Registered Office University College London, Institute of Archaeology, 31-34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY




         During the Spring 2000 season of the Wyke Down project (see French et al. forthcoming) an exciting archaeological discovery was made. We were informed by Mr. Robert Antell that two large stones ploughed out of the southern henge at Knowlton, Dorset c. 30 years ago were located on his farm (Knowle Hill Farm, part of the Shaftesbury Estate). Mr. Antell suggested that the stones came from the bank of the south-eastern section of the henge (Fig. 1), and that one stone had artwork on it.
         The two stones were found and examined. They appear to be heathstone, an iron-rich sarsen stone, which is found locally at the edge of tertiary deposits, but this is yet to be confirmed. An outcrop is known to exist near Cranborne just to the northeast, and field walking adjacent to Knowle Hill has shown that fragments of heathstone (up to c. 30 cm in size) are located nearby.

Fig 1.
Fig. 1 Knowlton Southern Henge, showing the location from which the megaliths are reported to have been found (after Ordnance Survey 1901. 1:2,500 (in inches)).

Fig 2.
Fig 2. Megalith with concentric ring pattern from Knowlton Southern Henge (photograph: C. French)
         The first stone found is rectangular, roughly 60 cm wide, 105 cm long and 18 cm thick, and has a design of four concentric rings pecked into its centre on one side (Fig. 2). The design is reminiscent of patterns of concentric circles found on Grooved Ware pottery from Down Farm, c. 4 km upstream. This appears to be a fairly rare motif for Grooved Ware, but has been found on at least 4 vessels, one from Henge I at Wyke Down I, and three from two postholes and a pit outside of the henge at the Wyke Down II site at Down Farm (Green 1987; Cleal 1991, 1999). The design would fit with Shee-Twohig's (1981, 107) passage grave motif lb or 2b (concentric circles). The second stone is rectangular and roughly 60 cm wide, 80 cm long and 15 cm thick. No art was found on this stone. Both stones have calcium carbonate concretions on one of their flat sides, suggesting that they were buried or lying with those faces downwards for some time. Some of this covers the concentric rings on the first stone, suggesting that this side was facing downwards, perhaps as a coverslab on a cist, and that the art is of some antiquity.
         The discovery of megalithic artwork in this area, and especially of this type, is almost unprecedented. In the nearby area, examples of megalithic carved stones are limited to the Bronze Age daggers and spearheads (thought to be moulds) on a stone from Badbury barrow (Warne 1866, 57; Grinsell 1958, 107). The exact position of this barrow, excavated in the 19th century, is unknown, but it was located somewhere near Badbury Rings, c. 6 km to the south of Knowlton. The design found on the stone from Knowlton is, however, reminiscent of Neolithic megalithic art found in the classic areas of Ireland, Anglesey, the Mersey valley, Orkney Islands, Brittany and Iberia (see Shee-Twohig 1981), which might suggest that the stones are Neolithic and relate directly to the southern henge. This henge was classified by Atkinson (1951) as being one of his Type II henges, which are often associated with the presence of internal stone circles, and there is the possibility that engraved stones might occur in these. A piece of worked chalk was found during excavation of a trench through the henge ditch at Knowlton (Burrow and Gale 1995) and a Neolithic decorated chalk lump was found in the Monkton Up Wimborne shaft to the north (Green 2000). Besides this, in this region Neolithic stone carving appears to have been seen only in the engraved circular and linear motifs found on the chalk walls of ditch segments making up the Flagstones enclosure (near Dorchester) (Woodward 1988; Healy 1997), and on smaller stones and chalk lumps from sites further afield, such as Windmill Hill, Wiltshire (Smith 1965, 134), Stonehenge Bottom, Wiltshire (Vatcher 1969) and North Marden, West Sussex (Drewett 1986).
         Megaliths with the type of carvings seen on the stone from Knowlton are usually associated with tombs of various types, suggesting perhaps that the stones might originate from some type of Neolithic grave within the henge or in the immediate vicinity. But a Neolithic date cannot be definitely ascribed to these stones from Knowlton. The closest parallel in the region comes from Winterborne Came barrow 18b (Came Down, near Dorchester), in which two possible Early/Middle Bronze Age cairns were covered with stones decorated with three concentric circles (Fig. 3) (after Warne 1866, 37; Grinsell 1958, 107). Also, several round barrows in the region are reported to have had large stones covering cists, or even used in stone circles at the bases of barrows (e.g. Osmington Down barrows, Woodyates barrow C and Badbury barrow) (Wame 1866). Given this, it may be that some later monument or burial located in or near this part of the Knowlton southern henge is represented.
Fig 3.
Fig. 3 'Came tumulus' and an 'incised stone from Came' showing the only known record of similarly decorated stones from the region, from Winterborne Came barrow 18b, near Dorchester (from Warne 1866, 37)
         Whether these stones are truly associated with the southern henge itself, with some other adjacent site, or were introduced here from a more distant site is unknown. No stones were located in the area covered by the Bournemouth University geophysical survey, although the henge bank was said to have not responded well to the techniques used (Burrow and Gale 1995). No other decorated stones of the type from Knowle Hill Farm are known to have been found from Knowlton, but heathstone slabs were used in Knowlton Church in the central henge, including one very large block. Possibly some of these are re-used from earlier monuments.

         The stones are now located at the museum at Down Farm (address in footnotes), where they await further examination.
         We would like to thank Phillip Rymer, Robert Antell and the Shaftesbury Estate for permission to move and re-house the stones, and Mike Allen, Richard Bradley, Clare Pinder, Brian Pittman and Gary Martin for their help. Thanks also to the library and the President and Fellows of Newnham College, Cambridge, who allowed access to their copy of Warne's 1866 book, and gave permission to copy Figure 3.

