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Blick Mead

Coordinates: 51°10′39″N 1°47′16″W / 51.1774°N 1.7878°W / 51.1774; -1.7878
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Blick Mead
Map showing the Stonehenge section of the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site
Blick Mead
Blick Mead
Map showing Blick Mead within the Stonehenge section of the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site
Locationnear Amesbury
Coordinates51°10′39″N 1°47′16″W / 51.1774°N 1.7878°W / 51.1774; -1.7878
OS grid referenceSU14934204
TypeMesolithic site
Site notes
Excavation dates2005 onwards
Reference no.373

Blick Mead is a chalkland spring in Wiltshire, England, separated by the River Avon from the northwest edge of the town of Amesbury. It is close to an Iron Age hillfort known as Vespasian's Camp and about a mile east of the Stonehenge ancient monument. Evidence from archaeology excavation at the site since 2005 indicates that there was continuous human habitation from 10,000 BP (8,000 BCE) to 6,000 BP (4,000 BCE).

35,000 worked flints and 2400 animal bones, some cooked, mostly from aurochsen, have been found at the site.[2] There is also the remains of a pit dwelling. A few finds have been used to radiocarbon date the time of settlement.[3] It is thought that the site would have been an attractive place to camp or dwell, with a spring that never freezes over; the issuing water has a constant temperature of around 11 °C (52 °F).

Oxygen isotope analysis of a single canine premolar found at Blick Mead has been interpreted as evidence that people had travelled a long way to get there and that this was associated with its proximity to Stonehenge.[4] However, this is inconclusive as, while the isotope values are not consistent with the dog originating at the site, it represents the only example of a dietary isotope profile for a tooth from the Mesolithic, from any species.[5]

A rare algae called Hildenbrandia lives in the spring and causes stones taken from it to turn bright red on exposure to air in a matter of hours. In Mesolithic times this could have given the place a magical significance. Its closeness to Stonehenge has led to theories that it is the attraction that first brought hunters to the area, with the colour-changing stones giving the place a spiritual significance.[6][7][8][9]


  1. ^ UNESCO World Heritage site No 373
  2. ^ Knapton, Sarah (2 November 2019). "Britain's first city discovered as archaeologists say it was home of people who built Stonehenge". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  3. ^ Jacques, David (2013). "Discoveries at Vespasian's Camp, near Stonehenge, Wiltshire, 2005–2012". University of Buckingham. Archived from the original on 6 March 2014. Retrieved 4 June 2021.
  4. ^ Roberts, Alice (2021). Ancestors. Simon & Schuster UK. p. 235. ISBN 978-1-4711-8804-6.
  5. ^ Rogers, B.; Gron, K. J.; Montgomery, J.; Rowley-Conwy, P.; Nowell, G.; Peterkin, J.; Jacques, D. (1 April 2019). "Isotopic analysis of the Blick Mead dog: A proxy for the dietary reconstruction and mobility of Mesolithic British hunter-gatherers". Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. 24: 712–720. doi:10.1016/j.jasrep.2019.02.022. ISSN 2352-409X. S2CID 133637352.
  6. ^ "Vespasian's Camp: Cradle of Stonehenge". Current Archaeology. 19 April 2013. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  7. ^ "The New Discoveries at Blick Mead: the Key to the Stonehenge Landscape". University of Buckingham. 2013. Retrieved 15 January 2017.
  8. ^ Professor David Jacques FSA (21 September 2016). "'The Cradle of Stonehenge'? Blick Mead - a Mesolithic Site in the Stonehenge Landscape -Lecture Transcript". Gresham College. Retrieved 15 January 2017.
  9. ^ "The Blick Mead excavations have transformed the understanding of the Stonehenge landscape". Stonehenge News and Information. 15 January 2017. Retrieved 15 January 2017.

Further reading