One of the biggest issues in British archaeology has been the ethnicity of the Britons. For many years we were blighted by the belief that incoming populations massacre or drive out the populations before them. Cultural change was seen as a sign of ethnic change, a belief that has been compared with thinking that the presence of an IKEA furniture store indicates a Swedish invasion! We were aware that there were incoming populations arriving in Britain in prehistoric times and it was customary to think that any cultural novelty indicates newcomers.
In the past we were beset by classical snobbery, the belief that until the Romans arrived the Britons were primitives just awaiting the civilising power of Rome. Other civilising features were believed to come from the Fertile Crescent running from Egypt to Mesopotamia, a belief that led some scholars to the belief that Stonehenge was produced under the leadership of an incoming elite from the Mediterranean, an idea now comprehensively debunked.Ancient Britons in this view were mere savages running round in skins.
This incoming culture view overlooked the vast trading networks which existed in Stone Age Europe and the cultural contacts and exchange that they brought.Archaeological sites routinely reveal items from far away,a fact that indicates trade and movement of people. Bones reveal that people died in places where they were not born and raised, again indicating a mobile population. Stone Age people were as intelligent as we are, so they could learn new ideas.
What has this to do with Blick Mead? Simple. Archaeology reveals that the site was a place of ritual worship right through from the Mesolithic period, when Britain was first re-inhabited after the Ice Age right through into the Neolithic period and into the Bronze Age, when a copper alloy dagger was ritually deposited in the spring. Even an Anglo-Saxon brooch was found. Continuity of use through thousands of years indicates that there was cultural and probably ethic continuity between the Neolithic Britons and their Mesolithic forebears. There is evidence of cultural influences from other parts of Britain. A stone mesolith, known as a Horsham point, from a hundred or so miles away was found, but it was made of slate, of a kind that is unknown in the Salisbury Plain region, either as bedrock or glacial erratic, but comes from Cumbria over two hundred miles away. So not only is there evidence of cultural continuity between Mesolithic and Neolithic Britain, but of a widespread shared culture throughout the land,a culture that spread through trade into Europe. There were newcomers, who brought farming, but they seem to have integrated peacefully.