Helen Lewis1, Charles French1 and Martin Green2

1 Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge, Downing St. Cambridge CB2 3DZ
2 Down Farm, Woodcutts, Dorset SP5 5RY

Burrow, S. and Gale, J. 1995. Survey and excavation at Knowlton Rings, Woodland Parish, Dorset 1993-5. Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeology Society, 117, 131-2.
Cleal, R. 1991. Cranborne Chase - the earlier prehistoric pottery. In Barrett, J., Bradley, R. and Hall, M. (eds.) Papers on the Prehistoric Archaeology of Cranborne Chase, 134-200. Oxbow Monograph 11. Oxford: Oxbow Books.
1999. Introduction: The what, where, when and why of Grooved Ware. In Cleal, R. and MacSween, A. (eds.) Grooved Ware in Britain & Ireland, 1-8. Neolithic Studies Group Seminar Papers 3. Oxford: Oxbow Book
Drewett, P. 1986. The excavation of a Neolithic oval barrow at North Marden, West Sussex, 1982. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, 52, 31-51.
French, C. A. I., Lewis, H. A., Allen, M. J. and Scaife, R. G. Forthcoming. Palaeoenvironmental and archaeological investigations on Wyke Down in the upper Allen valley, Cranborne Chase, Dorset, England. Interim Summary Report for 1998-9. Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society.
Green, M. 1987. A second henge and Neolithic buildings uncovered on Wyke Down, Cranborne Chase, Dorset. PAST, 27, 1-2.
2000. A Landscape Revealed. 10,000 Years on a Chalkland Farm. Brimscombe Port: Tempus.
Grinsell, L. V. 1958. The Archaeology of Wessex. London: Methuen & Co. Ltd.
Healy, F. 1997. Site 3. Flagstones. In Smith, R. J. C., Healy, F, Allen, M. J., Morris, L., Barnes, I. and Woodward, P. J. Excavations along the route Of the Dorchester by-pass, Dorset, 1986-8, 27-48. Wessex Archaeology Report No. 11.
Ordnance Survey. 1901. Dorset Sheet 16/13. 2nd edition.
Shee-Twohig, E. 1981. The Megalithic Art of Western Europe. Oxford: Clarendon.
Smith, I. E 1965. Windmill Hill and Avebury.. Excavations by Alexander Keiller 1925-1939. Oxford: Clarendon.
Vatcher, F. de M. 1969. Two incised chalk plaques near Stonehenge Bottom. Antiquity, 43, 310-311.
Warne, C. 1866. The Celtic Tumuli of Dorset. London: John Russell Smith.
Woodward, P. J. 1988. Pictures of the 'Neolithic: discoveries from the Flagstone House excavations, Dorchester, Dorset. Antiquity, 62, 266-274



         As many of you will already know, sadly Sara Champion died peacefully on Sunday 14th May 2000 after a long battle with cancer. PAST does not normally include obituaries, but it would be strange indeed not to include a tribute here to an editor who was responsible for PAST from July 1997 and who continued her role despite her illness. She will be greatly missed at Council Meetings of the Society and will be fondly remembered for her contribution to archaeology and the manner in which she made that contribution; learned but accessible and with a clear sense that prehistory was fun. Sara was an avid user of new technology, bringing her experience in this medium into PAST and encouraging Society members to surf the net themselves via her very successful column 'Champion's choice'.
         As the new editor of PAST, I am aware that Sara is a hard act to follow and I am sad to inherit the role in this way since my own memories of her span over twenty years. I still remember sitting as a student in a first year lecture at Southampton listening to Sara describe excavation strategies, going on a fieldtrip to Ireland with her where Irish culture past and present was consumed with relish and meeting her the other side of the world in Sydney at a Women in Archaeology conference where her boundless energy was noted by Australian colleagues. Her interests and activities mean that she will be missed here and abroad. On behalf of the Prehistoric Society I would like to thank Sara for doing such a good job as editor and offer our sympathy to Tim Champion and family. Many members of the Society were present at Sara's cremation service and found the address given by her nephew Alex Campbell to be a moving and very apt summary of the lady herself. With the approval of her family the text, designed to be spoken, is reproduced below.

