Recent archaeological excavations under the direction of David Jacques (photographed above) at Vespasian’s Camp near Stonehenge have produced a treasure trove of awe-inspiring discoveries from the Mesolithic Era. For those of you who are unaware of these developments, you can read a fairly detailed three page summary on this Open University link and as you’ll see, it contains observations whose intriguing nature makes them leap out of the page from start to finish.
From what I’ve seen and heard of these excavations, the discoveries are on a par with those of Gobekli Tepe as far as their implications are concerned, although I accept that I may be in a minority of one on this matter. However, what has been brought to light thus far has been described of “at least national importance” by Barry Bishop of the British Lithics Society, so I would confidently expect that such superlatives will only be added to as time goes by, while I doubt that it will only be the academics and archaeologists who voice their appreciation of these staggering finds.
I’ve written extensively about Vespasian’s Camp over the years, most notably because I believe that the evidence points unambiguously towards this place as having been the lost “City of Apollo” as described by Pytheas of Massilia in the 4th century BC. Elsewhere on this site, you’ll find studies of various aspects of the Mesolithic era in the Stonehenge landscape, such as the fearsome aurochs and the enigmatic pits in what is now the carpark at Stonehenge, but there are other matters pertaining to Vespasian’s Camp here, hidden away among all the many posts and contributions sent in by others.
I think it’s safe to say that the eyes of many very highly-placed individuals are now firmly concentrated on Vespasian’s Camp. The more imaginative among them will already be wondering what else will come to light, while it’s surely a matter of simple fact that beneath the ruins of this mysterious citadel lies concealed an archaeological cornucopia of unimaginable proportions, a bequest from our ancestors that will revolutionise our view of the prehistoric Stonehenge landscape and of the people who visited, lived, loved, worshipped and died there over the course of millennia.
Just one of the many gems in the link given at the top of this post speaks of “…an Iron Age pottery assemblage from badger throws along the western ramparts of the Camp…which suggests the fort might have been an important centre for trade and people movement in the later Iron Age”. All in all, it’s very tempting to post up great tracts dealing with my thoughts on Vespasian’s Camp, but I’ve decided instead to refer anyone with a further interest in this matter to the relevant pages of the Stonehenge Druids site.
As you’ll quickly see for yourselves, Frank Somers of the Stonehenge Druids has taken a great interest in proceedings at Amesbury and at Vespasian’s Camp. I understand that the material he’s posting on his site is very much a work in progress, due to the sheer volume of text, photographs and videos he’s willing to share with the world, so I would suggest that anyone who is interested in these things visit Frank’s site as a matter of course, because I do not plan to publish material about Vespasian’s Camp myself for the foreseeable future.
Of course, you can write to the Stonehenge Druids yourselves on their site, but I’m happy in this case for anyone who has a question or perhaps a request to post a comment here addressing Frank and he will reply as and when he’s able to do so. There is something pleasantly ironic about a member of the much-maligned Druids being a major source of easily accessible, free and up-to-date information on the latest archaeological discoveries in the Stonehenge landscape, so on that happy note, I shall leave you all to enjoy yourselves.
Photographs by kind permission of Andy Rhind-Tutt, Mayor of Historic Amesbury.