Bristol and Avon Archaeological Society

Mount Pleasant, Dorchester and other Mega-henges: new chronologies and ideas

On Wednesday January 12, 2022
Susan Greaney, University of Cardiff

The lecture begins at 7.30 p.m.

Located just to the east of Dorchester in Dorset, the enormous and elaborate henge of Mount Pleasant was excavated in 1970-1 by Geoffrey Wainwright.  Until recently, our understanding of the site has been based on these excavations and the dating available at the time.  Now, a new research project has obtained radiocarbon dates from samples of antler picks, charcoal and human remains held in the Dorset County Museum and has been able to build a brand-new chronology for the monument.  The henge and its various components – a palisaded (fenced) enclosure, a concentric timber monument and the great mound of Conquer Barrow – can all now be placed in the latest Neolithic, a time of great change in southern Britain.  This talk will discuss the results of the research project, explore the current understanding of the Dorchester area in the Neolithic period, and explore the implications for thinking about mega-henges across Britain.