Linda Hurcombe



         It is my very great honour and privilege to be able to say some words about dear Sara and her life. This, in itself, is slightly daunting as Sara always seemed to be living many lives at the same time. That isn't to say the lives were separate - quite the opposite because as we know the various strands all intertwined as parts of a glorious action-packed whole. There was a "family life" as a loving and greatly loved wife and mother; as a dear daughter and sister; or as a rather exciting aunt - "Aunty Mud" as she was affectionately called. There was her "professional life" as a valued and highly respected work colleague, organiser, teacher or tutor. Then, too, a 'social life' as a great party giver, an enthusiastic cook, a bon-viveur, a disc-jockey, a sports fan, a chorister and so on. Whatever the activity and setting, Sara herself was always the same - in the centre of things, open, friendly, generous, lovable - someone with a passion for everything life has to offer.
          Sara was born in 1946, the second daughter in a family of four children. A remarkable drive and energy is fairly characteristic of the Hermon family but it was Sara who inherited this in the greatest measure. From her earliest days she apparently needed little sleep. Certainly throughout most of her adult life about 4 hours was all she generally required, but even this 2-3 hour headstart every day can only partially explain how she managed to cram so much into a day.
         Six years of her early childhood were spent in Kenya and Tanganyika as it then was. Her education there was left in the hands of Miss Wilde who one can only assume nurtured Sara's love of learning from the start. Shortly after the family returned to the UK Sara went to Benenden where, as well as achieving academically, she excelled at sport principally lacrosse, swimming, and death-defying backwards diving from the highest boards.
          It was apparently a single book, "Testimony of the Spade" by Geoffrey Bibby, which kindled Sara's passionate interest in Archaeology leading her to Edinburgh to study for her MA at the department run by Professor Stuart Piggott. Academia was her obvious vocation and in 1968 Sara moved from Edinburgh to St Hugh's College, Oxford to work for her D.Phil - concentrating particularly on the European Iron Age under the supervision of Professor Christopher Hawkes. It was at Oxford she also met dear Tim whom she married in 1970 at St Paul's Church in Knightsbridge.
         In 1972 the Doctors Champion moved to Southampton and one imagines them rapidly assimilating themselves into the community. In the mid to late seventies Edward and William were born - Sara easily balancing motherhood with the demands of a variety of both formal and informal jobs. These included a two-year research fellowship in archaeology, and part-time teaching for the University Archaeology Department and the Adult and Continuing Education courses. There was also her part time role for English Heritage, overseeing the upkeep and preservation of the scheduled monuments of West Hampshire and Dorset. For these jobs, and in her later roles as Lecturer in Archaeology and Course Organiser for related humanities subjects for New College, Southampton, her undisputed abilities as a communicator and organiser were allowed full reign. Those who participated in her many field trips, both for the university and for ACE, recall vividly Sara's informal leadership and her natural talent for imparting her knowledge of and her enthusiasm for her subjects. These trips took her to many places she knew and loved - back to Africa to Zimbabwe, to the Isle of Man, and to her favourite west coast of Ireland.
         But Sara had her fingers in many more pies. Always interested in music, theatre, opera and fine art she joined the Southampton Philharmonic Choir with whom she must have sung for about 20 years as a second alto. It will not surprise anyone to learn that she gradually re-organised her teaching life so that Monday evenings were kept free for rehearsals. Inevitably she found her way onto the choir committee and involved herself with concert promotion and fund-raising. Other arts organisations benefited from these artistic leanings - the Nuffield Theatre, the Mayflower and the Turner Sims Concert Hall where she served on the boards of the Trusts and Clubs or worked as an usher. Friends and family were also beneficiaries of Sara's early knowledge of future events at these venues - finding themselves invited as part of large groups attending a performance. Like other members of the family my own Christmas presents from Sara and Tim for the last few years were tickets to piano recitals by the likes of Vladimir Ashkenazy or Alfred Brendel. Everyone always looked forward to these events, especially as they were usually preceded and followed by drinks and food at Welbeck Avenue.
         Food and drink - Sara - another perfect match. From every trip abroad both wine and food were collected, shared and enjoyed. Sara was a hostess to the manner born and seemed undaunted by preparation of food for vast numbers of people invited to her home. Our family gatherings at Christmas, New Year or Easter, often involving 20 people or more, sometimes occurred the day after some large party where some other "5000" had been entertained. I'm sure nobody at either event went either dry or hungry. Some restaurants with large and fancy kitchens would find this a trial - Sara managed these miracles effortlessly at home in her own unique kitchen! These mass catering skills were also evident early in life - I am told Sara helped run a charities café in Edinburgh when she was an undergraduate.
         There were many other things that Sara was stimulated by or enthusiastic about and I'll just list some of them. There was sport - watching football at the Dell and keeping up to date about events occurring in the rest of the sporting world. There was her love of subversive comedy and her in-depth knowledge (to degree level at least) of the film roles of Kevin Costner. And there was her active involvement in politics and her interest in women's issues. And there was the World Wide Web.
         Sara was, of course, one of those people who realised early the potential value of the Internet and E-mail as a means of communication, a source of information and indeed as an educational tool. She was devoted to it and kept up professional and private correspondence and acquaintance with many people around the world through this medium. It also became very important in her work as she lectured, demonstrated and wrote articles on the application of Internet resources in the teaching of archaeology. This, and her interest in the "forgotten" women of Archaeology were important facets of her work in her last few years.
         Sadly these last few years also saw Sara waging a determined battle against the cancer that has so recently taken her from us. Her courage during these 3 to 4 years of illness was absolutely characteristic she refused to let the illness curtail her many activities any more than was necessary. Despite her awareness of the seriousness of her situation she seldom lost her customary cheerfulness, selflessness and positive outlook. She retained to the end both her passion for her work and her interest in the lives and achievements of her friends and family particularly her three special men.
         Sara packed so much into life that she cannot help but be sadly missed. She touched many lives and will be remembered with admiration, fondness and love.

Alexander Campbell




Silbury Hill
Silbury Hill. A view from the top.
         On May 29th 2000 an early archaeological investigation reminded the interested world of its presence. The vertical shaft dug in 1776 through Silbury Hill by Cornish Miners in the employ of the Duke of Northumberland collapsed, leaving a gaping hole and a big headache for the site managers. What seems likely is that the traditional capping of the shaft finally gave way and fell into the void below. Inevitable questions are where did they dump all the rest of the spoil and is some of the Hill's current shape due to eighteenth century failure to restore?
         The immediate action was to make all safe and the Hill currently sports a lid of scaffolding and planking, plus security guards, extra fencing and a plethora of notices. The public have in general respected the requests to stay away and the vegetation on the Hill has benefited enormously from the rest it has been given. The Hill's metallic hat did attract other attention - a reported 22 hits by lightening during a thunderstorm.

         After survey and recording it is likely that the chasm will be infilled with chalk. It is a slightly scary thought that I was excavating very close to the top of the shaft in 1970 and underneath it in 1969 though we had mining rings and planks in the tunnel and anyway I was relegated to the ditch most of the time!). Even quirkier is that the collapse happened on the day the Avebury World Heritage Site Officer got married. Is there something in this?

Gill Swanton


The debate on the sorcerer figure continues... (see PAST 29, 30, 31 and with additional comments in issues 32 and 33).


