Wiltshire

Marden Henge dig uncovers 4,500-year-old dwelling

Trench C at Marden Henge July 2010
Image caption The dwelling could date back to 2400 or 2500BC

A dwelling, thought to be 4,500 years old, has been discovered by archaeologists in Wiltshire.

Excavation work at the prehistoric site of Marden Henge, near Devizes, started three weeks ago and experts say the find has "exceeded expectations".

Marden Henge no longer has any standing stones and is said to be one of Britain's least understood ancient sites.

The work is scheduled to last for three more weeks.

Archaeologist Jim Leary, from English Heritage, said: "It's absolutely fabulous. It's exceeded all of our expectations.

"We have some wonderful finds coming up and some very fresh looking flint flakes and some pieces of pottery, but far and away the most exciting find so far is over in trench C.

"It looks as if we have a Neolithic building. We're talking about four and a half thousand years old - so about 2400 or 2500BC.

"Up until a few years ago it would have been unique but a couple of years ago archaeologists were digging at Durrington Walls and they found a number of these buildings.

"I don't think we're looking at a normal house. I think we're looking at something equivalent to a priest's quarters.

"We do seem to have a hearth and it seems that whoever lived there was a very clean person and regularly cleaned out the hearth.

"Just outside the front door we can see this long spread of charcoal and general rubbish material.

"It contains really good fresh flint flakes, pottery, bone pins - things that don't normally survive on archaeological sites. We're getting a really good insight into life in that building."

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