The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Cadbury Castle (South Cadbury)



Details of the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age occupation of site on Pastscape

Neolithic activity at Cadbury was for a long time represented only by casual surface finds, including polished flint and stone axes. During the 1950s, Neolithic pottery was identified among artefacts recovered by Mary Harfield, although the discovery subsequently became somewhat overshadowed by the attention given to the early Medieval sherd also recovered by her. However, Ralegh Radford argued on the basis of these surface finds that there had been 'substantial occupation' in the Neolithic, represented by Windmill Hill-type pottery, leaf-shaped arrowheads etc, and speculated on the possibility of a causewayed enclosure having been located on the hill. In her own account of her finds, Harfield referred to the discovery of worked flints in 'great quantity', and described two 'working floors' on the northward-facing slope of the interior, from which came cores, arrowheads, scrapers, burins, fabricators, saws, knives, plus misc flakes and blades. Her finds were subsequently donated to Taunton Museum. (1-3)
The physical evidence for a Neolithic presence on the hill was uncovered during the 1966-1970 excavations directed by L Alcock. features included a number of pits, distinguished from later features by their red clay fill, in contrast to the darker material conatined in later pits. Artefacts varied in quantity and type from one pit to another. Pit P154, for example, contained sherds from several vessels, 2 flint arrowheads, a quantity of waste flakes, various bones from an ox, an antler fragment, burned hazelnut shells, and part of a human jaw. Pit C187 meanwhile contained part of a human skull only among the red clay fill, while another contained just waste flakes among its fill.
The only other features definitely attributable to the Neolithic were a straight-sided gulley with what appeared to be a right-angled return. Initially thought to be a building, no further continuation of either feature was uncovered. There were no definite signs of an enclosure, although traces of a possible stony bank beneath the pre-rampart soil were noted in one cutting.
As for dating, the antler from Pit P154 produced a C14 determination of 2510+/-120bc, and some of the hazelnut shells from an unknown context produced a determination of 2755+/-115bc, placing this occupation in what Alcock described as 'a mature phase of the early Neolithic'.
Subsequently, the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age are, acording to interim accounts, rather sparsely represented. Apart from a few diagnostic flint types such as ptd arrowheads, the evidence is limited to a single sherd of Grooved Ware found beside an otherwise undated stake hole, and a miniature EBA flanged axe. (4,5 NB see ST 62 NW 1 for fuller biography of the 1966-70 excavations).
Chance Posted by Chance
8th March 2015ce

Comments (0)

You must be logged in to add a comment