          I am grateful to Paul Bahn for setting me right in PAST about the editions in English of Max Bégouën's 1925 novel on Palaeolithic art, Bison d'Argile. However it does not seem to me to be important that the Abbé Henri Breuil did not publish his very short note in the Comptes rendus de I'Academie des Inscriptions on what he described as the 'Homme masqué en Bison jouant de la flûte (?), précéde d'un animal fantastique femelle' until 19 September 1930. In the first paragraph he acknowledges the assistance of 'le comte Bégouën et ses fils' in the 'travail de dechiffrement' of the detail of the 'innombrables gravures' Max Bégouën's comments to me on the orientation of the masked figure were made I think in August 1974 during the second of the two occasions when I visited the cave in his company and it was in the context of his remarks on the subject of the orientation of the human figures that a copy of the American edition was lent me to read.
         Any image has to satisfy certain basic requirements of all projections if it is to he understood. One of the more important of these is the orientation instructions which tell the viewer how they should stand, or imagine themselves to be standing, in order to view it. Both the methods of reproduction used by M. l'Abbé Henri Breuil and M. le comte Henri Bégouën in their publications have the effect of suppressing the palaeolithic artist's original orientation indications. An enlévement or calque [i.e. rubbing or tracing] and a photograph, by framing the image in the rectangular form of a piece of paper, almost invariably provide a fresh orientation at odds with any of the suggestions as to how the viewer should look at the image built into the context of the drawing. As he says in the conclusion to his short account, the Abbé Breuil decided early on in his acquaintance with it that the masked figure was human and characteristically vertical. He drew it as if it were and framed the drawing accordingly.
         Max Bégouën clearly held a different view from Henri Breuil. He was no longer a young man when he took me into the Volp system of caves and was no doubt much more acutely aware of the difficulties involved in negotiating the uneven floor of the Sanctuaire so that he could demonstrate its images than he had been when he discovered it or when Henri Breuil was working there. Nevertheless his discussion of the proper positions to take up in order to see the images correctly, centred round the masked human figures rather than round his increasing difficulty in getting to see any of the figures at all.
         I am sure that Frederic Demouche, Ludovik Slimak and Daniel Deflandre are right. They correctly detected cues to the horizontal orientation of the masked figure relative to the viewer despite the reorientation introduced by Henri Breuil's tracings and by the photographs he had made. However, an explanation for this has occurred to me recently. There is in fact another possible justification for the orientation of the masked figures other than the inter-relationship of rough wall and rough floor. On a rock surface at Wangewange, above Deaf Adder Creek in Arnhemland, Australia, there are two representations of a tapir-like marsupial. They are an adult female and its young, probably Palorchestes azael, and were first recognised as something strange by George Chaloupka when travelling with his friend Kapirigi in 1977. Palorchestes azael has almost certainly been extinct since the late Pleistocene so in general terms the drawing could be roughly contemporary with the figures in Trois Frères. The drawing is like the drawings in the Ariège caves and is an orthogonal projection with some enlargement of parts of the outline resulting from pronounced regression towards the real object. The young 'tapir' is quite obviously shown as dodging in under the chest of its mother and there might even be a reason for this action. Further up the rock face is the spotted form of a crouching Tasmanian Devil looking in its direction. The female is drawn almost horizontal above a slightly inclined rock shelf. The young one is drawn with its spinal axis at right angles to the ledge. If one thinks about it there is no other way the youngster walking round in front of its mother could be drawn when the larger animal was drawn in an oblique orthogonal projection. Similarly, if a hunter, on his hands and knees, were attempting to circle round a group of bison grazing or browsing together he would have to be placed vertically.

