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During excavations at Hengistbury Head between 1979 and 1984 certain Late Iron Age features, described as ‘quarry hollows’ and ‘scoops’, were discovered along the shoreline. They are the result of gravel extraction, which, it is argued, was carried out in order to supply ballast for ships plying their trade across the English Channel during the first half of the first century BC. Accordingly, these features represent the first on-shore archaeological evidence for the provision of ballast in antiquity.