Brean Down

BookBrean Down

Brean Down

Excavations 1983-1987

Archaeological Reports


February 15th, 2014

Access Token




Excavations made necessary by coastal erosion have revealed probably the best preserved Bronze Age settlement sequence in Southern Britain. Five metres of deposits contained five prehistoric occupation phases separated by blown sand and eroded soil. The two lowest horizons, containing Beaker pottery, were followed by a layer with biconical urns and an oval stone structure; then came a rich middle Bronze Age layer with two round houses superseded by a late Bronze Age midden type deposit which produced two gold bracelets. At the top was a sub-Roman cemetery. The Bronze Age layers contained an abundance of pottery and other artefacts, including fired clay objects which represent one of the earliest salt extraction sites in Atlantic Europe. Environmental evidence was also prolific and contributions are included on soil thin sections, chemistry, magnetic properties, pollen, diatoms, ostracods, charred plant remains, animal bones, coprolites, and molluscs. The site seems to have been an island in the Bronze Age, with a considerable expanse of infrequently inundated saltmarsh to its south. The causes of the alternating sequence of sand deposition and stabilisation are considered in the context of environmental change generally in the Severn Estuary and the Somerset Levels.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Front Cover1
Half Title2
Title Page3
List of illustrations7
List of tables9
Microfiche contents10
Colour microfiche contents11
Section A - Site investigations15
Chapter 1 - Introduction to the site, research methods, and stratigraphy15
Chapter 2 - Beaker and earlier activity in Units 8a and 733
Chapter 3 - Early/middle Bronze Age, Unit 642
Chapter 4 - Middle Bronze Age structures in Unit 5b51
Chapter 5 - Late Bronze Age occupation, Unit 477
Chapter 6 - The sub-Roman cemetery and Iron Age to medieval stratigraphy87
Chapter 7 - The post-medieval period98
Chapter 8 - The auger survey, soil pits, and intertidal archaeology104
Section B - The Bronze Age cultural evidence121
Chapter 9 - Scientific dating121
Chapter 10 - Bell Beaker Pottery131
Chapter 11 - The Bronze Age pottery135
Chapter 12 - Bronze Age metalwork160
Chapter 13 - The flint and chert artefacts166
Chapter 14 - Other Bronze Age artefacts172
Section C - Environmental and economic evidence190
Chapter 15 - Physical and chemical characteristics of the stratigraphy190
Chapter 16 - Soil history and micromorphology201
Chapter 17 - Magnetic susceptibility211
Chapter 18 - Pollen analysis, diatoms, ostracods, and the foreshore peat217
Chapter 19 - Charred plant macrofossils225
Chapter 20 - The vertebrate remains234
Chapter 21 - Coprolites and faecal concretions256
Chapter 22 - Mollusca and other zoological evidence260
Section D267
Chapter 23 - Conclusions267
Fold-out illustrations293
Fig 6293
Fig 15294
Fig 16295
Fig 73296
Fig 74297
Fig 156298