of the popular image of archaeology, I would very much welcome to hear from you irrespective whether this concerns the three countries mentioned or any others.

Dr Cornelius Holtorf, Riksantikvarieämbetet,
Kunskapsavdelningen, Box 5405,
SE-114 84, Stockholm, Sweden
Fax: +46-8-5191 8595.



Crossings: the prehistory of the Channel region 20.9.03

This joint conference between the Lithic Studies Society and Sussex Archaeological Society will review the development and significance of the English Channel throughout prehistory as a topographic and cultural boundary. Speakers will consider the archaeology of SE England and European coastal regions, from the initial colonisation of Britain prior to formation of the channel through to patterns of established cross-channel contact in later prehistory. Speakers include Nick Barton, Julie Gardiner and Mark White. Fee £25. University of Sussex, Brighton.
Lorna Gartside,
Sussex Archaeological Society,
Barbican House,
169 High Street,
Lewes BN7 1YE (please send SAE)

European Association of Archaeologists annual meeting 10.9.03 - 14.9.03

The 9th annual meeting of EAA will take place in St Petersburg, where the meeting forms part of the city’s tercentenary celebrations. Those wishing to attend are advised to register as early as possible to avoid possible delays in obtaining visas etc.
Dr Nicholas Petrov,
EAA AM 2003,
European University at St Petersburg,
S Gagarinskaya St,
St Petersburg
191187 Russia.


Exploring the Maltese Prehistoric Temple Culture 25.9.03 - 27.9.03

This conference presents a multi-disciplinary approach to examining relationships and associations in order to address the questions of who built the remarkable prehistoric temples on Malta, to whom they were related, and what happened to them. Speakers include David Trump, Anthony Bonanno and Simon Stoddart. Sliema, Malta.
Contact Linda Eniex

TAG 2003 17.12.03 - 19.12.03

To be held at the Department of Archaeology, University of Wales, Lampeter. Papers are currently invited for all sessions. For details of all sessions and contact details for session organisers.
Department of Archaeology,
University of Wales Lampeter,
SA48 7ED


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