The Earlier Neolithic - The detailed picture

The Earlier Neolithic in South West

SD = single disposals; MSD = multiple disposals, MVD = multiple varied disposals

The single disposals

[SW SD] Disposal container types and distributions

Only two of the single burials were in structured barrows (2 Obadiah's Barrow and 7 Tregiffian), two were in or by caves (15 Tom Tivey's Hole and 318 Gough's Cave), two were complete burials in graves (1337 Croyde and 1338 Catterwater), and at the settlement site of 13 South Cadbury there were two pits with human skull fragments which had been buried in association with deliberate deposits of pottery, animal bone, hazelnut shells and flint in one case and with red clay in another. The geographical distribution of the members of this very small group is widely scattered but generally south of the Cotswold-Severn area.

[SW SD] Disposal process, single and multiple phasing, ritual activity, tokenism and grave goods

Most of the deposits were inhumations, the cremation at 7 Tregiffian being possibly of the next period (and maybe even multiple). Six sites were single phase rite and one site appeared to have evidence for multiple phase rites. Grave goods were absent in three cases, and clearly present in the other four. At 13 South Cadbury the deposits were partial in P154 (a lower jaw) and the accompanying objects seem to be more than simple disposal, as do the contents of pit C817 on the same site where large skull fragments were buried in red clay, the possible deliberate use of colour. At 1337 Croyde the goods accompanying the adult inhumation resemble domestic refuse.

Further interesting possible ritual aspects of this very small group include the broken pottery outside the chambered barrow entrance at 2 Obadiah's Barrow, the setting of 7 Tregiffian on a Neolithic occupation area, the cupmarked stones on and around the structure at 7 Tregiffian, the cremation burial pit there lined with sand and shell brought from a cove 3-4 miles away, and at the same site the evidence for a furnace cremation. Such orientations as are recorded show S and SE for two monuments and W for the inhumation for which this feature is noted.

Two disposals were identified as female, and were accompanied by: no grave goods (1), and a pottery cup (1). One male was identified, with no grave goods.

[SW SD] General

Just seven sites represent variations in monument, location, orientation, disposal method, rite phasing, ritual activity, grave goods and container type. Where sex was discernible, both appear. Both imported materials and domestic refuse deposits are present in the examples. There appears to be evidence for both single and multiple rite among the inhumations, and deposits are set in locations varying from open ground (15 Tom Tivey's Hole) to a single grave pit, and thence to a barrow with stone chamber. For a small group this seems a wide range.

[SW SD] Radiocarbon dates

The only radiocarbon dates recorded in the Gazetteer are from 13 South Cadbury, at 2755bc and 2510bc [the centre points of the sigma range: for the range see the Gazetteer record].

[SW MSD] The multiple similar disposals

[SW MSD] Container types and distributions

These disposals are broadly similar on the site, but each site may differ in disposal characteristics from the next, so variety is still possible between if not within sites. There are 20 such sites recorded in the Gazetteer for the south west and, except for three, they are located in the Cotswold-Severn-Mendip area. The other three lie scattered as far south as Scilly. Ten are long barrows, 6 cairns (2 round and 4 long cairns), 2 chambered gallery graves, 1 a rock tomb and 1 a settlement.

[SW MSD] Disposal process, tokenism and single and multiple phasing of rites

Fifteen of the sites have inhumation only, two cremation only and three have both methods. Five show ritual activity. Taking cremation first, the stone-walled settlement 5 Carn Brae provided evidence for small quantities of cremated bone in an extra-mural ditch layer, and below this was domestic refuse set on the clean silting. In a small pit outside the ditch were a modest amount of calcined bone and hazelnut shells. If these deposits were token, then similar tokenism with cremated remains is also discernible at 12 Priddy I where a small stone cist within the long barrow contained a few scraps of burnt bone, and more doubtfully at 18 Sudeley I which contained signs of cremation in the passage at the south. Site 1 Bant's Carn appears to have more complete cremation deposits with four piles of burnt bone. It also provides evidence of deliberately broken pottery in the passage, but this could also be evidence for multi-period use: some fragments were of biconical urn. Burnt bone also occurs at 29 Frocester II in a context to be referred to more fully below.

Most buried in this group underwent inhumation. Disposal was in a common location, quite frequently a stone structure below a mound. Individuals were grouped in distinguishable fashion at 8 Torbay I, 17 Holcombe I, 18 Sudeley I, 19 Woodchester I, 27 Swell IV, 44 Gwernvale, 46 Pen-y-Wyrlod I, 47 Little Lodge, 51 Parc le Breos Cwm, 473 Frome I and 1420 Bibury I. At other sites the remains of individuals were intermixed, and sometimes intermingled with earth or debris, as at 12 Priddy I, 16 Buckland Dinham, 20 Hampnett II, 29 Frocester II, 37 Randwick I, and 42 Adlestrop I. A characteristic that these sites share is the wide range of ages of those buried, the mix of sexes, and the occurrence of small groups, often in small chambers, as well as mass disposals in single contexts.

The original disposal was sometimes disturbed for purposes connected with that disposal or subsequent activity on the site. At 8 Torbay I the first deposits were cleared to lay paving, disordered remains were found in one chamber of 18 Sudeley I but with one fully articulated near the entrance (were the others progressively moved to make room for the next?), disordered and fragmented remains were scattered through 20 Hampnett II with no clear reason, but at 29 Frocester II there seems to be a deliberate communal deposit in a single event, of both human and animal remains. These were in such disorder as to appear to have been transferred from elsewhere for subsequent burial at the north end of a boat- shaped, rock-cut tomb under a round cairn. 37 Randwick I contained both a single burial chamber with a confused mass of bones, and outside lay the remains of 13 crouched dolichocephalic skeletons. 42 Adlestrop I also appears to have fragmentary inhumations mixed with earth and stone in a single paved burial chamber, and 46 Pen-y-Wyrlod I had similar deposits in one cist. In some cases the state of the remains suggest that the disposals were moved in from a burial site perhaps in open ground elsewhere, either singly or in a group, whereas in others a new disposal may have resulted in the disturbance of the last deposit in the monument. A slight note of caution needs to be sounded on the disposals with earth and stone mixing, since long interment in earthen and chambered mounds may result in such material moving naturally and gradually into the spaces left around the remains, and need not imply disposal process involving transport of remains from elsewhere.

[SW MSD] Bone handling and placement

There seems to have been some deliberate placing of human disposals also implying multiple phasing of the rite at 47 Little Lodge where remains were jammed between small blocks of stone, and at 17 Holcombe I there was close packing of human remains in groups. At 18 Sudeley I a jaw was placed over the portal stone, and remains of 5 children were mixed in blocking material under the portal. A similar packing deposit at 42 Adlestrop I contained infant and male bone fragments. The other deposits at this last site had been deliberately broken into fragments, and the state of bones at several other sites in the group raises the possibility that similar activity took place at 51 Parc le Breos Cwm, 47 Little Lodge, 46 Pen-y-Wyrlod, 20 Hampnett II, and 18 Sudeley I.

On many other sites, however, and sometimes elsewhere on the same site, it is clear from the state and articulated form of the disposal that individuals or small groups were deposited in relatively undisturbed settings as bodies still in a complete state.

[SW MSD] Ritual activity

Of ritual activity there are several signs in addition to some already noted in bone handling and placement: the placing of a human jaw over the portal at 18 Sudeley I (compare the jaw deposit at 13 South Cadbury), and the deposits of 5 children and the primary burial of a male with domestic refuse under the same portal suggest a formal ritual act, as is a similar blocking content at 42 Adlestrop I. The breaking of pottery on site as a deliberate act is always hard to identify unambiguously. Pottery so left at the entrances to monuments is suggestive, and there are instances at 1 Bant's Carn, and 20 Hampnett II, but elsewhere potsherds appear to be part of domestic refuse, or to have been set down as broken pieces with the disposal, or to have possibly been placed as whole vessels and then been broken by the weight of fill or later disturbance. In the first and second of these three cases, there seems an element of ritual close to that of deliberate breakage on the spot.

The lighting of fires in the monument occurs at 8 Torbay I, 12 Priddy I, 18 Sudeley I, and 42 Adlestrop I. Whether the purpose of such fires was ritual (for example purificatory) is ambiguous: it could be simply for light, for fumigation purposes, and in some circumstances it may be the traces of ground clearance before the monument was founded.

There seem to be domestic refuse or other waste deposits (other than with burials) in the ditch fill at 5 Carn Brae, and in the mound at 17 Holcombe 1 (large numbers of flint chippings).

