The Herefordshire Halls site during excavation. Image credit Manchester University
 
ScienceDaily reports yesterday that –
 
The remains of two large 6000-year-old halls, each buried within a prehistoric burial mound, have been discovered by archaeologists from The University of Manchester and Herefordshire Council — in a UK first.
 
The sensational finds on Dorstone Hill, near Peterchurch in Herefordshire, were thought to be constructed between 4000 and 3600 BC. Some of the burnt wood discovered at the site shows the character of the building’s structure above ground level- in another UK first. The buildings, probably used by entire communities, are of unknown size, but may have been of similar length to the Neolithic long barrows beneath which they were found — 70metres and 30m long. They were, say the team, deliberately burnt down after they were constructed and their remains incorporated into the two burial mounds.
 
The buildings were likely to have been long structures with aisles, framed by upright posts, and with internal partitions. Professor of archaeology from The University of Manchester Julian Thomas and Dr Keith Ray Herefordshire Council’s County Archaeologist, co-directed the excavation Professor Thomas said: “This find is of huge significance to our understanding of prehistoric life- so we’re absolutely delighted. “It makes a link between the house and a tomb more forcefully than any other investigation that has been ever carried out.”
 
Full article here. See also the BBC News feature and video here.