Antiquity: The Giants of Wessex: the chronology of the three largest mounds in Wiltshire, UK
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Recent scientific dating programmes on the three largest mounds in Wiltshire in southern Britain allows the chronology of these prehistoric monuments to be better understood. Silbury Hill (Figure 1), at 31m high the largest prehistoric mound in Europe, was the focus of a multi-million pound archaeological and conservation project after a cavity opened up on the summit in 2000 (Leary & Field 2010; Leary et al. in press).

Following this fieldwork, cores were taken to determine the date of the 18m high Marlborough Mound, just 8.3km to the east of Silbury Hill (Figure 2). These cores were inserted centrally from the summit to the base, analysed and dating material was retrieved (Leary et al. forthcoming). The third mound, the Hatfield Barrow located within Marden henge in the Vale of Pewsey, is said to have been as much as 15m high, although it is now demolished. However, recent excavations within the henge enclosure have revealed that a thin remnant of the mound has survived and material suitable for dating was recovered from it (Leary & Field 2012).


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