[SW MSD] Grave goods and other deposits

Associations of grave goods generally are sparse. Broken pottery appears at several sites, and domestic refuse (potsherds, flint, and animal bone) at 18 Sudeley I, 19 Woodchester I, 20 Hampnett II, 27 Swell IV, and 29 Frocester II. At only two sites were there any personal utensils as grave goods, a bone scoop at 18 Sudeley I and at 19 Woodchester I, but flint tools were found at 17 Holcombe I, 18 Sudeley I, 37 Randwick I, and 42 Adlestrop I. Perhaps one should add that other utensils made of wood, wicker, insubstantial pieces of bone or other organic matter may have been deposited but have decayed since, and been lost to the record.

Animal bone deposits suggest food consumed at or around the time of burial, food left as accompaniments to the burial, or food remains as part of domestic refuse deliberately deposited with the burial. Such deposits are recorded at 18 Sudeley I, 19 Woodchester I, 20 Hampnett II, 27 Swell IV, 29 Frocester II, 46 Pen-y-Wyrlod I, and 47 Little Lodge. They tend to be the remains of domesticated food stock such as sheep or goat, pig, and ox, but wild food stock occurs such as red deer and wild boar, and also animals which might be assumed to be working (or even companion) stock such as dog, cat and horse. The presence of examples from the last group may have alternative significance, perhaps more related to the individual being buried. They are likely to have personal associations and less likely to be food, although still possibly placed with the funerary deposit. The reports on some sites refer to animal bone without attempting to identify it, and many may even possibly have omitted to record its presence (as an unremarkable occurrence). Therefore only an intuitive assumption can be made about the relative frequencies of the types from that which has been positively identified. Among the single burial group examples, 13 South Cadbury had a similar animal bone deposit but in an apparently more structured ritual context with other domestic refuse (see above), some support for the case that such deposits had a purpose for the people making them. The majority of identified animal bone deposits are of domesticated food stock.

At a number of sites the excavators were able to identify the sex of a person and whether grave goods were clearly associated. In some cases there was effectively a group association. Animal bone, simple tools and personal utensils are the dominant associated grave goods for both sexes.

There were 22 identified males, 9 with no clearly associated grave goods, the others with goods as follows: 2 round bottomed bowls (1 case, with a child), animal bones, flint flakes and pottery (1, with 5 children), a bone scoop, animal bones, flint, sun-baked pottery (2, with 2 females below), animal bones, bone scoop, pottery (2, with 2 females below), animal bone (1), horse, ox, pig and dog bone (1 with 1 female below), and red deer, ox, sheep, goat and charcoal (5, with 1 female below).

There were 9 identified females, 2 with no clearly associated grave goods, the others with: a bone scoop, animal bones, flint, sun-baked pottery (2 cases, with 2 males above), animal bones, bone scoop, pottery (2, with 2 males above), goat, pig and sheep bones (1), horse, ox, pig and dog bone (1 with 1 male above), and red deer, ox, sheep, goat and charcoal (1, with 5 males above).

There were also 19 adult males and females (not separated in the count) buried with sherds at 51 Parc le Breos Cwm gallery grave.

[SW MSD] Radiocarbon dates

The only sites with radiocarbon dates recorded in the Gazetteer are 5 Carn Brae (range 3049-2611bc) and 44 Gwernvale (range 3100-2440bc).

[SW MVD] The multiple varied disposals

[SW MVD] Container type and distributions

These are sites where there is a variety of disposal at the same location. Of the 20 in this period in the south west area, there are no solely cremation sites, 10 are solely inhumation sites and 10 are mixed. Fourteen of the 20 sites have evidence for ritual activity, a far higher frequency than the single disposal and the multiple similar disposal sites. All 20 sites are in the Cotswold-Severn-Mendip area, which, together with the previous (if slender) evidence for distribution, shows a considerable difference in the locations of single and multiple burials, the latter almost wholly occurring in this northern area. If one could be sure that the evidence were truly representative, this might suggest different disposal practices between peoples in the northern part of the south west area and those south of the Mendips. Within the northern group, the biases within the two multiple disposal groups are also suggestive of further differences of practice within the narrower geographical area, although there is no geographical separation - the types are intermingled.

The multiple varied disposal sites are all chambered long barrows or cairns, except for 26 Swell IV which had a trench chamber. The sites repeat a number of the characteristics of the last group. There is a wide range of ages, both sexes are represented, individual disposals occur as well as disposals in ordered groups, and there is a high occurrence of disarticulated, incomplete and confused disposals. Indeed every site in the group, with the exception of 32 Swell I, contains evidence for at least one of these three characteristics.

[SW MVD] Disposal process, tokenism and single and multiple phasing of rite

Although evidence for disposal by cremation or burning appears on 10 sites, it seems to be a minor element on the sites themselves. At 14 Wellow I one chamber contains burnt bone, at 22 Hazleton II one chamber contains (among 14-16 inhumations) the cremated remains of two further individuals, at 25 Frocester I some of the human bone was burnt, at 28 Withington II similarly, at 33 Coberley 1a there were marks of cremation, at 38 Rodmarton I there was some burnt bone as there was at 45 Pen-y- Wyrlod II and 48 Ty-Isaf, at 50 Tinkinswood there were cremated child cranium fragments*, and at 53 Ffostyl South a cremated child. At least one* of these cremation deposits appears to be token.

As with the multiple similar disposal group, inhumation often in a common group was the usual method. There appears to be evidence for successive single phase rite burials at a number of sites. Sometimes this is clearly discernible by the remains of, presumably, the latest disposals being still articulated while the remainder were becoming an accumulation of mixed up bones, the latter being moved or disturbed for some purpose during subsequent deposition processes. Examples of such practice may have existed at 11 Butcombe I, 21 Upper Slaughter I, 22 Hazleton II, 23 Uley I, 24 Notgrove I, 25 Frocester I, 26 Swell V, 28 Withington II (mortuary house), 32 Swell I, 38 Rodmarton I, 41 Brimpsfield I, 48 Ty-Isaf, 53 Ffostyl South and 1421 Minchinhampton II. On the other hand some sites indicate possible multiple phase rites with previously exposed or buried bodies, or cremated bone being brought in from elsewhere. There were confused heaps of bones and earth, and burnt bones at 14 Wellow I, semi-decayed remains set down at 21 Upper Slaughter I, redeposited earth with human bone and cremated bone at 22 Hazleton II, burnt human bone mixed with unburnt bone at 25 Frocester I, charring of human bone at 38 Rodmarton I, a mixture of human skeletal material and rubble at 41 Brimpsfield I, seven individuals piled up at 43 Pipton, disarticulated and part burnt remains at 45 Pen- y-Wyrlod II, and similar remains at 48 Ty-Isaf.

[SW MVD] Ritual activity

As noted above, there appears to be a greater incidence of ritual activity or ritual settings at these sites than at others in the period. The instances of multiple phase disposal evidence suggest an intrinsically more complicated rite, but there are a number of other possible indicators, some idiosyncratic to a site, some more general. In the former category might be structural evidence such as the porthole entrances at 11 Butcombe I and 38 Rodmarton I (which had two), the choice and positioning of the ammonite cast on the south west jamb of the entrance at 14 Wellow I, unless this is chance (but compare 7 Tregiffian), the central flat slab at 26 Swell V, markings on orthostat 2 at 38 Rodmarton I, stone alignments within 50 Tinkinswood, the use of stone brought from 3 miles away at 23 Uley 1, and the use of red earth to seal deposits at 43 Pipton. It is possible that siting 22 Hazleton II on a pre-cairn occupation level (with hearth, midden, post-holes and cultivated soil) was a ritual act (although such siting was unusual).

Among the more general indicators of ritual activity is the evidence for fire or burning within the site as at 22 Hazleton II (limited), 24 Notgrove I (much), 25 Frocester I (much), 28 Withington II, 32 Swell I, 33 Coberly Ia (marks of cremation), and at 38 Rodmarton I.

Certain apparently special deposits also may suggest ritual activity: the blackish seam with bone on the middle line of the barrow at 21 Upper Slaughter I, the redeposited earth with human bone and domestic refuse at 22 Hazleton II, the infill deposit of domestic refuse at 23 Uley I, human bone and domestic refuse under paving at 24 Notgrove I, and a (?)votive deposit of bones, hazelnuts and a flint flake under a slab at 43 Pipton. At 1421 Minchinhampton II there was an entrance deposit of animal bones, sherds and a human skull (?votive and bone placement).

The apparently deliberate breaking of pottery is recorded at 50 Tinkinswood (one vessel), but the appearance of broken pottery at the entrances or in the entrance blocking on these sites suggests other such occurrences at 24 Notgrove I, 25 Frocester I, 26 Swell V, 41 Brimpsfield I, 53 Ffostyl South, and 1421 Minchinhampton II. Other examples of deliberate breaking of artefacts may occur in the 2 leaf tipped arrowheads without points in 38 Rodmarton I and the part arrowhead at 45 Pen-y-Wyrlod II.

