The area of Wyke Down, part of Cranborne Chase in Dorset, contains three sites Project Time will be focusing on; the Grooved Ware and Beaker pits at Fir Tree Field, the two pit ‘henges’, buildings and associated pits at Wyke Down, and the unique pit circle and shaft complex at Monkton-up-Wimborne.
Left: Wyke Down 1 and 2. (photo courtesy of Martin Green)
Bryn Celli Ddu
Bryn Celli Ddu is a famous passage tomb on the island of Anglesey of the north Wales coast. As such it represents one of the few examples of monuments outside the concentrations on the Orkney Isles off the north coast of Scotland, and the famous examples in Co. Sligo and Co. Meath in Ireland. Passage tombs have common features including famous rock art panels and the solar alignments noted at Newgrange and Maes Howe. The landscape around Bryn Celli Ddu has been the subject of a public archaeology landscape research project led by Dr Ffion Reynolds (Cadw), and Dr Ben Edwards and Dr Seren Griffiths (Manchester Metropolitan University). This research has identified a number of important sites in the surrounding landscape, including a Grooved Ware pit circle, and at least one circular burial mound. This multiphase structure is located close to the passage tomb, and is what you can see under excavation here. It included two cists in the early stages of use, and the later deposition of urned cremation burials in collared urns. As such these sites span the traditional culture historic association from the ‘late neolithic’ Grooved Ware, through to the ‘chalcolithic’ and early bronze age’.
Left: Bryn Ceilli Ddu during excavation (photo courtesy of Adam Stanford/Aerial Cam)
The remains of three sub-circular structures were found at Balgatheran, Co. Louth, Ireland and were excavated by Cóilín Ó Drisceoil. Each structure had an internal four-post settings and an entrance porch that faced the southeast. Grooved Ware, lithics and fragments of stone axe-heads (one of porcellanite and one of dolerite) were found.
The layout of the structures resembles ceremonial timber circles such as Armalughey and Ballynahatty, and the artefact assemblages were also similar. But the Balgatheran structures were much smaller and two had evidence for a central hearth. Were these small ceremonial sites? Or settlement sites? Or a combination of both?
Left: Excavation of circular structures at Balgatheran (photo courtesy of Cóilín Ó Drisceoil)