I was recently looking at the Archaeology Data Service website, and was impressed by the wealth of archaeological literature which is made available by this site. As well as providing access to hundreds of unpublished archaeological reports and excavation archives, the site also hosts a growing number of books, periodicals and reports which have previously been published.
For example, for anyone interested in Palaeolithic archaeology, the site makes available the classic text by Wymer, ‘The Lower Palaeolithic Occupation of Britain‘, available as two volumes in PDF format. It is also possible to download the complete database of sites discussed in the book. This key text provides a comprehensive account of the elusive evidence of the Lower Palaeolithic in Britain. Of relevance to the Avon Valley is section 3.5 in Volume 1, ‘Solent and Avon drainage’, and in particular, section 3.5.5 which describes the Avon Valley. Maps 23, 29 and 30 in Volume 2 show the geographic distribution of the evidence for the Avon Valley.
The map above from the book shows the significant number of Palaeolithic finds from the gravels around Bournemouth and Christchurch.
Another publication directly relevant to the Avon Valley is the recent assessment of sand and gravel areas in Hampshire, entitled ‘Hampshire – assessment of archaeological resource in aggregate areas‘. The report summarises the results of an analysis of thousands of aerial photographs. A significant number of monuments have been recorded, as shown in the following map extract from the report.
The report also discusses some newly discovered sites in the Avon Valley, such as a previously unrecorded Neolithic oval barrow near Fordingbridge, as shown below.
The website also provides access to over one hundred of the CBA Research Report series, including reports on Danebury, Hamwih (Saxon Southampton), and aerial reconnaisance. The site hosts a wealth of unpublished material, including over 12,000 unpublished fieldwork reports. A search for Hampshire returned 61 reports.
Also of interest is a collection of project archives, with detailed reports and access to fieldwork and excavation databases. The Wymer project archive includes the ability to browse digital copies of Wymer’s notebooks, which provide a fascinating glimpse into the work and life of Wymer, who specialised in Palaeolithic and Mesolithic archaeology. A couple of examples are shown below.
In order to begin to compile a useful set of links to books and resources online, I have added a ‘Links to resources’ page, and added a link to this page on the menu bar. This page will be added to in coming months.