In the world of British archaeology, there has been a major find near Woodbridge in Suffolk of a large Neolithic henge/ritual complex. Now where I live, henges and causewayed camps are a dime a dozen; you can hardly stick a spade in the ground without hitting prehistoric finds…however, this latest one in Suffolk is a little different to any discovered thus far and may be regarded of international importance. Due to the preservative nature of the local soil, organics have survived (extremely rare for this period), including a trackway into the monument and a series of wooden stakes that are so complete and undamaged, you can still see the cutmarks of the axes that hewed them.
Another amazing find has been the skull of an aurochs, a huge prehistoric cow the size of a bison. Very surly and mean-tempered, these beasts were particularly hunted in the preceding Mesolithic period; one of them could feed an entire tribe. The skull at Woodbridge henge is unique in that it has been modified, with a hole bored into the base; it may have been either carried in procession on a pole or worn as some kind of a headdress (although such a headdress would have been immensely heavy.) Even more fascinating is that the radio carbon dates place its age at 2000 years before the Neolithic monument was built–therefore, the aurochs had indeed lived and died in the earlier Mesolithic period. Was this an ancient trophy, an ancestral, tribal totem borne in procession time out of mind? It is interesting to compare this deposit to the cremated human remains at Stonehenge, many of which were people who had died several hundred years prior to their actual interment, perhaps being ‘founder’ burials of revered ancestors.
A scattering of white pebbles was also found around the monument; this tallies with MANY other Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in Britain and Ireland where white pebbles (sometimes quartz) are found deliberately placed around the monuments or even used in revetments and facades (as at Newgrange.) It is surmised they may have been meant to catch the light of the sun or moon, both of which were highly important to the ancient people of the Isles.
The old idea that these monuments were in isolation to each other and prehistoric folk did not know what was going on over the next hill is a rapidly dying one–another fallacy cast out by science and open-minded study.
Barbed and tanged arrowhead found on site. Aurochs skull with bored hole.