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

The Sweet Track

Ancient Trackway


Details of trackways on Pastscape

(ST 42184020 - 42904178). The 'Sweet Track', between the Shapwick Burtle and Westhay 'island', was discovered in 1970 by Mr Ray Sweet, and was excavated in three stretches, 'B' (Burtle), 'F' (Factory), and 'R' (Railway), between 1970 and 1977 (see Plan). Closely associated with it was a slightly earlier track, the 'Post Track', which was roughly on the same line and was probably largely dismantled when the Sweet Track was built. The construction of the Sweet Track was relatively refined and
consisted in stretches F and R of a pegged plank catwalk laid over peat packing round a continuous rail of cross-pegged tree stems (see Diagram). In stretch B however, as drier land was approached, the track was cruder, with various improvisations - timber matting, clay surfacing etc. (1) A number of radiocarbon and pollen analysis tests give a consistent dating to the track of about 3200 bc, making it the earliest known timber track in Britain. (2) In the F and R stretches a great quantity of well-preserved rough wooden artifacts was found - paddles, a dish, arrow-shafts, parts of bows, yew-pins, etc. There were also flint-flakes, leaf-arrowheads (one shafted), a chipped flint axe in mint condition (typologically late 4th millennium), a jadeite axe (also late 4th millennium, cf 2a), and pieces of at least 9 Neolithic pots. (3) The Sweet Track has now been investigated at four major sites along its route - The factory site, F, and the southern terminal, B (see reference 1 above) the Railway site, R (see reference 2 above) and the Drove Site, D. This report concerns excavations in 1977 at the Drove site, situated between the factory and burtle sites at the S. end of the route. (See Illustration Card for location plan). (4) In 1980 the full length of the Sweet Track was established and information obtained on its state of preservation. (5) Timber trackway scheduled at ST 423403, ST 422404-425409 and ST 426411. (7)
Chance Posted by Chance
10th April 2016ce

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