Bowerchalke Barrel Urn

The bowl barrow at Bowerchalke was excavated by RCC Clay in about 1925. It contained three cremation burials in large barrel urns. This particular urn was broken whilst being removed from the ground and it is thought to have been originally restored by Clay himself. About 80% of the original vessel survived. It had been put back together using sealing wax as an adhesive.

A total of 7 bicycle spokes were attached to the interior of the vessel, placed across the body to form a network to hold the vessel together. The interior was skimmed with a layer of cement between 2 mm and 5 mm thick.

A large pot with a wavy line decoration around the rim    Bowerchalke Barrel Urn

The profile of the vessel was distorted, with a large bulge on one side. It has been suggested that the reconstruction had been carried out in two halves, building from the base up and the rim down and that the two sections did not meet. The bulge therefore resulted from an attempt to attach the two halves together.

The cement was removed from the vessel using a vibrotool. Due to the way in which the sherds were attached to the cement with the sealing wax, it was possible to dislodge them leaving the core intact. When the cement was removed from the interior of the vessel, a decorative cross was discovered in the base.

This vessel is part of the collection at Wiltshire Heritage Museum, Devizes and has been on display as part of an outreach exhibition.