Ancient monument discovered in Thorverton

Aerial picture of the dig Copyright AC Archaeology

Posted on: 4 October 2019

Devon County Council recently sponsored a Lottery Heritage Fund archaeology project in Thorverton, just outside of Exeter, where a prehistoric ceremonial monument, probably a henge, dating back around 4,500 years was discovered.

The monument is made up of a central ring of large pits, thought to have contained a series of large timber uprights, and a circular ditch, reaching a circumference of up to 40m, which surrounds the central ring.

These features are characteristic of a henge, which is a ceremonial structure from the Neolithic or Early Bronze Ages.

Artefacts, such as pottery and flint tools, from settlements dating to the Middle Neolithic (c. 5000 years old) and Middle Iron Age (c. 500BC) periods were also found during the dig.

The dig saw around 100 volunteers take part in the excavation and around 80 school children visit to see the site whilst the dig was taking place.

Devon County Council sent members of its archaeology team to help mentor the community volunteers who had signed up to help the project.

Members of the team also supported Saturday’s (28 September) successful open day which saw around 320 people attend. Visitors had the opportunity to tour the site as well as handle some of the artefacts and view archaeological displays. There were also activities for children throughout the day and light refreshments, which were provided by the Thorverton Women’s Institute.

Bill Horner, the County Archaeologist, said: “We are very happy to support projects that help local communities discover more about the area that they live in.”

“Previous archaeological work meant that we were expecting to find prehistoric evidence in Thorverton, however, the results of the dig have been beyond our expectations.

“The team have enjoyed seeing the enthusiasm of local volunteers who, alongside the core team from AC Archaeology, turned out in force despite some challenging weather conditions.”

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