Sometimes ritual activity was focused on the handling or placement of the human bone of the disposals themselves. At four sites the bones had been sorted into ordered heaps: 14 Wellow I, 22 Hazleton II, 26 Swell V and 48 Ty-Isaf. At some there appears to have been deliberate manipulation of bones in other ways. Bone grouping occurred at 22 Hazleton II and 48 Ty-Isaf, bone displacement at 23 Uley I, and bone rearrangement at 26 Swell V and 41 Brimpsfield I. At 1421 Minchinhampton II there was an entrance deposit of animal bones, sherds and a human skull (?votive and bone placement).

[SW MVD] Grave goods and other deposits

Instances of grave goods are more numerous in this group, but not often directly associated with individuals, given the frequent confusion and mixing of disposals on the sites. Grave goods are found without clear individual associations at 21 Upper Slaughter I (shale bead), 22 Hazleton II (beads, flint tools, cup, and a grinder), 24 Notgrove I (beads, arrowhead, bone ring, bored stone), 25 Frocester I (shell bead), 26 Swell V (flints, bone scrapers, bone pin, bowl), 38 Rodmarton I (leaf arrowheads without tips), 41 Brimpsfield (perfect leaf arrowhead), 45 Pen-y-Wyrlod II (flint knife in the entrance), 48 Ty-Isaf (2 leaf arrowheads, flaked and polished axes, and a bone pin in one chamber, a sandstone pendant in another), and at 50 Tinkinswood (pebble tools, and a bone pin). Grave goods with clear associations are found at 21 Upper Slaughter I (dog with female adult, pot with adolescent), Hazleton II (possibly a hammerstone), 25 Frocester I (flint flake, bone tools), 38 Rodmarton I (bone pendants), 41 Brimpsfield I (flint flakes), and at 48 Ty-Isaf (6 bowls). Perhaps one should again add that other utensils made of wood, wicker or insubstantial pieces of bone may have been deposited but have decayed since, and been lost to the record.

Animal bone deposits were common as they were in the last group, and with the exceptions noted below are usually part animals. They appear as unaccompanying deposits at 11 Butcombe I, 24 Notgrove I (including a very young calf in chamber E, and bones scattered in the forecourt), 32 Swell I, and at 38 Rodmarton I (beneath the entrance triliths). They occur as deposits mingled seemingly at random with human remains at 22 Hazleton II, 23 Uley I, 25 Frocester I, 26 Swell V, 38 Rodmarton I, 41 Brimpsfield I, 48 Ty-Isaf (few and scattered), 50 Tinkinswood, and 53 Ffostyl South. They also occur as definite associations with identifiable individual human disposals at 21 Upper Slaughter I (including a dog with a female adult), 23 Uley I (including several wild boar jaws with one disposal), 24 Notgrove I, 25 Frocester I, 26 Swell V, 32 Swell I, and 1421 Minchinhampton II. The types represented, where identified, appear to be the same as those with multiple similar disposals, predominantly domestic food stock animals, but with some domestic working stock and some wild food stock.

At some sites, as appears from the above, the sex of the person could be determined. In summary the grave goods association with the sexes were as follows.

There were 34 identified males, 14 with no clearly associated grave goods, the 20 others with goods as follows: bones of sheep and pig (1, with 1 female below), animal bone (1), ox, pig and red deer bones (1, with old female below and infant), ox patella (1, with old female below), and animal bones and pottery (16 in one deposit with the 21 females below).

There were 39 identified females, 7 with no clearly associated grave goods, the 32 others with: a shale bead (with 3 females in one burial), a dog, bones of sheep and pig (1, with 1 male above), animal bone (1), charcoal and pottery (1), ox, pig and red deer bones (1 old female, with 1 male above and infant), ox patella (1 old female, with 1 male above), pig, roe deer, goat, rude pottery vessel sherds (2 old females, skulls only), 2 flint flakes (1), and animal bones and pottery (21 in one deposit with the 16 males above).

The almost uniform deposits for both male and female are notable, as is the dearth of direct associations of the more personal items with the sexed burials, although they are in good evidence elsewhere in the group.

[SW MVD] General

As with the multiple similar disposal group, this group covers the disposal of people of all ages and both sexes, in both individual and group burials sometimes small, sometimes in cumulative masses. There is, however, a slightly different feel about this group. There are more personal possessions in evidence although a link with the sex can seldom be made, and more apparent continuity of process. There is a slightly more individual group feel from the use of multiple chambered structures (and yet with those individual groups still being subject to a wider community custom which dictated the rite). There is more evidence for subsistence methods in the artefacts deposited, a more overt style of ritual in monument and action, and perhaps more form and process in the last. While the first two groups provide outlines, this group begins to provide possible colours and texture.

[SW MVD] Radiocarbon dates

The Gazetteer records radiocarbon dates for: 22 Hazleton II (range 3250-2500bc).

[SW] Sites without disposals

Four sites have been included in the Gazetteer with features possibly related to the research, and three are mentioned here. 30 Crickley Hill is a Neolithic enclosure whose ditches showed evidence of fires and contained artefacts and bones, but not domestic refuse of the same kind as elsewhere. The site appears to have had some ritual importance, to judge from deliberate animal bone deposits under slabs at the outer ditch terminals, and particularly from the possible shrine at the site centre approached by a well-trodden pathway. There were two clay troughs containing bone, antler, flint, and Windmill Hill pottery, and capped by a stone layer. There was also a hearth. In the enclosure was a rectangular building. 9 Hembury is a causewayed enclosure whose north ditches held much abraded pottery, and showed evidence of burning. There were also a number of scooped hollows thought to have been connected with burial ritual. At 40 The Peak Camp, a causewayed enclosure, the ditches were filled with pottery, flint and animal bones.

These non-burial sites indicate that there were processes involving fire, special deposits of animal bone, special deposits of domestic refuse, movement in procession, and digging of pits or scoops, all of which must have been significant to participants in the activity. Already some of these activities have been seen in evidence at mortuary sites in the south west area. It will be important in due course to see what connections may exist between the mortuary and non-mortuary sites.

The Earlier Neolithic in the South

[S SD] The single disposals

[S SD] Container types and distributions

These 14 sites comprise 6 round barrows, 3 long barrows, 2 causewayed enclosures, 2 isolated pits, and a henge. Eleven sites fall within the Hambledon Hill-Windmill Hill oval and three lie further to the east. Six have evidence for ritual activity.

[S SD] Disposal process, tokenism and single and multiple phasing of rite

Only two sites have a cremation, and the other 12 have inhumation, this bias following the south west single disposal examples. The inhumation disposals are mostly of complete bodies formally set in structures except those at the causewayed enclosures of 57 Hambledon Hill-Shroton Spur and 93 Knap Hill which were partial, as was that at 80 Horslip, a long barrow. The two cremations comprise a token deposit in the ditch at 863 Coneybury Henge, and one possibly full deposit in an accompanied context at 95 Mere 13d. There was a doubtful trace of cremation at 93 Knap Hill.

The sites with evidence for a multiple phase rite (previous disarticulation, or partial bone deposits) are at 57 Hambledon Hill-Shroton Spur, 62 Handley Hill Entrenchment, 66 Winterborne Stoke, 80 Horslip, 93 Knap Hill, and 1359 Bevis's Grave.

It was found convenient to present the evidence for the single disposals in this area by reference to monument type.

[S SD] Round barrow single disposals

The round barrow disposals are not uniform but show some overlapping characteristics. Three round barrows cover post-holes which might have been burial markers, or part of an excarnation structure: 54 Crichel Down 13, 750 Tarrant Launceston 4, and 1359 Bevis's Grave. At the first two of these sites the posts were at the foot of the body, and the inhumations were crouched on a pavement of large flint nodules. At 1359 Bevis's Grave the post-pit contained human bone fragments and was possibly related to other features, suggesting a multiple phase rite.

Grave goods accompanied the disposals at 66 Winterborne Stoke (arrow heads), 77 Cop Heap (2 polished flints, antler fragments and an antler macehead), 750 Tarrant Launceston 4 (an arrow head, but possibly the cause of death), and at 95 Mere 13d a bowl accompanied the cremation. At 93 Knap Hill, domestic refuse accompanied the partial deposit and broken pottery was in the grave infill at 62 Handley Hill Entrenchment. Elsewhere there were no grave goods at 9 sites.

[S SD] Long barrow single disposals

At the long barrows (which all appear to be earthen), the most complex disposal was at 88 King's Play Down where the burial was originally set on the old ground surface in a wood and turf mortuary house over which the chalk mound was raised. At 70 Moody's Down SE the body was also laid on the old ground surface, but the most obscure disposal was at 80 Horslip (a very plough-damaged barrow) where only part of a femur was found in one of several contiguous pits.

