Most fun I’ve had in a field:
supervising on the Stonehenge Riverside Project when the weather was lovely.
Hardest project to date:
supervising on the Stonehenge Riverside Project in 2008, when the weather was horrendous, and it felt like the end of days!
Favourite archaeological landscape:
Orkney - every ‘bump’ is something and there are a lot of bumps!
Most important discovery:
‘Bluestonehenge’ a.k.a. West Amesbury Henge which is located at the south-eastern end of the Stonehenge Avenue beside the River Avon
Most difficult archaeology encountered:
The Ness of Brodgar… the things on top push down on deposits, while things at the bottom push deposits up. Small individual deposits represent 30 seconds of DIY to fix a hole in the
floor, which have accumulated to form metres of deposits that represent centuries of activity. Absolutely mind-bending.
Best artefacts discovered:
Difficult, as I have spent most of my career managing/watching other people dig things up, the best of which have to be a complete 6.5m long log boat and the most complete Iron Age spear found
in the UK, which were both recovered from the Fiskerton Iron Age causeway in Lincolnshire.
Oldest artefact discovered:
on 11 August 1999, I was working on a particularly uninteresting site in the Witham Valley, Lincolnshire. I decided to go into a field on the opposite side of the road to get a better view of
the solar eclipse, where I unexpectedly found a Mousterian of Acheulean Tradition hand axe (manufactured by a Neanderthal c. 60-40,000 years BP)!
Most important thing I have learnt in archaeology:
Every site is different and brings its own challenges and lessons, so if you assume you know what is going on it is likely that things are going to go wrong quite quickly!
“Digging is an artisan skill.”
Goals for 2021:
To get back out in the field and keep digging. I really want to get a better understanding of the changing nature of prehistoric activity on Tenants Hill, plus there is still a lot of midden to move at the
Ness of Brodgar, and there are even a few bluestone sources to track down in Preseli.
My aspirations for Past Participate:
to provide interesting and engaging archaeological experience and training to people from a range of backgrounds and ages, whilst also producing high quality publications and other research
Selected publications written or co-authored by me
Rylatt, J., Teather, A., Pullen, R., Pinnell, J., Randall, S., Roberts, H. and Chamberlain, A. Forthcoming. Re-examining Stone Circles in Dorset: The results of recent research and non-intrusive surveys at Kingston Russell stone
circle. Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society
Parker Pearson, M., Pollard, J., Richards, C., Welham, K., Kinnaird, T., Shaw, D., Simmons, E., Stanford, A., Bevins, R., Ixer, R. Ruggles, C., Rylatt, J. and Edinborough, K. In Press. The original Stonehenge? A dismantled stone
circle in the Preseli hills of west Wales. Antiquity
Teather, A., Rylatt, J., Roberts, H., Chamberlain, A. and Pullen, R. 2020. The Prehistoric Landscape of Tenants Hill, West Dorset. Past: The Newsletter of the Prehistoric Society
Chan, B. and Rylatt, J. with Pettitt, P. 2020. Lithics from stratified contexts. In M. Parker Pearson, J. Pollard, C. Richards, J. Thomas, Tilley, C. & K. Welham, Stonehenge for the Ancestors: Part 1: Landscape and Monuments.
The Stonehenge Riverside Project Vol. 1
. Leiden, Sidestone Press. Ch 5 – Bluestonehenge at West Amesbury: where the Stonehenge Avenue meets the River Avon: 279-295.
Parker Pearson, M., Pollard, J. Rylatt, J., Thomas, J., and Welham, K. 2020. Bluestonehenge at West Amesbury: where the Stonehenge Avenue meets the River Avon. In M. Parker Pearson, J. Pollard, C. Richards, J. Thomas, Tilley,
C. & K. Welham, Stonehenge for the Ancestors: Part 1: Landscape and Monuments. The Stonehenge Riverside Project Vol. 1
. Leiden, Sidestone Press. Ch 5: 215-300.
Allen, M.J., Chan, B., Cleal, R., French, C., Marshall, P., Pollard, J., Pullen, R., Richards, C., Ruggles, C., Robinson, D., Rylatt, J., Thomas, J., Welham, K. & Parker Pearson, M. 2016. Stonehenge's Avenue and ‘Bluestonehenge’.
Palmer-Brown, C. & Rylatt, J. 2011. How Times Change: Navenby Unearthed
. Saxilby, Pre-Construct Archaeological Services Ltd., Monograph 2.
Rylatt, J. 2009. The Flintwork. C. Allen, Exchange and Ritual at the Riverside: Late Bronze Age Life in the Lower Witham Valley at Washingborough, Lincolnshire
. Saxilby, Pre-Construct Archaeology (Lincoln) Monograph Series,
Parker Pearson, M., Chamberlain, A., Field, N. & Rylatt, J. 2007. Fiskerton: La deposition votive et des eclipses lunaires en Angleterre et Europe. L’âge du Fer dans l’arc Jurassien et ses Marges: Dépôts, Lieux Sacrés et Territorialité
à l’âge du Fer
. Actes du XXIXe colloque international de l’AFEAF Bienne, 5 - 8 Mai 2005: 439-448.
Rylatt, J. & Bevan, B. 2007. Realigning the world: pit alignments and their landscape context. C.C. Haselgrove and T. Moore (eds), The Later Iron Age in Britain and Beyond
, Oxbow Monographs, Oxford.
Field, N., Parker-Pearson, M. & Rylatt, J. 2003. The Fiskerton causeway: research past, present and future. In S. Catney & D. Start (eds.) Time and Tide: The Archaeology of The Witham Valley
. Heckington, The Witham Valley
Archaeological Research Committee: 16-32.
Palmer-Brown, C. & Rylatt, J. 2002. ‘Gifts to the Gods’ at Iron Age Fiskerton. Minerva
, (5): 37-8.
Links to interesting and accessible websites, reports, and videos about projects that I have been involved in
The Ness of Brodgar
A video lecture:
Stonehenge Riverside Project and The Stones of Stonehenge Project
A short summary video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvScpdMhQNk&ab_channel=UCL
And a longer video lecture:
Lincoln Eastern Bypass
Fiskerton Iron Age causeway