Michael Eastham

Dolau, Dwrbach, Fishguard, Pembrokeshire, SA65 9RN




         The flyer for the one day conference organised by the Prehistoric Society at the Institute of Archaeology, London boded well I thought for the airing of new ideas in the field of structured deposition and accumulations.
         Arriving slightly late I found the gods had spared us J.D. Hill's 'Talking Rubbish about Rubbish', an all too accurate title I had feared and the conference had moved straight to Dr. John Chapman's paper (read by David McOmish) entitled 'You can burn'em, bury'em or dump 'em: what to do with people and things in Balkan Prehistory'. I wondered if I had missed an announcement of a change of title to this as people did not appear to enter the equation. The first section considered theoretical aspects - definitions of rubbish, methods of accumulation, before moving on to an examination of specific sites excavated as a result of Hungary's motorway construction programme. Both tell and lowland open settlements were illustrated with the emphasis on 'living with the ancestors' (sounds like a sequel to a certain TV series!). The concept was that on tell settlements there was a deliberate choice of continuity of settlement providing a constant link with the ancestors and because of constraints of space, deposition of rubbish was limited to certain areas of each house plot ensuring the presence of ancestral material close to the inhabitants. By contrast, on the lowland open settlements the cutting of pits and wells through earlier deposits allowed access to ancestral material. I wondered if we were not in danger here of imposing modern intellectual academic ideas onto Neolithic peasants: would they really have had any more idea of what a metre of earlier Neolithic deposits represented than the average British site workman who designates 4 m of intricate stratigraphy as 'make-up'. Should we expect anyone but archaeologists to place more significance on the deposits than that?
         However the structured or special deposits placed in the wells and pits were striking, particularly in their general similarity to those known from other countries in Europe and other periods of prehistory. These deposits would not have been out of place in a British Iron Age pit. Should we be considering much more wide ranging links that cross national barriers, cultural barriers and temporal barriers - or am I stating something so obvious that no one else thinks it is worthy of mention?
         I felt the same sense of deja vu during the following talk by Dr. Joshua Pollard 'Questioning Rubbish: Neolithic depositional practices'. The presentation first took a look at special deposits in what may clearly be accepted as ritual or religious situations - henges and long barrows. From this Dr. Pollard went on to compare these to more everyday domestic settlements, in particular that below Hazleton Long Barrow, where there appeared to be mounds of curated midden as well as pits with structured deposits.
         One pit was particularly commented upon as being 'empty' - just waiting for all that midden to be dumped in it; but then a change of plan resulted in the long barrow being constructed instead. However we raised the point in the later discussion 'was this pit really empty? What exactly was the nature of the fill?' Lack of obvious structured deposits should not blind us to the possibility that originally something special was placed or poured - a wide range of organic items may have been acceptable. Moreover the fill within a pit may be structured in itself as it is becoming increasingly clear that the shape of layers within pits were not merely an accident of shovelling or tipping a load of dirt into them. If a layer is level it almost certainly means someone bothered to get into the pit and level it, if stones are placed in a particular manner, they almost certainly were not casually thrown in from above. Are we thinking carefully enough about the layers of soil and stones within pits, what they represent, evidence for patterning or structure within them and might there be any clues for the presence of organic deposits, for the invisible deposits?
         Dr. Pollard also showed groups of finds placed together again next to the pit from which they were excavated. To what extent was this visual image valid: was there just one single act of deposition or several - should the finds have been subdivided into smaller groups? We need to ask whether deposits were being placed over a matter of minutes, hours, days, months or seasons and to what extent is such information retrievable.
         In the third lecture of the morning 'Midden and the Machair: Attitudes to Rubbish in the Western Isles of Scotland' Dr. Niall Sharples looked at a late Iron Age settlement on South Uist. He discussed the differences in deposition at the centre of the settlement in the wheelhouse and at the periphery in an area of midden in relation to certain broad categories of finds. The pattern was well illustrated by the much larger quantity of bone in the midden, whilst special finds were sparse in the midden compared to the house area. It was suggested that midden in the vicinity of the settlement was curated to prevent erosion, a not unreasonable interpretation on the fragile soils of the island. However the material may have had the dual purpose of serving as a status symbol, an aspect recorded for 17th-18th century German farming communities.
         Dr. Sharples also discussed the fascinating evidence from a house that had been burnt down and subsequently rebuilt and reoccupied. Though he would not commit himself to whether the fire was accidental or deliberate, the resulting evidence for activity areas within the house was remarkable, such as the evidence that grinding/pounding stones were hung in bags around the walls. After the fire large sections of the wall were demolished, but certain areas such as the doorsill were carefully left and the hearth of the later house constructed over it with a kerb of metapodials and two grinders along one side.
         In the afternoon session we moved further north still with Karen Milek's paper 'Walking on Waste: Icelandic House Floors from 9th-19th Centuries'. She introduced us to the distinctive farmsteads of turf built longhouses and farm buildings set in an infield enclosure, which occupied the coastal regions and river valleys which fringe the otherwise barren island. Ms Milek's research was the detailed examination of the distinctive occupation deposits on the floors of these houses. For this, she had produced thin sections of the soils and sediments to study the soil micromorphology, analysing proportions of materials such as charcoal, bone and organic materials. This is a useful technique, but in these circumstances was rather like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. The high density of charcoal trampled into the dirt floors in the kitchens with open hearths or fireplaces is not especially surprising: cinders raked off the fire would rapidly be redistributed around the room with normal trampling, even up to the walls and over the areas feet do not reach (as anyone one who does not sweep their floors too often will know) if not completely removed from the building. Ms Milek went on at length about embedded western, modern attitudes to dirt and rubbish, by an ironic twist revealing her own deeply embedded western, modem revulsion of dirt. Who considers charcoal and ash to be 'dirty'? Clearly she does if she announces it as a great revelation that these Icelanders were deliberately failing to remove it from the house. This useful technique could more profitably be applied to other areas, where it is much more difficult to interpret deposits (all those anonymous soils in Iron Age pits for example - are some of them redeposited curated midden material for example)?
         We returned to Britain with Dr. Jacqui Mulville's entertaining and down to earth contribution 'From Trash to Tribute: animal bones on archaeological sites'. Dr Mulville was a little concerned that J.D. had not already introduced us to structured pit deposits, but it would be surprising if there was anyone present who had not already seen some typical examples, if not 'in the flesh' at least in published format. After first describing what bone specialists like to do with bones, she then went on to tell us how they liked to interpret them, (which is without any recourse to concepts of 'ritual'). Fortunately, Jacqui is a convert to the concept of special or structured deposits, largely because she has been involved in the actual fieldwork. That is when it becomes all too obvious that certain animals/objects/whatever could not have arrived in their final resting place without some very deliberate acts on the part of humans. We hope she will pass enlightenment on to her colleagues. In view of Mike Parker Pearson's comment that bone left lying around on the surface of modern peasant communities in African and Asian countries will in the normal course of events have been chewed to unrecognisable splinters by dogs, perhaps Jacqui and her colleagues should be asking how all the rather more complete bones in pits got there, are single bones any less 'special' than the articulated in these circumstances, are there significant differences between isolated bones and articulated or structured groups?
         Finally, anthropologist Dr. Susan Kuechler took a look at modern ways of dealing with rubbish in her lecture 'The Anthropology of Rubbish'. She introduced the idea of transporting rubbish giving the example of rubbish from New York ending up in New Mexico. She also brought in the concepts of collecting objects, the death of objects and the idea of sacrifice and material recycled. Her talk brought home the fact that modern concepts of rubbish are all too frequently imposed on the past.
         Many of the day's speakers prefaced their talks with definitions of rubbish. The modern idea of items becoming useless, of no value, dirty, the need to discard unwanted objects seems to be embedded in most peoples' minds, but can this be extrapolated back into past societies. The whole concept appears to be misplaced: should the words rubbish and prehistory ever be uttered in the same breath?
         Those of us brought up either in contact with third world cultures, where everything had a value for someone or in a situation where nothing was wasted and everything recycled long before the greens got hold of the concept, would rather regard everything as a potential resource, that certainly had a primary use, but also potential secondary or tertiary uses. In this case, we should be asking why these objects were removed from the pool of resources and what it meant to the society involved. Could certain items stand in for others, that society or an individual could not afford to 'sacrifice'. Could a single animal bone be used to represent the whole - a long bone for a leg, a skull for the whole animal, a sherd of pottery for a pot? Might it be acceptable to substitute something that just looked similar might a large stone that looked like a head replace the real thing?
         The study of structured deposits needs to move forward (now that most of us seem to be agreed that they do really exist). Referring to this material as rubbish is unhelpful. It is time to look more widely at the perceived patterns - patterns that often appear to transcend time and space. The structured deposits found in Iron Age storage pits occur further afield than Britain and continue well into the Roman period at native settlements around Danebury. Many of the types of structured deposits occurring in the Neolithic and Bronze Age are comparable to the Iron Age. Does this represent continuity of thought and belief or merely the universality of ideas, resulting in similar objects being treated in similar ways?
         I would like to thank Lisa Brown for the extended discussion we had following the conference and for subsequent comments on this review.

