Archaeologists uncovered a large 5500 year old Neolithic ceremonial gathering place at Riding Court Farm, near Datchet, United Kingdom.
The site consists of encircling bank and ditch segments with gap entrances. Archaeologists call this type of feature a causewayed enclosure. It is believed that the Riding Court causewayed enclosure may have been seasonally occupied, a place where communities gathered to undertake ceremonial feasting, exchange of goods, the marking of festivals and social obligations. Imported objects found in other enclosures suggest trade and exchange of exotic objects (stone axes and pottery), while evidence of feasting and human burials are known from other sites.
During the excavations archaeologists have also found remains of several periods of Prehistoric, Roman and later date activity. Traces that indicate people periodically lived, farmed, settled and gathered in the area from the end of the last Ice Age, a period of 12000 years. The researchers state that the enclosure at Datchet lies within the well populated Neolithic landscape of the Middle Thames Valley that includes cursus monuments, timber framed houses and middens. Around 80 similar monuments have been identified across Britain, and others are known on the Continent.
(after Wessex Archaeology)