A new Bronze Age barrow and associated burials, plus a roundhouse!

on Saturday, 18 May 2013. Posted in Archaeology

In 2010 and 2011, some geophysical and trenched evaluation was carried out at a site near the Woodbury Iron Age Settlements Scheduled Ancient Monument. This revealed some undated pits and an extension of the prehistoric field systems that are known to be present in the area, which are thought to relate to the Woodbury settlement. Although the initial results were unpromising, a fragment of human bone in one of the fills from the pits suggested that there might be more to this site than met the eye. Wessex Archaeology undertook the work for this site.

Once the site had been stripped of the topsoil, it became clear that there was more here than had been thought initially. The first and most obvious feature was the remains of a round barrow. The barrow was only now visible as a circular brown ditch cut into the white chalk. This picture shows the barrow, with the later Iron Age ditch running through it. This suggests that, unlike many other contemporary barrows, the mound for this one had been levelled before the Iron Age use of the land had started. In the base of the ditch was a a placed layer of flint pieces and part of an antler time, which may well have been used as a pick when the ditch was dug out.

The barrow was Early Bronze Age in date and other features from this date included a grave containing redeposited human bones, two pits and a possible cremation burial within the barrow. Unfortunately, this latter burial had been badly disturbed at a later date by badger setts. In the Middle Bronze Age, four burials were arranged around the western side of the barrow. Whilst two of these were the usual ‘crouched’ burials, one was rather differently placed.

In the Early Iron Age, there was more activity on the site. This is at roughly the same time that the Little Woodbury settlement to the south was in use. In this period, a ditch that was possibly part of an enclosure was dug, along with lots of pits and a number of fence lines. There was also a cluster of potholes which are likely to represent a roundhouse of the period. In addition, there were nine burials from this period.

Work to write up this interesting site is ongoing, so this is only a taste of the fascinating story that is slowly emerging from this site.

Clare King
Assistant County Archaeologist

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