[S SD] Causewayed enclosure single disposals, and isolated pit burials

At both the causewayed enclosures the deposits were partial: 57 Hambledon Hill-Shroton Spur (articulated forearm), and 93 Knap Hill (jawbone). At 93 Knap Hill the ditch bottoms contained much domestic refuse in groups, and apart from the jawbone there was some slight evidence for a cremation deposit.

The isolated pit burials were very different, that at 1540 Hillside being a simple extended and unaccompanied inhumation. while that at 62 Handley Hill Entrenchment contained a possible marker post-hole, and the inhumation was disarticulated and set beneath 12 bones of small oxen.

[S SD] Ritual activity and other deposits

Ritual activity of other kinds appears at 863 Coneybury Henge where there were butchered animal bones in the north ditch terminal (compare the terminal deposits at 30 Crickley Hill), the orderly deposit of ox bones over the burial at 62 Handley Hill Entrenchment, the possible deliberate breaking of pottery in the grave infill at the same site, the possible deliberate breaking of the cranium at 66 Winterborne Stoke, the pits dug at 80 Horslip, and domestic refuse deposits and traces of fire in the ditch at 93 Knap Hill. It is possible that the inner mound of black soil covering the disposal at 70 Moody's Down SE was also decayed organic domestic refuse.

[S SD] Grave goods clearly associated with a sex

One male was clearly identified (with 4 arrow heads), and two males without grave goods. No females were identified.

[S SD] General

The south area single disposals, besides being proportionally higher than in the south west, are in more structured burial contexts, and are more widely distributed. There is a sense of more formality and order in the group provided by the monumental settings (9 of the 14 sites are barrows), and certainly the individual has been given attention at several sites, although grave goods are scant and simple. As with the south west group of single disposals, there is evidence for a variety of ritual activity connected with both the site and the disposal, and the occurrence of the causewayed enclosures and their contents raise the same issues as do those in the south west, which they resemble. It is also interesting that round barrows appear in the single disposal group, heavily outnumbering the simple pit burial.

[S SD] Radiocarbon dates

The radiocarbon dates for sites come from 57 Hambledon Hill-Shroton Spur (2870-2400bc), 80 Horslip (3240bc), 93 Knap Hill (2760bc) and 863 Coneybury Henge (2420-2250bc).

[S MSD] Multiple similar disposals

[S MSD] Container types and distributions

The 13 sites comprise seven long barrows, a chambered tomb, a round barrow, an oval barrow, a causewayed enclosure, a cursus, and 2 pits. The siting of one long barrow, 58 Child Okeford II, within the cross ditches of the causewayed enclosure of 55 Hambledon Hill may imply a relationship given the disposal evidence at Hambledon. Two sites have cremation only, 10 have inhumation only, one has both, and 6 have clear evidence for ritual activity. The sites are again mostly in the Hambledon Hill- Windmill Hill oval with three outliers slightly to the east and south.

[S MSD] Disposal process, tokenism and single and multiple phasing of rite

Two pit burials at 91 Bishops Cannings 62a (2 of 10 pre-barrow pits) contained cremations. One was set in a small pit at the bottom of a larger pit containing domestic refuse and ashy material, and the other was unaccompanied in a simple pit. At 98 Tilshead I there were several imperfectly burnt skeletons, possibly the remains of a platform cremation. At 1670 Winterbourne Monkton 17a there may be evidence for cremation of adults and children but it was not secure, and at 92 Fussell's Lodge there were burnt bones in Pit B, but it is unclear if they were human.

As with the south west area, the disposal method for the great majority in this group was inhumation, and in a common structure. Partial or token disposals occur, however, at 67 Dorset Cursus (two bones from two persons mixed with domestic refuse), and 82 Rybury (a few teeth and bone scraps with waste flint), both set down in ditches. It is interesting that these deposits, one in a cursus ditch and one in a causewayed enclosure ditch bear similarities. The other inhumations are of complete bodies, or of bodies as complete as the disposal process permitted, and are in the barrows. Three long barrows contained mortuary structures or areas: 69 Holdenhurst (possibly) where it was under a primary oval mound, 79 Heytesbury I where the structure was of sarsen slabs, and 92 Fussell's Lodge where there was probably a long wooden enclosure eventually covered over by the barrow mound.

Where clear evidence exists, it suggests that the multiple phase rite was used. At 79 Heytesbury I some bodies were in an advanced state of decomposition when deposited; at 90 Chute I bones were sorted, bundled and set out in arrangements; at 92 Fussell's Lodge bones were sorted, many skeletons were seemingly disarticulated before interment and were mixed with earth; at 570 Westbury 7 the inhumations were disarticulated; at 1698 Tilshead 5 the two bodies had decayed to some extent before burial; and at 1699 Tilshead 7 the close-packed nature of the bones implied removal from elsewhere to this long barrow.

[S MSD] Ritual activity and other deposits

The evidence for ritual activity takes a variety of forms. There is evidence for the possible use of fire at 98 Tilshead 1 where a platform cremation may have taken place. This is the sole instance.

Domestic refuse deposition is associated with the monument or disposals at 67 Dorset Cursus (ditch), 69 Holdenhurst (ditch terminals), 82 Rybury (but tenuously), 91 Bishops Cannings 62a (pre-barrow pits), 92 Fussell's Lodge (in the barrow and in ditch infill), 98 Tilshead 1 (mixed with burnt skeletal material), 1698 Tilshead 5 and 1699 Tilshead 7 (each with strata of black earth).

At two sites there were deliberate separate animal part deposits: 79 Heytesbury I (7 ox heads and hooves at the east end), and 92 Fussell's Lodge (ox skull, ox bones in ditch infill). At one other site (1698 Tilshead 5) there appears to have been a deliberate association of the bones of two slaughtered oxen with the disposal.

There is evidence (mentioned above) for human bone arrangement at 90 Chute 1 (long bone bundles, circular skull arrangements), and at 92 Fussell's Lodge (sorting of long bones and skulls). Whether trephination may be considered a ritual activity, or even one connected with disposal practice is questionable, but there are two sites where evidence is recorded: 92 Fussell's Lodge (two instances) and 1670 Winterbourne Monkton 17a (a double trephination on one person). There is one other possible piece of evidence for ritual activity but it is also tenuous: at three sites several skulls were recorded as being 'cleft' or showing signs of injury, implying a violent death (79 Heytesbury I, 1698 Tilshead 5 and 1699 Tilshead 7). These may be misinterpretations of the state of the bone examined, or if they are accurate, then they may be evidence for deaths unconnected with a disposal rite, perhaps accidental or from fighting. It is, however, possible that the deaths may be part of a disposal rite, as implied by evidence elsewhere. It is of some note that they occur in a group of sites with evidence for more complex disposal processes, and it is perhaps better, as with trephination, to leave the issue open.

A pit at 69 Holdenhurst contained calcined flints, possibly an example of a special pit deposit. Pits at 91 Bishops Cannings 62a contained burnt antler (1), and sherds and bone fragments (1), others being empty, barring two containing a cremation, and exemplify possible ritual activity.

Two sites have evidence for secondary monument building as part of the funerary process: 69 Holdenhurst (secondary mound), and 92 Fussell's Lodge (barrow mound over a mortuary house).

The chambered tomb 1670 Winterbourne Monkton 17a was built on a previous occupation site, some human remains coming from pre-mound pits. This site is also close to the edge of the Cotswold-Severn-Mendip group, and its contents resemble those of examples there. The chamber area, which was much ruined, seems to have contained collective human burials (but in what state of organisation is not clear), as well as the pre-barrow deposits.

[S MSD] Grave goods

Bones of wild cattle, domestic cattle, red deer and pig were associated with 2 part disposals at 67 Dorset Cursus, a black flint arrow head with a part deposit at 90 Chute 1, domestic refuse with the cremation at 91 Bishops Cannings 62a, head and hooves of seven oxen with 16 adults and children at 79 Heytesbury I, an ox skull and 2 pots with 53-57 individuals at 92 Fussell's Lodge, brecchia of burnt flints, shells and sarsen chips with several imperfectly burnt bodies at 98 Tilshead 1, and bones of two slaughtered Bos longifrons by the 2 inhumations at 1698 Tilshead 5.

The sex of many disposals was not determined. However, 18 males and 19 females were identified with no clear grave good associations (most of these were at 92 Fussell's Lodge), and one female hip bone was identified with a black flint arrow head in association.

Animal bone accompaniments are again very strong in presence.

[S MSD] General

The form of monuments can influence survival of disposal evidence. Chambered tombs such as in the Cotswold-Severn-Mendip area could be receptors of both single and multiple phase disposals since they could be reopened until final closure. The first stage of a multiple phase process might take place away from the monument, and might have had one of several forms (exposure in a sheltered mortuary area as in the south examples, temporary burial in a simple grave like some single disposals, or exposure in the open as perhaps at a causewayed enclosure). The barrows in the south area group under examination here were mostly earthen mounds, and once built could not reopened in the same way. They seem either to have provided the site for both the first and the later phases of disposal rite (like the mortuary house sites involving ritual activities, covered later by mounds), or to have been the receptor for the last phase of disposal process.

