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HER Number:MDV125170
Name:Pebble structure on Aylesbeare Common

Summary

A platform was uncovered in 1996 during some topsoil-scraping work by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, in an area around 200 metres north-west of the summit cairn on the common. Excavated by the East Devon Pebblebeds Project in 2010-11, a pebble platform shaped like a double axe was uncovered. Two more platforms were also investigated; one to the west, another to the east, all thought to date to the middle Bronze Age period.

Location

Grid Reference:SY 054 901
Map Sheet:SY09SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishAylesbeare
DistrictEast Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishAYLESBEARE

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • PLATFORM (Constructed, Middle Bronze Age - 1500 BC to 1001 BC (Between))

Full description

Bluesky International Ltd/Getmapping PLC, 2015-2017, 2015-2017 Aerial Photographs (Aerial Photograph). SDV361462.

The site of the 2010-11 excavations are clearly visible on the aerial photographs.


Tilley, C., 2017, Landscape in the Longue Durée, 219, 225-227, 232-262, Figs 6.20, 6.25 (Monograph). SDV361032.

During 1996 the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds had undertaken topsoil- scraping operations in a different area of the Aylesbeare summit: about 200 metres to the north-west of the summit barrow. A series of damaged pebble structures were uncovered and partly cleaned, and two were almost intact. These were subsequently covered over again with soil and their positions marked with small wooden posts. One of the best-preserved structures was uncovered in March 2010 by Toby Taylor of the RSPB and excavated during September by the project team. The subsequent year two further structures were relocated by the RSPB in the dense heath vegetation of heather and gorse and excavated.
The 2010 and 2011 excavations revealed three spectacular pebble structures very similar to those reported by Carter (Figures 6.19– 6.21). The long axis of all three platforms was north-east by south-west, and they were similar in size to those previously recorded by Carter.
The central platform of the three investigated has the shape of a double axe (SY 05402 90186)
. The long axis of the platform is generally oriented north–south (north-north-west by south-south-east), and measures 3.77 metres; 2.28 metres wide (northern end) and 1.82 metres (southern). Narrowest in the centre, this measures 1.12 metres. Composed of over 1,200 pebbles, it appears to include deliberate patterning – there is an elevated stripe of pebbles in the middle of the narrowest part which may symbolise an axe haft.
The structure was very well preserved: only minor damage to the south-east part, north-east part and on the elevated stripe; this may be vegetation (root) damage and that on the centre could be caused by machine during the stripping works.
A 20- cm- wide section was excavated across the middle of the structure. This revealed that the pebbles had been set with their long axis placed vertically. Only one sample was dateable, providing an AMS date of 750±30BP; cal. AD 1220– 80 (Beta 308027).
There were no traces of a rectangular covering mound or attached low circular platforms. If these did exist they had been removed by the earlier topsoil-scraping operations.
Dating and interpretation of the shape of this platform discussed in detail, referring to possible parallels pf design from Bronze Age artefacts. See source for full details.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV361032Monograph: Tilley, C.. 2017. Landscape in the Longue Durée. Landscape in the Longue Durée. Digital. 219, 225-227, 232-262, Figs 6.20, 6.25.
SDV361462Aerial Photograph: Bluesky International Ltd/Getmapping PLC. 2015-2017. 2015-2017 Aerial Photographs. Bluesky International Ltd/Getmapping PLC. Photograph (Digital). [Mapped feature: #116392 ]

Associated Monuments

MDV10445Related to: Barrow on Aylesbeare Common (Monument)
MDV10551Related to: Barrow, Aylesbeare Common (Monument)
MDV125171Related to: Pebble structure on Aylesbeare Common (Monument)
MDV125169Related to: Pebble structure on Aylesbeare Common (Monument)
MDV10573Related to: Two Tumuli on Aylesbeare Common (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded


Date Last Edited:Feb 14 2019 1:41PM