Timber Circles – The Catholme ‘Woodhenge’ Model.

The Catholme ‘Woodhenge’ Model

Text by Henry Chapman

“At the Woodhenge Monument we excavated 23 pits, some from each of the five rings. They were around a metre in diameter and in places over a metre deep, and straight-sided. Three contained the remains of oak timbers (flecks of charcoal and dark soil stains), confirming the morphological suggestion that they once held uprights, presenting something of a forest – a total of 195 tall posts in five rings each of 39. As well as the circular arrangement, the pits effectively form 32 radiating lines, comparable to the 12 lines at the Sunburst Monument.

There were few finds. The three lithics from the excavation were of local gravel flint, in contrast to that from the Sunburst Monument. All but one of five samples from the oak posts produced statistically indistinguishable radiocarbon dates, indicating that the different rings were contemporaneous, with construction dating to 2570–2470BC – the time of the recutting of the ring ditch at the Sunburst Monument.

At the northern pit alignment, we again surveyed the area using geophysics both before and after stripping the topsoil. The results reflected those from excavation, revealing six large, sub-rectangular pits on an east-west alignment; these were 2.3m–2.8m across and 0.8m in depth, with just 20cm between them in their truncated state. It is possible that they originally overlapped or joined at the surface, although there was no indication of the positioning of spoil. There was no evidence to suggest that they ever held upright structures; nor were there any organic remains for radiocarbon dating.”

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