[S MSD] Radiocarbon dates

Radiocarbon dating recorded in the Gazetteer comes from 92 Fussell's Lodge (3230bc) and 1670 Winterbourne Monkton 17a (range 3050-2530bc).

[S MVD] Multiple varied disposals

[S MVD] Container types and distributions

There are 15 sites comprising 7 long barrows, 2 long mounds, 1 long chambered cairn, 1 round barrow, and 4 causewayed enclosures. One of the long mounds, 61 Winterborne St Martin 1, was associated with 60 Maiden Castle Causewayed Enclosure. Of the sites none has cremation only (just as in the south west area), 10 have inhumation only, and 5 have both disposal methods present. Thirteen of the sites have evidence for ritual activity, which parallels the high incidence of this characteristic in the south west sites of this type. Most fall within the Hambledon Hill-Windmill Hill oval, with three outliers towards the Cotswolds (which have characteristics in common with members of that group of this type), and one site to the east.

The group presents a wide variety of settings for disposal, and a multiplicity of practice which is a challenge to unravel, given that there may be site inter-relationships of which the 61 Winterborne St Martin/60 Maiden Castle Causewayed Enclosure example may be just one (compare 58 Child Okeford II/55 Hambledon Hill-Main Enclosure in the last group). The approach here moves from sites with simpler depositions and practices to the more complex.

[S MVD] Simple deposition

Site 59, the bowl barrow Handley 26, held two inhumations, one on a flint bed. The mound contained domestic refuse. This resembles simple examples in the other two groups.

[S MVD] Mortuary houses or mortuary areas

The next set comprises sites which appear to be monuments constructed over or incorporating mortuary houses or mortuary areas. These are all long barrows or long mounds: 64 Handley I, 68 Nutbane, 96 Norton Bavant 13, 99 Tilshead 2, and 868 Shepherd's Shore, and appear to be more to the north in a distribution roughly centring on Stonehenge. The disposals were in both articulated and disarticulated states at 64 Handley I, 68 Nutbane, 96 Norton Bavant 13, and 99 Tilshead 2. They were all disarticulated at 868 Shepherd's Shore, where the bones were broken and incomplete, and haphazardly distributed at different levels above and below paving. Both multiple and single phase rites are therefore in evidence. At 96 Norton Bavant 13, 99 Tilshead 2 and 868 Shepherd's Shore the mortuary houses or areas were very simple, but at the other two sites the structures were more elaborate wooden houses or enclosures, and at 68 Nutbane were also of several phases. The number of countable disposals ranged from 4 to 18, and only at 99 Tilshead 2 did cremation occur as well as inhumation. There was much evidence for apparent ritual activity as recorded below.

[S MVD] Cists and chambers

Continuing with the structural theme convenient for the group, the third set comprises four monuments with stone cists or chambers, three of which are close to the Cotswold group of similar structures. The four are 72 Avebury 22, 86 Lanhill, 89 The Giant's Caves, and 94 Nettleton 1. At two of these (sites 72 and 89) there were both cremations and inhumations. The disposals were both articulated and fragmented at 72 Avebury 22 and 86 Lanhill, but it is not clear whether there were articulated remains at the others, although there were certainly some fragmented remains at 89 The Giant's Caves. The evidence at 86 Lanhill suggested successive interments and that at the other sites, although not unequivocal, implies a similar rite (assuming a degree of consequent disturbance), a conclusion drawn partly from the location of the remains and partly from the absence of other indicators such as confused bone masses intermingled with soil. Remains generally appear to be in a more or less orderly distribution among chambers and passages. The set shares some characteristics with the mortuary house set, but the numbers of people buried in each chambered monument range from 26-40, and the practice of successive deposition is more in evidence. It is a point of interest whether mortuary houses were transitional places for bodies which then were finally placed elsewhere, or whether they were ultimately intended to form the core of a more permanent monument as they did at those quoted above. Either could be the case, depending on the local choice and circumstances.

[S MVD] Causewayed enclosures and an associated long mound

The approach in analysing the multiple varied disposal group has been to work out from the simpler sites to the more apparently complex. The complexity is less to do with structure than with the possible explicability of the record. The five remaining sites comprise four causewayed enclosures and a long mound associated with one of them. Such enclosures have to date been hard to explain satisfactorily, and the particular long mound covers an unusual set of disposals. Site 61 Winterborne St Martin 1 was a long earthen mound or bank barrow with an east facade, covering a central pit at the east end with a domestic refuse deposit, two child burials and the mutilated body of a male. This will be discussed further. There were fragmentary female remains in the ditch showing signs of a possible fatal injury. The mound was built after the ditches of Site 60, the causewayed enclosure, had been filled in.

All four causewayed enclosures contained evidence for both single and multiple phase rites. There were complete inhumations laid on the open surface, in pits, under chalk rubble or under cairns, as well as deposits of already disarticulated human bone or of part bodies (like the trunk of a male at 55 Hambledon Hill-Main Enclosure). The partial deposits appeared in a variety of associations, sometimes with domestic refuse, sometimes isolated and almost casually disposed, and sometimes in deliberate placements. These will be discussed under ritual activity below. The ditches were the main focus of depositions at all four sites, but at 55 Hambledon Hill-Main Enclosure within the enclosure itself there were pits which had been dug and refilled, some fill containing fragments of human skeletal material. As the bank slid down into the ditch at that site, it carried with it isolated fragments of human bone, implying that the enclosure itself may have contained still more fragmented remains. It has, however, to date been rare to find evidence for disposals within the causewayed enclosure itself.

[S MVD] Disposal process, tokenism and single and multiple phasing of rites

As in the south west, the majority disposal method in the south area was inhumation in a common structure. Cremations occur at 5 sites: 61 Winterborne St Martin 1 (comminuted bone and charcoal with domestic refuse in a pit), 72 Avebury 22 (cremated bone on sarsen paving overlying inhumations in the north east chamber), 89 The Giant's Caves (fragments in chamber A), 99 Tilshead 2 (heap of imperfectly burnt bones and a flint), and at 868 Shepherd's Shore (cremation deposit of at least one adult). Some at least of these appear to be token deposits. Apart from that at Site 99, the cremations were in a small minority on each site, leaving the overall bias very heavily towards inhumation with multiple phase rites implied at several sites, as is evident from the inferences to be drawn from the ritual activity covered next.

[S MVD] Ritual activity and other deposits

There is much and varied evidence for ritual activity and process in this group.

Bone manipulation: at 55 Hambledon Hill-Main Enclosure, 30 skulls without vertebrae or mandibles were placed deliberately at intervals in the ditch bottoms, at 56 Hambledon Hill-Stepleton Spur 4 skulls were set in the ditch (2 had been fleshed heads when deposited) and remains of an infant were crammed into a ditch crevice, at 64 Handley I some skulls and long bones were sorted and organised, at 68 Nutbane the skull of one male faced backwards and the right forearm of another was disarticulated and a patella was inside its skull, at 72 Avebury 22 bones and skulls were laid against the rear walls of the north west and south west chambers, and some skulls and long bones had been removed, at 73 Windmill Hill bones of the pre-enclosure single grave had been deliberately displaced on decay (left arm, lower leg bones and a patella), at 86 Lanhill 7 skulls were set out, some with jaw bones from other crania, and some long bones were sorted side by side, at 89 The Giant's Caves 2 female vertebrae were pushed into interstices of the west wall of the passage and a third was on a ledge beneath a lintel, at 96 Norton Bavant 13 some long bones appeared to be missing, and finally at 868 Shepherd's Shore 4 vertebrae were strung on a rib bone. At a number of sites there were skulls or parts of skulls in ditches, but not unambiguously set down as a cranial deposit as opposed to arriving there casually or as part of a more complete deposit. Evidence for the use of human skeletal material during and after initial deposition is considerable and widespread.

The deliberate damaging of the inhumation disposal itself occurred at 61 Winterborne St Martin 1, where the very dolichocephalic male had his head and limbs hacked off after death, the skull being broken open. Whether this immediate disarticulation of a fresh body can be related to the deliberate disarticulation to which decomposing or decayed bodies were frequently subjected elsewhere, is uncertain at this point. At one level the only difference is one of timing, and it may have happened elsewhere, but if so evidence has escaped the record. The deposits of flesh-bound heads at 56 Hambledon Hill-Stepleton Spur in particular and the occurrence of major articulated remains elsewhere in ditch deposits (sites 55 body trunk, 60 pelvis and long bones, and 61 pelvis and long bones) suggest that dismemberment of the fresh body may possibly have occurred in these instances.

