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current archaeology

November 1970

In this issue . . .

At Mount Pleasant, just outside Dorchester, Geoffrey Wainwright has completed the excavation of the last of the series of three giant henge monuments that he began with Durrington Walls. Not only did he once again prove that it is a henge monument, but near the centre he also found one of the most elaborate timber structures yet discovered, thus bringing to a successful conclusion the most impressive series of excavations ever undertaken by the Ministry of Public Building and Works.

What were these henge monuments and how far do the recent excavations change our ideas on them? We take a quick look at some of the implications of Dr. Wainwright's research and assess the importance of these vast ritual enclosures.

Book Reviews discusses several of the important new books that have appeared recently: Ice Ages, Earthen Longbarrows, Directing Archaeological Excavations, Early Wooden Railways, Medieval London, The Abyssinians, and the reprint of Neolithic Cultures.

A major new project is coming into being along Hadrian's Wall. This is the Vindolanda Project; over the next ten years it is intended to excavate a complete Roman Fort and the village outside it, and lay it all open for inspection. Here, Robin Birley, the Director of the excavations discusses how the project came into being, describes the importance of Vindolanda (often known as Chesterholm), and gives the results of the first year's excavations.

In Round-Up we take a quick look at the major excavations that have been taking place this summer, and some of the exciting discoveries that have been made; many of these we hope to discuss more fully in future issues of Current Archaeology.

In the second full season of excavations Cadcong, or Cadbury Congresbury, proved extremely fruitful. Unlike South Cadbury where the occupation turned out to be essentially Iron Age, at Cadcong the occupation is essentially "Dark Age". Indeed, it is now possible to distinguish three different periods of occupation: Dark Age I (refortification); Dark Age II (decay); and Dark Age III (peace and prosperity). Here Peter Fowler and Philip Rahtz report on the results of the excavation.

Is there a Crisis in Field Archaeology? If so what shall we do about it? Peter Fowler discusses the conference held at Barford earlier this year to consider the continuing destruction of monuments, and puts forward some ideas for action.

Our cover photo shows excavations in progress on the ditch at Mount Pleasant. This is clearly in an unfinished state for the partitions of chalk left between the work of the different gangs are clearly visible. The causeway entrance is in the middle distance. Photo: Peter Sandiford.


by Geoffrey Wainwright 324 HENGES 326 BOOKS


by Robin Birley 335 ROUND-UP: EXCAVATIONS 1970 337 CADCONG

by Peter Fowler and Philip Rahtz 343 CRISIS IN FIELD ARCHAEOLOGY

by Peter Fowler

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