A field on the edge of a village near Devizes could house treasures more important than Stonehenge, according to a leading archaeologist.

Dr Jim Leary and his team working on Marden Henge have found pieces of flint tools dropped more than 4,300 years ago on the floor of a house as old as the world famous stone circle.

They have laid bare a giant ditch and bank enclosure buried by farmland so it has almost vanished from view.

Dr Leary said: "We’ve over-fetishised Stonehenge for far too long, because those giant trilithons are just so damn impressive. It could well be that this was really where it was at in the Neolithic age."

He is the director of this summer’s excavation with the Reading University archaeology summer school and will open the Marden Henge and the ancient house on Saturday as apart of the national festival of archaeology.

The house and other parts of the huge site have already produced finds including beautifully worked flint arrowheads and blades, decorated pottery including some pieces with the residue of the last meals cooked in them, shale and copper bracelets and a beautiful little Roman brooch – and the tiny jawbone of a vole.

Analysis of the mass of seeds and charred grains recovered will reveal what the people were growing and eating.

Pig bones, which are probably the remains of at least 13 animals, food for hundreds of people and scorch marks from a charcoal firepit suggest the house was never a permanent residence but connected with great gatherings for feasts.

Dr Leary, joined by archaeology students, professionals and amateurs from all over the world, who will continue working on the site for years to come, is peeling back the layers of a monument that was once one of the biggest and most impressive in Britain.

Ramparts three metres high enclosed a vast space of 15 hectares which is far larger than the Avebury or Stonehenge circles.

Dr Leary believes the purpose must have been status, showing off wealth and power in the ability to mobilise a massive workforce. He said: "Avebury had the huge ditches, Stonehenge upped the ante with the massive trilothons, Marden had this enormous enclosure.

"Avebury in one direction and Stonehenge in the other have been excavated and studied for centuries because the preservation of the monuments on chalk is so much better. Not nearly enough attention has been paid to the archaeology of the fertile valleys because the land is so good the monuments have often been ploughed out above ground – but it is a key part of understanding the story."