The use of fire occurs at several sites. The most dramatic must have been that at 68 Nutbane where the massive log-walled and colonnaded forecourt was set alight (or caught alight?) before completion of the mound over the last phase of the monument. At 56 Hambledon Hill-Stepleton Spur there was evidence for burning all along the ditch. At 89 The Giant's Caves the floor of the entrance passage of chamber C was burnt (with burnt animal bone), and there were three closely set hearths on the longitudinal axis of the monument. At 99 Tilshead 2 there appears to have been a platform cremation contempory with a primary inhumation.

Deposits of domestic refuse were scattered in the mound of the bowl barrow 59 Handley 26, the ditches of the long mound and the central pit at 61 Winterborne St Martin 1, the secondary mound of 64 Handley I, and in the final filling of 72 Avebury 22. The most notable deposits are in the ditches of three of the four causewayed enclosures. The evidence at 55 Hambledon Hill-Main Enclosure showed that the ditches were dug and kept clean, then received (possibly in organic containers) long, narrow deposits of organic material containing bone, ceramic, flint working debris and at some points quantities of disarticulated human bone. At the same site the enclosure pits contained ashy material, ceramic and flint with human bone fragments. At 60 Maiden Castle Causewayed Enclosure, the primary ditch levels contained flint flakes, hazelnuts and animal bones, and in Trench 1 there was domestic refuse including scored chalk lumps. At 73 Windmill Hill there were again separate dumps of domestic refuse on the primary ditch silts, the inner having more than the middle and outer ditches in the ratio 3:2:1.

Deposits of animal bone in contexts other than domestic refuse occur at 60 Maiden Castle Causewayed Enclosure, where (with flints and a stone axe) they accompanied two disarticulated skeletons in the outer ditch terminal, 61 Winterborne St Martin 1 (bones and horncores in east ditches), 73 Windmill Hill (whole young pig, young goat and dog separately buried in the outer and middle ditches, and animal bone in the top layer of a single grave pre-dating the enclosure), 86 Lanhill (ox, sheep, pig and hare bone presumably associated with the remains), and at 89 The Giant's Caves (with burials in chamber A and chamber C, and in forecourt blocking with some fragmented bone from three individuals). These deposits appear to divide between funerary accompaniments, special separate deposits of whole or part animals, and associations with monument closure activity. The use of pits and ditches in some cases for domestic refuse and animal bone deposits is a feature of interest.

Possible evidence for deliberate breaking of pottery may exist at 64 Handley I, 68 Nutbane, and 72 Avebury 22.

Evidence for ritual expressed in the monument structure appears at 86 Lanhill where there was a chamber with a porthole entrance, and at 89 The Giant's Caves where chamber B contained a narrow entrance comparable with a porthole in its restrictive nature. These sites are neighbours to 38 Rodmarton I in the south west group of the same type, which also had porthole entrances. At 86 Lanhill the north west chamber was roughly paved with slabs and reddish clay (compare 43 Pipton where red earth was used to seal deposits, and the red clay with skull fragments deposit at 13 South Cadbury). The use of colour is another possible facet of ritual processes.

Monument completion or closure activity is in evidence at 68 Nutbane (already described), at 72 Avebury 22 where clean chalk and domestic refuse layers were deposited in one act to close the barrow, and at 89 The Giant's Caves where the forecourt was blocked, the material including human remains (compare similar blocking deposits at adjacent sites in the south west).

[S MVD] Grave goods

Unambiguous associations of grave goods are few. Grave goods themselves are not numerous, and are simple in most cases. The grave goods and sex of unaccompanied and accompanied burials were as follows, where identified. There were 38 unaccompanied males, and 23 unaccompanied females on the 15 sites. There were also 15 accompanied males with these goods: charcoal, leaf arrow head [cause of death?] (1 case), arrow head [cause of death?] (1), jet slider (1), sherds, limpet shells, comminuted bone and charcoal (1), sherds and flint flakes (6 together), flint blade (1), animal bone (3, with 2 females below), and animal bone, 6 flint flakes (1, in forecourt blocking at 89 The Giant's Caves). There were 2 accompanied females with these goods: animal bone (2 cases, with 3 males above).

[S MVD] Evidence for cause of death

There is clear evidence for cause of death on some sites: at 56 Hambledon Hill-Stepleton Spur the male buried with a large body of charcoal in the south ditch terminal at the east gateway had an arrow head in the chest. At 64 Handley I an adult had seemingly died the same way and been placed in the ditch primary fill with a child. At 61 Winterborne St Martin 1 there were fragmentary female remains in the ditch with signs of a cut on the femur at the time of death. The incidence of these modes of death and the places of deposition are suggestive, given the ditch activity at many sites. At 72 Avebury 22 an old male had been killed by an arrow in the throat, and some individuals appeared to an early excavator to have died from head wounds (but see previous comments on this). Similar skull damage was noted at 94 Nettleton 1.

[S MVD] General

As with multiple disposals elsewhere, the full range of ages and both sexes occur. The great majority were subject to inhumation, and the variety of deposition processes and apparent ritual activity is very wide, and in the latter case notable. The importance of several characteristics which appear to be present on different site types will need assessing in due course: bone manipulation, whole and part disposals, domestic refuse and animal bone deposits, and ditch or pit activity are the most prominent of these events.

[S MVD] Radiocarbon dates

Radiocarbon dates recorded in the Gazetteer: 55 Hambledon Hill-Main Enclosure (2890-2160bc), 60 Maiden Castle Causewayed Enclosure (3080-2410bc), 61 Winterborne St Martin 1 (2770-2510bc), 64 Handley I (2790-2710bc), 68 Nutbane (2730bc), and 72 Avebury 22 (2875-2750bc).

[S] Sites without disposals

Thirteen sites without disposals have been included in the Gazetteer which contain features of interest. They comprise 5 long barrows, 1 oval barrow, 1 pond barrow, 1 causewayed enclosure, 2 settlements (ditches and pits), 1 long mortuary enclosure, an isolated pit and an interrupted ring ditch.

Three of the long barrows, 74 Bishops Cannings 76, 75 Beckhampton Road, and 97 Avebury 68 were all built with hurdle bays, and the first two had three ox skulls and animal bone in and under the mound. The other two appear to have covered mortuary house structures, 63 Gussage St Michael II and 85 Woodford 2 but with no traces of deposits remaining. Site 63 also contained domestic refuse deposits, and 2 chalk phalli in the primary ditch silt. The oval barrow 81 Kingston Deverill 1 also may have covered a mortuary structure, and its ditches contained in the north a large deposit of cattle bones, and in the south terminal 37 flints struck from one nodule. Only pottery was in the interrupted ring ditch 71 Winnall Down A. The pond barrow 84 Wilsford (S) 33a had a central shaft used as a well in this period. The settlement ditch at 76 Cherhill contained pottery and animal bone, and the five settlement pits underlying 464 Bishops Cannings 81 contained domestic refuse including a complete but (deliberately?) broken bowl. The large isolated pit at 503 Bishops Cannings 61 contained domestic refuse including bone pins and a stone bead. The long mortuary enclosure at 102 Normanton Down was clean, barring some antler and animal bones.

These sites are of interest since they illustrate further non-funerary examples of domestic refuse and animal bone deposits, special ditch deposits, monuments raised over structured internal features, some of which implied a possible earlier mortuary purpose and others not, a mortuary enclosure apparently abandoned, possible deliberate breaking of pottery on deposition, and pit and shaft digging. The relative cleanness of the mortuary areas is notable.

The radiocarbon dates in the Gazetteer for this group are 63 Gussage St Michael II (3210bc), 71 Winnall Down A (2850-2700bc), 76 Cherhill (2765bc), 84 Wilsford (S) 33a (2690bc), and 464 Bishops Cannings 81 (2630bc).

The Earlier Neolithic in South East

The single disposals

[SE SD] Container types and distributions

These 15 sites comprise 1 round barrow, 1 kidney-shaped barrow over a mortuary house, 9 pits or graves, 2 shafts originally dug for flints, 1 double ring ditch and a possible mortuary enclosure. Only three sites had strong evidence for ritual activity, but traces exist on more. Most single disposal sites fall in the northern area with a few scattered to the south and east


[SE SD] Disposal process, tokenism and single and multiple phasing of rite

One site had a cremation only, the rest only inhumations. The single cremation at Site 133 Shottesbrooke appears to have been a token deposit in a pit with some sherds and flints. The 14 inhumations were mostly of complete bodies except at 115 Upper Deal, 130 Hoveringham Gravel Pit, 869 Dorchester-on-Thames, and 870 Dorchester-on-Thames which were slight and possibly could be token also. The complete inhumation at 124 Whiteleaf Hill was scattered, but the others were articulated. The token disposals and the disposals at 124 Whiteleaf Hill and 869 Dorchester-on-Thames imply a multiple phase rite. The remainder imply a single phase rite.

