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Vespasian's Camp and Blick Mead



Not possible to visit this site as I was told it is on "very private property."

Today (yesterday now) I made the long bus journey to Amesbury - really worth the effort. The small exhibition in what appears to be an old scout hut grandly called Mellor Hall really captured my imagination. Lots of exhibits of flint arrow heads and auroch bones which have been found at Vespasian's Camp, also at the nearby site of a spring known as Blick Mead. Vespasian's Camp is located 1.5km between Stonehenge and Durrington Walls. It overlooks the Avenue and Bluestonehenge on its western side and the river Avon to the south and east.

Excavations on what was thought to be an Iron Age hillfort reveal the site is much older than previously thought. The finds date back to the Mesolithic period making it 8000 years old; 10,000 pieces of flint and bone have been found. It had previously been dismissed by archaeologists as is in the grounds of Amesbury Abbey which were subject to extensive landscaping in the 18th century. However, David Jacques, Open University students and volunteers undertook small scale field work between 2005-2011.

Blick Mead is a small open basin next to Amesbury Park and immediately south of the southern carriage way of the A303. There is a shallow water course running from it which is currently dry and an artificial drain which would take the water down to the river Avon in wetter conditions. Geologist, Peter Hoare, gave a short, very interesting talk about spring sapping and the effect of water tables rising and falling. He also reported that some dumping of materials had taken place during the building of the A303 which accounted for a layer of clay and flint below the chalk bed rock.
tjj Posted by tjj
9th April 2012ce
Edited 9th April 2012ce

Comments (3)

Good stuff, Tjj! drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
9th April 2012ce
Confusing post which refers to a Mesolithic find spot called Blick Mead, close to a natural spring, north east of Vespasian’s Camp on the northern bank of the river Avon in Amesbury park. Reference to the A303 may indicate area around SU 14914203. This section of the A303 has produced various Neolithic and Mesolithic flint finds prior to the road being upgraded in 1967.

Vespasian’s Camp itself is the hillfort to the east of Amesbury park which was incorporated into Flitcroft's planting scheme following it's acquisition in 1734.
Chance Posted by Chance
9th April 2012ce
Thank you for your comments Chance - it was a great little exhibition (did you go). I basically reported on information jotted down while speaking to one of the archaeologists from Wessex Archaeology plus the talk given by geologist Peter Hoare. The talk was mainly about the spring that sometimes flows at Blick Mead and fluctuations in the water table. The point he was making was that clean water sources are quite rare on the Downs and the existence of a pure water source would be a reason why people settled there. I was given the impression that Vespasian's Camp and Blick Mead were being looked at as part of the same site. If this is incorrect then thanks for the clarification. I did come away enthused and wanting to know more so your input is appreciated.
tjj Posted by tjj
9th April 2012ce
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