Cynthia Poole


Prehistoric Society Study weekend 19 - 21 May 2000 Dillington House, Somerset


         Maria and I arrived at Dillington at about 6.00 pm on Friday. The grounds are beautiful and our room very comfortable. After the sherry reception and a very good meal, we went to the theatre! Proceedings began with a minute's silence in memory of Sara Champion. Bob Bewley, in almost his last official engagement, then introduced Prof. Richard Bradley who delivered an excellent introduction to the weekend, reminding us all of the works of Pitt-Rivers and the Cranborne Chase Project of the late 1970s early 1980s and introducing the new campaign of work. My knowledge of archaeology is virtually non-existent but I felt that I understood what was said (or at least most of it). We went back to the bar for a nightcap or several and retired to a comfortable bed.
         The next morning after an excellent breakfast we embarked on an intensive morning of 'scene setting' lectures by Martin Green, Mike Allen, Julie Gardiner, Clive Ruggles and a rather poorly Mark Corney (flu not an excess of alcohol on this occasion). All the lectures were very informative and never boring. We boarded our coach at 12.30 pm for an afternoon 'In the General's footsteps' and drove to the Knowlton Circle complex, where we were joined by John Gale, who explained the layout of the monuments and told us about Bournemouth University's recent excavations. Charly French and Helen Lewis took a break from a huge augering programme in the Allen Valley to explain the current campaign of environmental work.
The Larmer Tree Gardens
'Stop that Bradley fellow he's stealing all the cream cakes!' (Mike Allen, Julie Gardiner and Martin Green entertaining the troops at the Larmer Tree Gardens) Photo: Robert Mayall
Martin Green
Martin Green explains just where he is standing (Oakley Down Barrow Cemetery) Photo: Mike Allen
         On then to Oakley Down and Rushmore Park. We spent long enough, but not too long, at each site, first with Martin Green, aloft a sizeable barrow, explaining the layout of the Oakley Down cemetery and pointing out other famous landmarks such as Wor Barrow and the Ackling Dyke. Richard Bradley and Julie Gardiner demonstrated the relationship between the South Lodge Middle Bronze Age settlement and its associated barrow cemetery and field system and raised some laughs with a few excavation anecdotes. My enthusiasm for the subject matter was growing apace - along with the awareness of my ignorance. We drove to Dorchester then for a well-eamed glass of wine (and all the scrumptious tea and cakes we had forgotten all about stopping to eat during the afternoon) and a look round the County Museum at the generous invitation of Pete Woodward. Dorchester is a very well presented local museum which seems to have enough funds to buy local material and keep it out of the hands of the big national collections. Back on the coach and, after another excellent dinner at Dillington, we wound down to a late evening talk by Martin, whose farm we would be visiting the next day, about the ecology of the farm and the set-aside and Countryside Stewardship arrangements that allow him to indulge in so much excavation and fieldwork. Another night cap (or two) was followed by bed.

         The following morning we disembarked in a brief heavy shower of hail at Down Farm, where we were given a guided tour and a chance to look at Martin's extraordinary private museum. We visited the pair of henge monuments and Grooved Ware buildings on Wyke Down where Mike and Martin explained both the archaeology of the site and showed us the effects of just a few years' of weathering on the ditches and the types of plants and animals (especially snails of course) that had started to colonise its different features. Charly and Helen joined us again to talk about last year's barrow excavations in the adjacent field. Richard and Clive then talked about the Dorset Cursus, though we could not see much of it because of the state of the crops and long grass, and pointed out the relevant vistas. Martin had thoughtfully rotivated along the line of one of the ditches so we ceremonially processed to the nearby Pleistocene river cliff, scene of excavations in 1984, from where we could view the unique (for this area) periglacial naleds in the fields below.
Cranborne Chase
A view of Cranborne Chase from Gussage Cow Down. Mark Corney is pointing out an Iron Age Banjo enclosure. Behind him, at the foot to the hill, lies Down Farm with Fir Tree Field to the right and Wyke Down beyond. Photo: Mike Allen
Oakley Down
One of the largest barrows on Oakley Down (Julie Gardiner acting as scale). Photo: Mike Allen

         We then had the opportunity to peer down the huge Mesolithic shaft in Fir Tree Field and marvel at its size - it has now weathered considerably and was half full of water but is still very impressive. We were reminded of the fate of the unfortunate prehistoric deer who fell into the shaft by the sight of an ex-rabbit who had recently suffered a similar demise. Over lunch. as there were too many of us to all get in at once, we filtered through Martin's museum, which is packed with material from the surrounding area. Ros Cleal and Julie were on hand to explain and demonstrate individual pots and flint artefacts and to answer questions.
          After lunch we took a healthy walk up to Gussage Cow Down where a much-revived Mark Corney introduced civilisation in the form of the Iron Age landscape and Roman occupation of Cranborne Chase. The earthworks are impressive and the view. by this time in glorious sunshine, wonderful. Finally we drove to the Larmer Tree Gardens for a splendid cream tea and entertainment by a local school orchestra of dubious ability but undoubted enthusiam.

