|To the casual observer Marden Henge might look like a field full of dandelions, but it actually belongs to the 'superhenges' that include Avebury, Mount Pleasant, Durrington and others. It's one of the largest henge monuments spanning 530m by 360m and was built c2400BC. The land it's on was cleared some time before this (they can tell from the types of snails found at the site). Excavation of the site in the 60s showed that there had been a 10.5m diameter timber structure within the henge - though the post holes were very shallow, which suggests it was open to the sky.
The henge is bordered on one side by the River Avon. It's been suggested that via the river there could have been communication between this site and the one at Durrington. These two henges are both near water - it seems that the superhenges are also associated with causewayed enclosures: Avebury with Windmill Hill, Mount Pleasant with Maiden Castle, and Marden to Rybury and Knap Hill.
The Hatfield Barrow was reputedly a mound like its neighbours at Marlborough and Silbury - Neolithic and with no burial inside. It was much smaller though, only a fifth of the size of Marlborough Mound. In 1768 the Reverend Mayo recorded that the mound was 70yds to 80yds (70ish m) in diameter and 30ft (9m) high. Regrettably it no longer exists.
William Cunnington excavated the sandy mound in October 1807. Eight men worked for him over ten days, sinking a great conical pit into the top. In the core Cunnington found some ash, some charred wood, some sherds of pot, and bones of red deer, pig, and a large bird.
Almost immediately (and hardly surprising to the workmen, surely) the sides started to fall in and the mound slumped into a heap. Great. Within a few years a tidy fellow called Mr Perry shovelled the remainder into the ditch of the henge, and by 1818 there was nothing to see.
(info from Burl's 'Prehistoric Avebury')
Posted by Rhiannon
28th May 2003ce
Edited 28th October 2007ce