MOD Durrington, Durrington

Excavations at the site of the former MOD Headquarters at Durrington have revealed deposits dating to the Late Upper Palaeolithic (Late Glacial) c. 12,000BC and evidence of human activity from the late Neolithic (2550-2200 BC) through to the modern period, with the main focus of activity dating from the Late Iron Age c.100BC to Romano-British period (AD43-410). The site is located within an archaeologically rich landscape just 1km north of the Neolithic Durrington Walls henge and between the Romano-British settlements at Figheldean and at the Packway enclosure to the north and south respectively.

138 Neolithic post hole allignment

Two monumental Neolithic posthole alignments, which appeared to follow the contours of high ground, contained Grooved Ware pottery.  Potentially contemporary with these alignments was a natural swallow hole or sink hole 25m across which had been consolidated with a flint pebble surface which created a metalled platform covered with flint knapping debris and a broken late Neolithic flint axehead or chisel. In the Iron Age, the site comprised a number of paddocks and small fields, formed by shallow gullies and ditches.

133 The site at Durrington

A reorganisation of the landscape in the Late Iron Age period was defined by the digging of an enormous ditch some 7m wide and 4m deep. Evidence of an associated inner bank revealed a defensive structure c.14m wide and nearly 8m high creating a visually imposing and highly effective defensive boundary encompassing the higher ground. Within the enclosure were numerous quarry pits, possibly for the recovery of material for making daub, but unfortunately no evidence of settlement.

134 Natural sinkhole, consolidated to create a monument

The size and nature of the enclosure ditch strongly suggests a substantial enclosure settlement similar to the nine hectare settlement at Figheldean. The excavation is located along the southern edge of the settlement and is likely to comprise only a small percentage of this previously unknown settlement.

136 Late Iron Age enclsoure ditch showing allerød depsoits sealed beneath coombe chalk

The site was abandoned before being re-established in the middle to late Roman-British period (AD120-410) with the recutting of the enclosure ditch. Associated with this were numerous grains storage pits reused as refuse pits and a metalled road way leading into the enclosure.  A second sinkhole was utilised as large rubbish dump and infilled with numerous Roman finds, including a large dump of unused mortar and fragments of painted wall plaster, potentially relating to a high status stone building in the vicinity approached by the roadway. Evidence of the medieval burghage plots, in the form of a ditch running parallel to the High Street were also identified.

137 Excavating a storage pit

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