         My impression is that everybody thoroughly enjoyed the weekend and we were all impressed by the way we were kept to the timetable. I would like to thank Julie, Mike and Martin for organising everything so efficiently and producing the excellent guide to help us get the most out of the weekend. We were very grateful to Wayne Bennett and the staff at Dillington House for their courtesy and efficiency. I am looking forward to reading Martin's book when it comes out later this year and shall persuade Maria that we ought to book the next Prehistoric Society study weekend at Dillington (hillforts next I hear!).

Robert Mayall


Wyke Down
Wyke Down, Down Farm, site of the Grooved Ware buildings. Martin Green explains ('they're here somewhere honestly'). Photo: Robert Mayall


Rouffignac: Le Sanctuaire des Mammouths by Jean Plassard. Paris. Editions du Seuil. 99 pp ISBN 2 02 034402 5 Price: 230FF.


         This is the latest in a series of large format books on Palaeolithic rock art which have been published by Seuil under the general title of the "Arts Rupestres " collection and the overall control of Jean Clottes. Some of these, those on Chauvet and Altamira for example, have been translated into English and are distributed by Thames & Hudson; others such as the book on Niaux and this one are, as yet, only available in French.
         The author, Jean Plassard, is probably the best placed person to write this book. He is a member of the family which has owned the site since long before the discovery of Palaeolithic art here, in 1956 when he was himself but 4 years old, and is the present curator of the cave.
         The book acts as a broad introduction to this cave and to its remarkable collection of artwork with nine chapters, notes and a short bibliography. It is intended for the general reader rather than the specialist, and includes much introductory material. Whilst it is by no means a substitute for the comprehensive study produced by Claude Barrière in 1982, it does, however supplement that work by the inclusion of more background material. It also includes details of discoveries made, and conservation work carried out since 1982.
         The many excellent colour plates are probably the most useful part of the book; Barrière's only being illustrated in black and white. Fortunately this cave is sufficiently roomy to make photography relatively straightforward, thus obviating the need for photo montage techniques, which, while being the only possible method in some sites, can frequently give a false impression of how the artwork actually appears, essential for the full consideration of the art itself. Also included are a good number of photos which give an idea of the size and shape of the cave - the context in which the artwork is found.
         From the point of view of the British reader, probably the most interesting section comes in the chapter describing the controversies which surrounded the original discovery of this material 'La Guerre des Mammouths'. Here (p. 23) the author says:

"À partir de cette date, hormis quelques ultimes soubresauts, le calme revint, et avec lui toute la sérénité nécessaire à la recherche. Seul le préhistorien anglais Glyn Daniel persista jusqu'à sa mort à nier l'authenticité des oeuvres de ce site. Il trouvait récemment encore un hériter en la personne de son jeune compatriote Paul Bahn, ce dernier n'hésitant pas à réfuter jusqu'à l'existence du texte de François de Belle-Forest qui, ironie du sort ou manque d'information fut pourtant repris dans la langue de Shakespeare en 1592."

"Since that date, except a few final flurries, calm has returned and, with it, the tranquillity required for research. Only the English prehistorian Glyn Daniel continued, until his death, to deny the authenticity of the paintings and engravings of the site. He found an heir in his young compatriot Paul Bahn who even refuted the existence of François de Belleforest's text which, fateful irony or lack of information, had nevertheless been translated into English in 1592." (Translated by J. Chabert).

         Two things are remarkable about this. the first is the depth of feeling inherent in this passage and the second, which shows where I stand on the issue, is my sense of surprise that doubt still exists about the works at Rouffignac. Here is not the place to rehearse all the arguments about this, but two observations, one about Daniei's comments and one about Bahn's, might be pertinent.
         In his editorial in Antiquity, November 1979 (quoted in Daniel, 1991) Daniel wrote: '...and is it true as we are told that more mammoths have appeared this year...". This statement shows a lack of understanding on Daniel's part of how research in this field goes forward. In this book Plassard notes that the 158th mammoth was found as late as February 7th 1998, 42 years after the first and, on a recent trip to Les Combarelles a cave that has been intensively studied for nearly a century and whose content is surely doubted by no-one, Claude Archambeau pointed out to me one engraving that was first noted by Prof. Leroi-Gourhan on his final trip into the cave and another that had been first seen by his own wife!
          Plassard's reference to Bahn is to a footnote to his 1988 book (Bahn & Vertut, 1988) which stated:

"Contrary to the often repeated claims (eg Nougier & Robert 1957) that the 'paintings' of Rouffignac were first mentioned by Frangois de Belleforest in a publication of 1575, and occasionally by later authors, there is not a single mention by anyone of drawings in that cave before the mid-twentieth century."

         It is important to point out, therefore, and possibly Plassard is unaware of this, that in the later revision of this book (Bahn & Vertut, 1997) Bahn says "Rouffignac is undoubtedly a genuine Palaeolithic decorated cave, and most of the art in its miles of galleries is unquestionably authentic." However, he also called for analysis and/or dating of pigment of "these few specific images in that cave over which, rightly or wrongly, a question mark still hangs." Unfortunately unless everything could be dated, an obvious impossibility, this would not stop a sceptic from saying 'Okay that one is acceptable but what about this one?' and even Daniel admitted that some of the material might be genuine. And it seems that dating is not possible; work which has been done on the pigments used in the cave has shown that the material, as with much cave art, does not contain dateable carbon. This is stated by Plassard (p.25) and confirmed by Jean Clottes (1998).
         I hope that this note, as well as bringing this book to the notice of British readers, will serve to set the record straight by pointing out that even on this side of the channel, few if any doubts seriously remain about the authenticity of this fascinating cave.