The disposals are considered by site type initially.

[SE SD] Pit or grave disposals

The pit or grave disposals divide between the token disposals and the complete bodies. The token disposals are similar, in that each is accompanied by domestic refuse (potsherds, flints, bone in some combination), and comprise a molar at 115 Upper Deal, a skull cap and bone fragments at 130 Hoveringham Gravel Pit also accompanied by a fine antler comb, calcined bone including a possible skull fragment at 133 Shottesbrooke, and bone splinters from 2 people at 870 Dorchester-on-Thames. The whole body disposals in pits occur at 126 Barton Hill Farm where there was a post marker at the head and potsherds, at 132 Pangbourne where an older female was accompanied by a bowl and animal bone, at 840 Mount Farm where fine flint knives accompanied a crouched burial, at 1162 Tolmare Farm with no associated grave goods, and 1309 Whyteleaf where a male was accompanied by animal bones and flint tools.

[SE SD] Shaft disposals

The two shaft burials were at 105 Cissbury Flint Mine and 1503 Doone Cafe. The first was of a female thrown or fallen into the shaft with infill, but accompanied by animal bone both wild and domesticated. The second was buried under the shaft fill with a single sherd. Both were deposited in old flint diggings. The second is dated less securely, on flint condition.

[SE SD] Mound and other monument disposals

The larger monuments have a variety of deposits. The site at 124 Whiteleaf Hill was a kidney-shaped mound (virtually a mound curving round a forecourt area like that of some long barrows), which covered a timber-revetted inner mound over a wooden mortuary chamber which itself had been surrounded by a stake setting. The male burial had been brought in from a primary deposition elsewhere, apparently laid in the mortuary chamber, but then later cleared to the outside of the chamber where it was scattered. The primary burial in 128 Five Knolls 5 was of a female accompanied by a flake knife. At 139 Newnham Murren another female was in the central pit of a double ring ditch, accompanied by a sherd and 2 flint flakes. At a possible mortuary enclosure at 869 Dorchester-on-Thames (where there was also domestic refuse in the upper ditch fill), a human jaw part occurred on the old ground surface.

[SE SD] Ritual activity and other deposits

Ritual activity appears to be present in the deposits of domestic refuse or animal bone especially at the shaft burial 105 Cissbury Flint Mine (bones of 4 pigs, ox, goat, fox and roe deer, but perhaps the whole deposit is a ritual act), at 128 Five Knolls 5 (placing of three antler tines in the ditch), 132 Pangbourne (animal bones including red deer and pig), and 1309 Whyteleaf (animal bones of horse, ox, Bos longifrons, deer and sheep). The animal bone is a mixture of domestic and wild food stock where identified, with one example of working stock and one of a wild animal.

Deliberate breakage of pottery occurs at 124 Whiteleaf Hill (55-60 freshly broken but incomplete vessels scattered throughout the mound), and token pottery deposits appear at 115 Upper Deal, 139 Newnham Murren, and at 1503 Doone Cafe.

It is possible, but not certain (since local conditions for bone decay can vary even around parts of a body), that at 139 Newnham Murren an otherwise complete skeleton had been deliberately deprived of both thumbs and the tali - and that bone manipulation was taking place.

The emptying of the mortuary house at 124 Whiteleaf Hill and the emptiness of the mortuary enclosure at 869 Dorchester-on-Thames have parallels at sites in the south area. The failure to clear the site completely of the disposal at the former is a feature of the site which implies that the clearing of the mortuary area itself had some significance, but the scattering of the remains elsewhere within the monument is not unusual on communal disposal sites of this period.

[SE SD] Grave goods

Grave goods are found at a majority of sites. Accompanying domestic refuse deposits have already been described. Tools or other utensils accompanied eight deposits, including one with a fine antler comb, and one with a complete bowl. The deliberate positioning of such goods was in evidence in this group. At 128 Five Knolls 5 a flint knife was under the shoulder, at 139 Newnham Murren a sherd was by the head and 2 flakes by the knees, and at 1503 Doone Cafe a sherd was beneath the body.

The summary information on the identifiable sex of burials and any accompanying goods is as follows. There were 2 identified males and 1 identified female without grave goods. There was 1 identified male with these accompanying goods: animal bones [horse, Bos longifrons, small ox, deer, sheep], few flint tools [chisel, 3 arrow heads, saw]. There were 5 females identified with these accompanying goods: bones of 4 pigs, ox, goat, fox and roe deer (1), sherds and a flint flake (1), flint flake knife (1), bowl, animal bones, antler, deer tooth and ribs, pig molar (1), and sherd flake, 2 flint flakes (1).

The single disposal group includes a noticeable number of identified female deposits (sites 105, 115, 126, 128, 132, and 139), all in formal graves except the flint shaft deposit at 105 Cissbury Flint Mine. The three identified males were in graves ranging from the elaborate barrow at 124 Whiteleaf Hill to a tight rectangular grave at 1162 Tolmare Farm.

[SE SD] General

The south east area in this period on the evidence has a higher occurrence of individual pit or grave disposals (the reverse of the other two areas), and fewer monumental settings. There is less evidence for the use of domestic refuse per se, but on the other hand there is more evidence for ritual activity than at first might be supposed, and there do exist examples of the main rites and monuments similar to those of the other areas. Tokenism (of burial deposit and of associated goods) seems more apparent in this area than elsewhere for this particular disposal type. Although therefore the mixture may not be the same, the components are.

[SE SD] Radiocarbon and other dating comment

Two of the sites (869, 870) are associated with Site 872 Dorchester-on-Thames Cursus. Both pre-date it, and certainly one of the deposits (870) pre-dates the Cursus, the other possibly being contemporary. The functions of cursuses, and whether their associations with disposal practices are similar to those of causewayed enclosures is an issue.

Radiocarbon dates for sites recorded in the Gazetteer are from 105 Cissbury Flint Mine (2780-2700bc), and 870 Dorchester-on-Thames (2850, 2280bc).

[SE MSD] Multiple similar disposals

[SE MSD] Container types and distributions

The 10 sites comprise 1 long barrow, 2 causewayed enclosures, 4 causewayed cemeteries, 1 oval enclosure, and two pits or graves. Five sites have cremation only, 5 have inhumation only and therefore none have both, just as with the single disposal group for this area. Indeed both of these particular groups resemble those for the south area in this respect. Five have evidence for ritual activity. Most are in the northern part of the south east area.

The inhumation disposals are first considered, by site type.

[SE MSD] Long barrow disposals

The long barrow evidence at 121 Badshot Lea supports inhumation. Quarrying meant that the precise nature of the disposals could not be discovered, and the numbers buried could not be estimated. The report does not, however, speak of large quantities of skeletal material, something which would usually be remarked upon if observed.

[SE MSD] Causewayed enclosure disposals

Of the two causewayed enclosures, that at 127 Maiden Bower was large, and was also the subject of quarrying rather than of stratigraphical excavation. Good observation found that the ditch contents resembled that at other such sites, comprising broken human skeletal material in one segment and domestic refuse in pits elsewhere in the chain of five segments exposed. The small enclosure at 104 Bury Hill was originally built in woodland. Six fragments of human skeletal material were in the primary ditch silt in one area.

[SE MSD] Pit or grave disposals

The two pits or graves differed. Site 1441 Wick Hall Drive was large and contained three inhumations, both articulated and disarticulated, lying over a large pit with an antler at the base. Site 1310 Chadlington Downs Farm Quarry was a beehive pit (one of two), which held parts of two skulls accompanied by animal bone in quantity and sherds of plain crude (and presumed) Neolithic pottery. The second pit contained animal bone and sherds of the same type. The date is not secure, and may be Iron Age.

[SE MSD] Disposal process, and single and multiple phasing of rite for the five inhumation sites

The inhumation group of five sites just described mostly contain partial remains, with only one site (1441 Wick Hall Drive) unambiguously holding whole bodies. Even there a multiple phase rite is evident from the disarticulated state of some of the remains.

[SE MSD] Cremation cemeteries

The remaining five sites are all cremation only sites. All cluster at or close to Dorchester-on-Thames, and all are elaborate in form and content to a certain degree. They are also unique in form for this period, no other such site appearing in either the south west or the south areas.

Site 140 New Wintle's Farm was a cremation cemetery enclosed by a double causewayed ditch, with token cremation deposits in pits, each with some sherds, two cremations (of children) within the central area and three between the ditches. Site 141 Dorchester-on-Thames was a large oval ditched enclosure of successive design phases, a 14 pit ring postdating the innermost of two internal refilled ditches. Part cremation deposits were in two pits, and a whole cremation in another. The other pit deposits had various backfills, some containing animal bone and one a shed antler part.

