Headland Archaeology featured in Current Archaeology magazine

April 27, 2021

In March 2021, Current Archaeology magazine featured archaeological discoveries by Headland, an RSK company, which were made while excavating an area to the north and south of Netherhampton Road near Salisbury.

The highlight of the piece was an infant burial featuring a near-complete Beaker vessel. Beakers were a distinctive form of pottery that emerged in Britain about 4500 years ago. As well as the bell-shaped vessels that gave this culture its name, the Beaker ‘package’ included other innovative artefacts such as stone wrist guards, copper daggers and gold ornaments that may have been worn in the hair, and new cultural practices, notably funerary customs that typically featured crouched burials accompanied by the eponymous pots. Archaeologists have been analysing these vessels and their rise to prominence during the late Chalcolithic and Bronze Age (2500–1700 BC) for decades, trying to deduce how Beaker people and the cultural changes that travelled with them were disseminated, and what exactly people used their beakers for.

Some of the most famous Beaker burials include those of the Amesbury Archer and the Boscombe Bowmen, who were all laid to rest in the Stonehenge landscape and were named after the archery-related paraphernalia, often associated with Beaker burials, that accompanied them.

In 2018–19, Headland carried out a geophysical survey and then a trial evaluation of the Salisbury site, to help inform a planning proposal for residential and commercial development. The geophysics revealed a host of interesting anomalies, so 137 trenches were opened across the site to investigate these results. While excavating the ring ditch around a barrow, archaeologists discovered an oval-shaped grave cut, measuring 1.38 by 0.94 m and 0.78 m deep. Its occupant was much smaller than these dimensions might suggest, though; the burial was that of a young infant, who had been nestled next to an almost-intact Beaker vessel.

Beaker Grave

The skeletal remains were fragile and had only partly survived, so the burial was block-lifted and transported to Headland’s offices to be carefully excavated under laboratory conditions. There, it was estimated that the infant was about nine months old (+/- 3 months) at the time of its death. Owing to its young age, it was not possible to determine the sex, as indicative skeletal characteristics do not appear until after puberty.

Photogrammetric model

The beaker accompanying the child was judged to be too delicate to risk further transportation to a pottery expert, so high-resolution photos and a photogrammetric model were put together and sent to the specialist, who determined that the vessel was most likely to be a low carinated beaker. This was an exciting development, as such pots tend to be from early in the Beaker sequence. It was decorated with comb impressions forming simple but clear geometric patterns: alternating rows of horizontal lines and chevrons.

As the discoveries from this site came from trial trenching, they only present a partial picture of what lies beneath the surface, but they do provide an exciting range of ‘hot spots’ for potential targeted fieldwork and give a fascinating snapshot of a small part of Wiltshire’s past.

If you are interested in reading the full article, it is featured in Current Archaeology edition 373. Back issues of the magazine can be purchased on the magazine’s website here.

👏 Grace Kassimoto is the only acoustic specialist from and working in East Africa.

💚 In our latest #ADayInTheLife, she discusses how she is leading the way for women in a traditionally male-dominated industry and what she enjoys most about her role.

Read her story in our bio!

#Acoustics #Environment #WomenInStem #Engineering #Leadership #Africa
...

📢 We are proud to sponsor the #GreenEnergyAwards 2022, an event organized by Scottish Renewables

🏆 This ceremony aims to recognise the inspirational organisations, people and projects going above and beyond to make a real difference to the health, wealth, and wellbeing of Scotland

We can't wait to see you there!

📅 1st December 2022
📍 Edinburgh

#RenewableEnergy #Renewables #Scotland #Energy #GreenEnergy #Awards
...

📸 #selfiesonsite 🤳

Tom Peart, Principal Surveyor at @centara_ltd, out on-site in Rotherham.

Want to join our team? View our latest opportunities 👉 www.rskgroup.com/careers

#RSKgroup #behindthescenes #meettheteam #RSKfamily #RSKonsite #culture #construction
...

🐟 Concern was recently raised in France with regards to the health of marine ecosystems.

📌Join RSK France's webinar, in collaboration with law firm Franklin and TechWorks Marine, to discuss the sustainable support of renewable energy in the marine environment.

Register now in our bio!

#RenewableEnergy #Environment #Marine #Nature #Compliance #Energy #GreenEnergy
...

📢 November is a month dedicated to men’s health.

🌍 On November 19th, we celebrated #InternationalMensDay, a global holiday that highlights the positive value men bring to the world.

🤝 This year, men around RSK are taking part in #Movember, an initiative that involves growing a moustache during November to raise awareness of men’s health issues.

💚 We want to thank Greg Cole, James May, Jiano Pulickal, Matthew Bayliff, Maxwell Robinson, Sam Oakley, Tom Llewellyn, Tom Semmens and Yusuf Aoulad-Ali for participating in this great initiative!

#Wellbeing #MensHealth #MentalHealth #WorkCulture #Culture
...

😮 “The UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world. Building with Nature can help clients understand how they can utilise best-practice green infrastructure solutions to deliver developments that are better for both people and nature.”

👏 In the November edition of our #employeespotlight, we spoke with Joanne Mayneord, Senior Landscape Architect at @stephensonhalliday, who has recently been certified by Building with Nature as an Approved Assessor.

Read more in our bio!

#Environment #Nature #Sustainability #Landscape #Planning #Environmental
...