Bahn. P.G. & Vertut. J. 1988, Images of the Ice Age. Leicester. Windward.
Bahn. P.G. & Vertut. J. 1997, Journey through the Ice Age... London. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p.83
Barrière. C. 1982, L'Art Pariétal de Rouffignac... Paris. Éd. Picard. Fondation Singer-Polignac. 208pp.
Clottes. J. 1998, Voyage en Préhistoire. Paris. La maison des roches, éditeur. pp.33/4...
Daniel, G. 1991, Writing for Antiquity. London. Thames & Hudson. p. 134.




         It will come as no surprise to anyone who knew Sara Champion that several people offered to continue the editorial role she so ably fulfilled and that all of them would be needed to cover and develop the work. Dr Linda Hurcombe will act as editor and her address (see page 1) will be used for correspondence, but Dr Josh Pollard and Gill Swanton will also form part of the editorial team. We are all keen to develop PAST and ensure that it serves Prehistoric Society members well. We have already had a short meeting to brainstorm some new ideas and will be outlining these in more detail in future editions of PAST. At this point we would appreciate any suggestions from members of things they would like to see in the newsletter and comments on the format(s) appropriate for conveying the information. Please post or e-mail your ideas to Linda or buttonhole any of us in person.
Gill, Linda and Josh
Gill, Linda and Josh with Adam. Note that Adam is one of the standing stones at Beckhampton near Avebury


         Summer is always a busy time for archaeologists but if your travels, excavations, surveys, or burrowing in archives have turned up something interesting, do take some time to write about it and share the news with the circa 2000 other members. (Photos welcome!)




         PAST recently advertised a set of PPS volumes for sale, this time we have a plea for help in filling the gaps in their collection. Spencer Carter needs copies for 1963. 1960, 1940 Pt2, 1939 Pt1. If you can help please contact Spencer Carter +44 (0)7774-860-341.




NB Most of the words are taken from volume 65 of PPS - the source page is given in square brackets. How many can you track down?

R. John Cruse

1 & 5 [315] "Recent studies reveal that, occasionally, the production of a ........ .... begins with a large biface" (8,4)
7 [269] "At the same time, rich '......-type' burials and the emergence of 'oppida' types of settlements demonstrate a similar southern shift (6)
9 [-] Thin piece cut from wood or broken from stone (4)
10 [467] "At this same meeting, the 24 year old Grahame Clark was first elected to the Society's ......." (7)
12 [-] ......, Saxons and Jutes (6)
14 [-] Next planet beyond Saturn (6)
15 [183] "Stjernquist's work at the Late Bronze Age grave fields of ......" (6)
18 [11] "He felt the growth in .......... was a vindication of his radical proposal in 1850 that there had been a pre-Celtic race in Britain" (10)
21 [-] Unit of width in printing (2)
22 [333] "Instead, the ........ period may be regarded as essentially contemporary with the southern Greek FN" (8)
23 [359] Zone RDBL contained 1-3% of ... and pine (3)


1 [426] "At Knowth and ... there was long sequence of tomb building and art application (8)
2 [-] Valley - or farewell (4)
3 [-] Get one's ... back (3)
4 [298] "Diprotodon, Sthenurus and titan species, also found at other more recently dated sites, are still present in the deposit." (8)
5 [43] "Piggott's work at ........... shows the value of striving for objectivity , even if we know that, as in all things, the absolute in not achievable" (11)
6 [56] "This major lithic scatter lies on the north- eastern end of the ... Hill, Barcham Peninsula" (3)
8 [435] "The four orthostats have wavy lines of .... motifs' (4)
11 [-] Finally (6)
13 [-] Catch breath (4)
16 [-] Kingdom or domain (5)
17 [127] "For example, the ... form is common within Grooved ware assemblages (3)
19 [43] Acknowledgments include ... Kinnes (3)
20 [234] "The identified cores had only ..., unabraded platform (3)



There are lots of conference coming up just after you receive this copy of PAST. Some have also included flyers so there is no excuse if you were wondering how to make a booking. Few new conferences have sent information to us, but for those of you who like a bit of theory with your prehistory there is of course the TAG conference shortly before Christmas, which is to be held at Oxford this year.

Lithic Studies in the year 2000: 8.9.00-11.9.00
This conference, organised by the Lithic Studies Society, will be held at the National Museum & Gallery, Cardiff. Sessions include behaviour and cognition in the Lower & Middle Palaeolithic; lithics in transition; lithics in the Bronze Age & later periods; raw material studies; mobility, contexts, range & territory; use wear & residues. Further details from
     Elizabeth Walker,
     Hon Secretary.
     Lithic Studies Society,
     National Museum & Gallery,
     Cathays Park.
     Cardiff CF10 3NP,

tel 02920 573274

British Association of Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology: 1.9.00-3.9.00
Funerary archaeology, osteoarchaeology as well as physical anthropology and human evolution are all included within the title. The conference will be held at Bradford University and anyone interested in attending should contact
     Dr Chris Knüsel,
     Dept. of Archaeological Sciences,
     Bradford University,
     Bradford BD7 1DP

tel: 01274 233545

European Association of Archaeologists: 10.9.00-17.9.00
The 6th annual meeting of the EAA will take place in Lisbon, sponsored by the Portuguese Institute of Archaeology. Further details from the
     EAA 2000 Meeting Secretariat,
     Instituto Portuges de Arqueologia,
     Avenida da India 136,
     1300-300 Lisboa,



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