Timber Circles – Mount Pleasant Digital Model.

From Martin Barber, PAST 49 (© The Prehistoric Society) – full post here.

“The henge enclosure at Mount Pleasant is a well-known landmark of British prehistory, primarily because of the excavations undertaken there by Geoffrey Wainwright in 1970-71. This limited trenching was part of a campaign that also took in Durrington Walls, Marden, and Woodhenge, all in Wiltshire, providing much food for thought for prehistorians ever since.

There had been considerable doubt about the enclosure’s date and function before Wainwright demonstrated a clear Late Neolithic origin.

As well as a lack of previous excavation and the absence of surface finds, centuries of ploughing had left the earthworks in a rather denuded state. It was possible to identify a curving bank with inner ditch on the south side, with a probable entrance to the south-east, but that was pretty much it, apart from a possible ring-ditch identified on some late 1940s RAF aerial photographs.

Wainwright demonstrated that the surviving earthworks were the eroded remnant of an enormous earthen enclosure comprising a massive bank with internal berm and ditch, the total dimensions being 370m east-west by 340m north-south. Geophysical survey suggested 4 entrances in total, located to the west, north, east and south-east.

The geophysical survey also turned up an unexpected bonus – a massive and continuous palisade running within and concentric to the henge ditch. Enclosing an area measuring circa 270m east-west by 245m north-south, the palisade trench would have supported a wall of timbers perhaps 6 metres high, yet only two extremely narrow entrances could be found through this enormous timber barrier.”

From M. Barber, PAST 49 (© The Prehistoric Society) – full post here.

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