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The prehistoric chalkland landscape of Stonehenge, Avebury and Dorchester – tearing up the text books and starting again

by Dr Mike Allen. *SOLD OUT* – to be added to the waiting list please email

The comprehension that chalkland landscape of our best known monuments in Wessex (Stonehenge, Avebury, Dorchester and Cranborne Chase) was shown to mirror that of all others in NW Europe. In the 1960s and 70s John Evans proved that postglacial woodland showed these landscape as they did everywhere. Prehistoric communities then hew out clearing in which to settled allow their cattle to graze and build the monuments – monuments for the dead (long barrows C37th BC) and causewayed enclosures (C36 BC). These clearing were gradually expanded to enable grazing of domestic herds, and then agriculture – the later denuded the once thick (50cm-1m thick) soils the first prehistoric communities farmed, to the thin soils we have today and by the later Bronze Age creating the downlands we see today. And that narrative has been enshrined in our textbooks for 50 years and has defined our archaeological thinking and interpretation of monuments such as Avebury, Stonehenge, Maiden Castle, Mount Pleasant etc. But after 30 years of new research we can completely revise this, and open new doors onto the chalkland landscapes – and provide new ideas in interpreting these monumental and non monumental landscape we know (ir though we know) so well. The stage in which prehistoric communities acted their lives can now be redrawn, along with our interpretation of the monuments.

Saturday 8th February – 2.30pm. Pre-booking essential.
Afternoon lectures last approx. one hour and are held in the Museum’s Lecture Hall. Located on the first floor it can be accessed via our lift.

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