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FLAGSTONES ENCLOSURE

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Site of a Neolithic enclosure, approximately half of which was excavated 1987-8. The earliest features were a series of pits which pre-dated the enclosure. They contained material of mid 4th millennium BC date, including pottery, flints and animal bone. Some other pits which lay close to the line of the later enclosure, but again preceded it, have been suggested to represent the remnants of a stone setting. The enclosure, circular in shape, comprises a single circuit of unevenly spaced pits and was constructed in the late 4th millennium BC. The chalk walls of some of the pit/ditch segments featured engraved designs, probably cut with flint. An adult cremation and two child inhumations were also placed on the bottom of ditch sections, each beneath a slab of sandstone or sarsen. Finds of pottery, flint and animal bone were few in quantity. The flint appears to be of later Neolithic character. In the Early Bronze Age, a grave was cut in the centre of the enclosed area, comprising a ring ditch and mound associated with a crouched inhumation. The mound seems to have subsequently acted as a focus for much flint-knapping activity. Other features of neolithic or Bronze Age date in the interior comprise mainly pits. There appears to have been no significant activity at the site from the Middle Bronze Age until the Late Iron Age, when a field system was laid out in the area, associated with nearby settlement. The Neolithic enclosure itself is anomalous in a number of respects when compared with causewayed enclosures generally, notably in terms of its shape (an almost perfect circle), the nature of the ditch deposits (a general lack of the sort of placed deposits which characterise many sites), and particularly its later date. Comparisons have been made instead with the first phase of Stonehenge.

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