I don't know about anyone else but given the questions that were left
unanswered after EH decided to use this list to publicise Sutton Common, as
well as inconsistencies between press releases and statements given people
on site, I'd suggest any EH statement about Sutton Common need to be taken
with a pinch of salt. There was a previous excavation which did find metal
objects and it has been suggested that the site was "asset stripped" by
detectorists following the publicity surrounding the first dig.
I find it odd that a site with several phases of building with some
published artifacts becomes a ghost town.
One of the main reasons for the extensive nature of the second dig was the
concern that changed management practices on the site had had a serious
impact on the preservation of the archaeology. Odd that the confirmed
degradation should be interpreted as "ghostly behaviour".
From: Rob Burns [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: 12 November 2002 19:51
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Sutton Common
I today read with dismay that yet again professional archaeologists are
lumping anything they cant find a logical answer to as ritual. Edwin van
d'Noort as assumed that because of no habitation signs save a couple of
smashed skulls and a large entrance way lined with timbers that this has to
be a major ritual site.
His theory is unfounded. Ok large timber lined entrance ways could
a religious site. However looking at the other evidence namely teh crushed
skulls would suggest otherwise. We only have to take Lindow Man and Tollund
Man to see that although sacrifices took place they were in fact carried out
with some reverance. These crushed skulls could have been caused by any
number of reasons. Have they considered before running down the 'time team'
route of ritual that these bodies could have been burried there towards the
end of the occupation and sometime after the site died there bodies due to
water erosion were brought to the surface and around this time one of these
great timbers fell crushing the skulls. Fromt he english heritage piece in
this months magazine I doubt it.
Also contrary to his own statement on this list a few months ago it is again
being described as a ghost town and this statement is attributed to van d'
He also seems to have not taken into account the fact that this site is
predominently acidic and therefore the items he refers to in this report
regards to showing habitation would have gone completely. i wonder if they
have any intention of carrying out phosphate testing?
Why is this site which as we all know is of major importance to Britain
mind Europe being given so little consideration?
Finally he states that because the site had rectangular buildings which he
quite correctly says didnt really appear until the romans came it as to have
some ritualistic settings. I would ask why would they build rectangular
buildings for worship yet then live in small roundhouses. As he considered
these rectangular buildings could have been of a later date or does the
archaeology through sealed contexts prove them to have been much earlier.
What are the list members views on these points as it would be nice to guage
a view from someone far more experienced in pre history than myself. It
would also be nice to see next years excavations started with an open mind
and not to go on there with the ' I will find and prove ths to be an early
pagan temple attitude'