Stukeley 300 Symposium


Stanton Drew Village Hall, Sandy Lane, Stanton Drew, Bristol BS39 4EL

The event was recorded, and ticket holders (both of the live event and the streaming) will have exclusive access to the recording when it is ready. It will remain online for a few weeks afterwards.

10:00-10:30 Introduction, welcome, housekeeping and “A day in Stanton Drew” [30 minutes]
John Richards, Chair, Bath and Counties Archaeological Society, and Secretary, Stukeley 300

Why did William Stukeley visit Stanton Drew and what did he do here?

10:30-11:30 Stanton Drew in its local context. [60 minutes]
Dr Jodie Lewis, School of Archaeological and Forensic Sciences, University
of Bradford.

Stanton Drew is a fascinating and important site, with much to contribute to our
understanding of Neolithic Britain. Yet, contrary to popular belief, it does not exist in local
isolation. In particular, the nearby Mendip Hills (one of the purported sources of stone
used at Stanton Drew) are known to house a range of broadly contemporary sites and
monuments.  In this Dr Lewis will consider the Neolithic archaeology of this region and
present the results from some of her recent excavations, which have uncovered a range of
new monuments.  This work is transforming our understanding of Neolithic activity in the
region, providing an insight into different forms of ceremonial architecture and the links
between people, places and practices in the landscapes local to Stanton Drew.

11:30-11:50 Coffee Break [20 minutes]

11:50-12:30 From gatepost to post circles [45 minutes]
Dr Neil Linford, Senior Geophysicist, Geophysics Team, Historic England.

The first geophysical survey conducted by English Heritage (now Historic England) at
Stanton Drew in 1997 was a case work request in advance of proposals for minor invasive
works at the site. This fluxgate magnetometer survey revealed a pattern of concentric
rings of post-holes within the Great Circle, that was later verified through a more targeted
hand-held caesium magnetometer survey, and subsequent investigation using a range of
techniques. This talk will review all the geophysical survey conducted by Historic England
to date, including the most recent extensive coverage of the site with a high-sensitivity
vehicle towed caesium magnetometer array and high sample density Ground Penetrating
Radar (GPR).

12:30-14:00 Lunch [90 minutes]

14:00-14:45 Connections and Complexes: Stanton Drew in its wider British and Irish context [45 minutes]
Dr Susan Greaney, Lecturer in Archaeology, University of Exeter.
The stone and timber circles and cove at Stanton Drew are unique, although they fit
within a broader repertoire of monuments being constructed across Britain and Ireland in
the late Neolithic period. This talk will deconstruct the various components of the
complex at Stanton Drew, drawing parallels and similarities between each element and
monumental constructions elsewhere, to map the wide connections that Stanton Drew
has with other places. The implications of this for the community that built and used
Stanton Drew will be drawn out: long-distance connections, similar religious and ritual
practices, and a shared way of being in the world.

14:45-15:15 A settlement in stone ? [30 minutes]
Professor Josh Pollard, Archaeology, University of Southampton.
Even though much remains to be known about the chronology and physical character of
the monument complex at Stanton Drew, it is still legitimate to ask how it might have
come into being and taken the form that it did. Analogy with similar and more extensively
excavated Late Neolithic monument complexes, from Orkney to Wessex, offers insight,
not least through the process by which major communal buildings set within settlements
were frequently marked and monumentalised. There is reason to believe the sequence at
Stanton Drew ran from settlement to stone with key features becoming foci for ancestral

15:15-15:30 Tea Break
[15 minutes]

15:30-16:15 On William Stukeley, standing stones and druids [40 minutes]
Dr David Boyd Haycock, Writer, curator and lecturer.
Dr William Stukeley, FRS, FSA (1687-1765) was the leading British antiquary of the early
eighteenth century, famed for his detailed studies of Avebury, Stonehenge and other
stone circles and monuments such as the one at Stanton Drew. Dr David Boyd Haycock
wrote his doctoral thesis on Stukeley, and his ‘intellectual’ biography of the great
antiquary was published in 2002. In this talk he will offer an introduction to Stukeley’s life,
work and ideas, and his theories on standing stones. He will also mention the twentieth-
century artist Paul Nash, another one of his interests, who was also inspired by Stukeley’s

16:15 Closing comments and vote of thanks [15 minutes] John Richards/ Keith Stenner