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Quarley Down Ancient Environs Project

The Quarley Down Ancient Environs Project (QDAEP) is a landscape survey covering an Estate encompassing Quarley Down, on the Hampshire Wiltshire border. Our aim is to investigate the local environment to build a picture of pre-historic and historic occupation and activity.The projects genesis arose from the excavation of a small unenclosed E-MIA settlement with the aim putting the site and other finds from the Estate in a wider landscape context.

The initial excavation is now completed and at a post-excavation stage preparingthedata for publication. The site revealed an area of occupation set within one of the prehistoric fields which have been comprehensively mapped across the area from air photographs. Hedges n teh fielld lynchets probablycreated anenclosed area, which included two four post structures, an extensively recut pair of postsettings possiibly representing the door of a circular structure and several shallow pits, two containing articulated piglet and sheep and two large quantities of pottery. Two features produced large quantities of burnt stone. One small post-hole sized feature wasfilledwith tightly packed burnt flint and greensand, whilst a larger feature with flint block kerbs and a flint block centrql pedestal was filled with large burnt quantities of burnt flint mounded up over and around the feature. Very little charcoal was associated suggesting the flint was eated elsewhere.

Burnt flint is ubiquitous across all areas of the study area and uderstanding the generation and function of burnt flint during the prehistoric period is a key area of research within the project.

The wider landscape survey is based predominantly on fieldwalking, which takes place during September-November and March-April. Woodand survey takes place over the winter.

The project is under the direction of a professional archaeologist, in her spare time as light relief from commercial archaeology, and is entirely voluntary with from both new and experienced volunteers from the surrounding region.

As an independent project it will offer the opportunity to take part in:

  • field walking
  • woodland survey, archaeology and recording of arborglyphs
  • small scale excavation, now limited to test pits
  • finds processing and analysis of artefacts
  • desk-based historical and archaeological research

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