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Chalk Hill

Neolithic and Bronze Age discoveries at Ramsgate, Kent



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Chalk Hill by Peter Clark
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Excavations at Chalk Hill, Ramsgate in south-eastern Britain were primarily aimed at investigating the remains of a possible early Neolithic causewayed enclosure visible on aerial photographs. However, the monument could not in fact be categorised as a causewayed enclosure, but instead represented a type of early Neolithic ritual monument unique to the British Isles. The earliest significant features recorded on the site dated to the early Neolithic (roughly 3700-3600 cal BC). They took the form of three concentric arcs of intercutting pit clusters forming discrete `segments', the fills of which produced rich assemblages of pottery, flintwork, animal bone and other material. Much of this material appeared to have been deliberately placed in the pits rather than representing casual disposal of refuse. There are indications that material placed in different pits at different times may have derived from the same source, a `midden' or some such which was not located during the excavations. The pit clusters appeared to have resulted from repeated pit-digging in the same location over an extended period of time. The site therefore contributes a more nuanced understanding of the heterogeneity of monumental architecture in the early Neolithic of the British Isles. This report is therefore critical for understanding the early Neolithisation of southern Britain, the relations between Neolithic incomers and indigenous Mesolithic hunter-gatherers, the potential creolisation of different cultural groups and cross-Channel relations in the early 4th Millennium BC. The site probably went out of use in around 3600 cal BC, and subsequent use of the landscape in the Bronze Age and later periods is evocative of the perception of `special places' in the landscape long after they were abandoned. With contributions by Enid Allison, Alex Bayliss, Robin Bendrey, Christopher Bronk Ramsey, Kate Clark, Alex Gibson, Chris Green, Louise Harrison, Frances Healy, Linda Hurcombe, Rob Ixer, Jacqueline McKinley, Barbara McNee, Ruth Pelling, Nicola Powell, Louise Rayner, Paula Reimer, Johannes van der Plicht, Alasdair Whittle and Tania Wilson

Author Biography

Peter Clark was raised in Illinois, where he graduated from New Trier Township High School. He was in the United States Army from 1965 to 1968, including Vietnam service with the 1st Infantry Division. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois and Yale Law School and a member of the Massachusetts Bar. He has been a county prosecutor, counsel to state mental health and social service agencies, a legal aid lawyer, and an Assistant Attorney General in Massachusetts. He currently serves in the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services in the Office of the Inspector General. Grant Shand was a Field Archaeologist with the Canterbury Archaeological Trust between 1985 and 2007. In this role he participated in many archaeological excavations throughout the county of Kent, most notably directing the major excavations at Chalk Hill, Ramsgate between 1997 and 1998. He left the Trust in 2007 when he moved to Canada. Jake Weekes completed his doctorate at the University of Kent in 2005 and was a part-time lecturer there in Roman Archaeology and Classics from 1999-2007. He coordinated the South East Research Framework for the Historic Environment from 2007-8, before becoming Research Officer for the Canterbury Archaeological Trust. Having developed a good working knowledge of the archaeology of south-east England from the Palaeolithic to the present, Jake maintains specific research interests in various aspects of British Prehistory, Roman Britain, Funerary Archaeology and early medieval Canterbury. Author of a number of respected articles and site reports since 2000, he is co-editor of the recent Death as a Process. The Archaeology of the Roman Funeral, and has contributed the chapter on Cemeteries and Funerary Practice for the new Oxford Handbook to Roman Britain.
Release date Australia
March 30th, 2019
Country of Publication
Sidestone Press
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