Neolithic pits at Cadbury Castle and an adjacent occupation site at Milsom’s Corner, South Cadbury

Authors: Randall, C. and Tabor, R.

Journal: Somerset archaeology and natural history : the Proceedings of the Somersetshire Archaeological and Natural History Society for ...

Volume: 161

Pages: 1-48

ISSN: 0081-2056

During five seasons of excavations directed by Leslie Alcock from 1966 to 1970 on the multiperiod hillfort at South Cadbury Castle, Somerset, England proven and possible Early Neolithic postholes and pits were identified in several trenches on the plateau, under the southern inner bank and bisected by the Iron Age South West gate passage. A discrete assemblage of Late Neolithic material was discovered under the north bank. The evidence has been treated only cursorily in a popular account of the excavations and in the final reports which focused on the periods following 1000 BC (Alcock 1972, 1995; Barrett et al. 2000). Subsequent excavations from 1995 to 1999 by the South Cadbury Environs Project on a spur outside the western ramparts exposed an Early Neolithic occupation hollow and four contemporary pits. There were notable differences in the pottery, bone and worked stone assemblages between the hilltop and on the spur.

This paper presents fully for the first time the evidence from the two South Cadbury sites. It considers their place in the Early Neolithic with respect to the better known sites of the period in Wessex and the south west peninsula and takes in recent evidence from both research and development-led projects in eastern England and elsewhere. The well-dated palimpsest from Milsoms Corner is an important contribution to our understanding of day-to-day life at a temporary occupation site and to the topical debate concerning deposit formation in Neolithic pits.

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