Monday, May 01, 2017

Diary: Avalon Marshes - the Sweet Track (3,806 BC)

Down to Shapwick Heath today - the last day of Alex's Easter visit. A highlight is the Sweet Track:
"The Sweet Track is an ancient causeway in the Somerset Levels, England. It was built in either 3807 or 3806 BC and was the oldest timber trackway discovered in Northern Europe until the 2009 discovery of a 6,000-year-old trackway in Plumstead, London. It is now known that the Sweet Track was predominantly built over the course of an earlier structure, the Post Track.

"The track extended across the now largely drained marsh between what was then an island at Westhay and a ridge of high ground at Shapwick, a distance close to 2,000 metres (6,600 ft). The track is one of a network that once crossed the Somerset Levels. Various artefacts, including a jadeitite ceremonial axe head, have been found along its length.

"Construction was of crossed wooden poles, driven into the waterlogged soil to support a walkway that consisted mainly of planks of oak, laid end-to-end. The track was used for a period of only around 10 years and was then abandoned, probably due to rising water levels. Following its discovery in 1970, most of the track has been left in its original location, with active conservation measures taken, including a water pumping and distribution system to maintain the wood in its damp condition."
Here are some pictures. They're quite large - click on images to make larger.

Background on the Sweet Track

A replica of a Bronze Age path through the swampy levels

Clare and Alex spotting wildlife

We have been invaded by flies, I guess due to the warmer weather the last couple of days. Regular house flies we address with The Executioner; the millimetre long black things which seem to drift in from the fields are susceptible to damp toilet tissue: they can be dabbed up.

It's wearisome though.

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