Sites 1042, 1043 & 1044 Dorchester-on-Thames were all causewayed cremation cemeteries with outer banks. They were within c. 150m of one another, and contained respectively 25, 21 and 49 cremation deposits. Site 1042 had a central cremation pit, but the rest were on the inner edge of the ditch (11), in the ditch (10), or just outside (3). Five had burnt flint implements with them, one of these also with a petit tranchet arrow head. Site 1043 had 12 deposits concentrically set around the centre (7 in pits, 5 on the surface), 7 in the ditch filling, and 2 just outside the ditch outer lip. None had grave goods. Site 1044 had 13 deposits in the central area (9 in pits and 4 on the surface), 33 in the SE/SW ditch fill, and three just outside the ditch. Only one had accompanying grave goods, 2 flint tools and 3 unworked burnt flakes.

The last three sites had other similarities. The cremated bone deposits appeared clean and tightly packed for the most part, indicating a similar process for each deposit, and a single phase rite, perhaps with more particular attention being given to the individual remains.

The number of deposits at these three sites is evidence for communal burial at a level certainly rivalling that at some of the long barrow sites (with or without chambers), and manifesting itself through a different disposal mode and on a site whose designs might be supposed to imply different ritual processes.

[SE MSD] Ritual activity and other deposits

Animal bone occurs on all inhumation sites and, where identified, represents domesticated and wild food stock, as well as domestic working or companion stock. On two sites antler was placed at ditch or pit bottoms (104 Bury Hill, and 1441 Wick Hall Drive). On four sites there were clear deposits of domestic refuse either with the disposal (1310 Chadlington Downs Farm Quarry) or in the site ditches (104 Bury Hill, 121 Badshot Lea, and 127 Maiden Bower).

At the cremation sites, evidence for ritual activity appears on Sites 1042, 1043 & 1044, with each ditch segment having pit digging activity. One hole was cut in the floor, although at 1043 two segments had none and one had three, and at 1044 one had two; these varied in size, and were filled with gravel and clay at site 1043, but showed no trace of having been used for posts. All three site ditches had a black greasy middle soil layer, suggesting a seam of domestic refuse. Otherwise ritual activity possibly appears in the general design, structure and grouping of certain monuments, especially those at Dorchester-on- Thames.

[SE MSD] Grave goods

Grave goods unambiguously associated with deposits were scant and simple, as recorded above: seemingly token sherds (140 New Wintle's Farm), flint tools (1042, 1044 Dorchester-on-Thames), and animal bone (1441 Wick Hall Drive). Domestic refuse was found both in association (1042-4 Dorchester-on-Thames, and 1310 Chadlington Downs Farm Quarry), and not (104 Bury Hill, 121 Badshot Lea, and 127 Maiden Bower). The sex of disposals was not identified at any site.

[SE MSD] Radiocarbon dates

Radiocarbon dates recorded in the Gazetteer are from 104 Bury Hill (2730bc, 2620bc), 121 Badshot Lea (range 2910-2690bc), and 141 Dorchester-on-Thames (2370bc).

[SE MVD] Multiple varied disposals

[SE MVD] Container types and distributions

The 15 sites include 5 long barrows, 2 oval barrows, 4 causewayed enclosures, 3 causewayed cemeteries and 1 pit. One site had cremation only, 9 inhumation only and 5 had both methods. This pattern of few cremation only sites repeats that for the south west and south areas for this disposal mode. Twelve of the sites had evidence for ritual activity, again the high proportion paralleling the south west and south groups of this kind. The sites are well spread throughout the south east area, which is a dissimilarity, with the two northern and southern foci (if they are such) having the majority between them.

As with the same group in the south area, this group offers a variety of settings, all bar one being significant structures.

[SE MVD] Simple disposals

The simplest deposit was at 114 Ramsgate iii, where two inhumations were at different levels in a possibly reused storage pit, the lower burial fully articulated and the upper scattered along the pit.

[SE MVD] Mound disposals

There were seven mounded sites. Four of the long barrows were chambered, and one earthen, just as were the two oval barrows. Of these two, 106 North Marden had a mound without disposals, but disarticulated and incomplete human skeletal material of a male and a female was placed in a recut ditch over silt. In another ditch segment possibly human cremated bone was deposited. 867 Abingdon Causewayed Enclosure Oval Barrow had five phases and much evidence for ritual activity, referred to later. Phase 1 was an inhumation of a male and female set in a central grave within a mortuary enclosure, and phases 3-5 included human cranial deposits bracketing antler deposits in successive ditches towards the western corner. The earthen 131 Lambourn Long Barrow also contained partial deposits of human skeletal material, including a skull cap in the southern quarry ditch above the silt.

[SE MVD] Chambered barrows

The chambered barrow sites in this set contained a variety of disposal modes. At 113 Chestnuts there was a scatter of cremated bone in the forecourt, and remains of at least 10 cremations and a trace of inhumation on the paved chamber floor. At 117 Coldrum there appeared to be three locations of disposals within the chamber: two sets of inhumations were on two stone platforms, and lower down there was partial skeletal material in trenches. Some of the platform deposits were certainly disarticulated. At 136 Wayland's Smithy the earlier phase was a small oval barrow covering a possible D-shaped mortuary house on whose paved floor were both articulated and disarticulated inhumations, many in a dense, confused central mass. The state of some remains suggested previous inhumation elsewhere, disinterment and reburial in the barrow. Some may have been exposed on platforms. Site 137 Ascott-under-Wychwood held bones representing 46-47 individuals which were mostly contained by 3 of the 4 small cists, but also were found in stone packing between the cists, outside the cist entrances and in a dump of stone rubble between the southern cist and the barrow's outer drystone wall. The bone seems to have been mostly disarticulated, partly articulated in some cases, and of complete bodies in a small minority. There was a deposit of two cremated persons in one cist.

[SE MVD] Complex multiple phase rites at 137 Ascott-under-Wychwood

The construction of this site, if indeed it was one event as suggested by the excavator, and if taken with the state of the deposits, may suggest that there was a multiple phase rite not just for the bodies but for the monument and area itself. The model might apply to other chambered or cisted tombs, and parallel a process for the less durable wooden mortuary house structures eventually covered by mounds, the only difference being in the material of the primary container. At 137 Ascott-under-Wychwood it may be the case that the bodies were usually exposed or temporarily buried until fleshless and their skeletal structure disintegrating, and then removed to one of the cists or set down close by them. (The cists were 1m square, and therefore could not hold whole bodies in any number.) These cists may initially have been open structures. The remains accumulated in and by the cists until the time when the people decided to create a monument. The barrow was then built as the excavator outlined (see the Gazetteer description). In this process, any remaining undeposited material from the primary burial sites might be collected and incorporated in the mound make-up as in the stone and bone dump in this case, and other ritual activity take place (see below). It is interesting also that the barrow is founded on a site with evidence for Neolithic huts in an area of forest clearance, which might have been one determinant of the original disposal site choice, but such selection is unusual and it may even have been unwitting.

Were some of the more substantial monuments indeed built first as chambers open for receipt of disposals of all forms (on the model of wooden mortuary houses), to be mounded or cairned later? Were the mounds without disposals marking a disposal area, cleared of every trace of bone before being buried? Scrupulous cleansing of both flat areas and ditches is known from instances previously discussed. The whereabouts of the bodies in those cases must be explained, however.

[SE MVD] Single and multiple phasing of rites at the above sites

The two groups just described suggest that for the most part single and multiple phase rites were in use at all sites. Inhumation was the more usual disposal process, and 113 Chestnuts was exceptional in its quantity of cremation deposits. 117 Coldrum provided an unusual amount of evidence for family or kin burial from cranial evidence, which is more solid support for the general theory that these monuments were the burial places for such groups.

[SE MVD] Causewayed enclosures

The third group contains the four causewayed enclosures. These are scattered, two in the south, one to the east and one to the north west. In the south 107 Offham Hill, which had a double ditch and inner banks, there was the inhumation of a male in a small pit in the north terminal of the outer ditch, a half mandible in the west entrance ditch terminal, and other disarticulated human skeletal material in the ditch including a half mandible. At 108 Whitehawk, which had two ditches, there were two female inhumations in Ditch III, one in a grave with a foetus in utero, and one laid on the ditch surface. Skull fragments (some charred) also appeared in every section where a cutting was made. Another inhumation was set between the second and inner ditch on the ground surface. A child was buried in a hole on the southern edge of the causeway of Ditch III, possibly a post-hole for a tall post set at the causeway entrance.

At 122 Yeoveney Lodge Farm there were also two ditches and inner banks. Scattered and partial human remains were found at five points in the inner and outer ditches, the condition suggesting exposure prior to final deposition. In the enclosure interior there was a female inhumation 'rather loosely arranged' in an oval grave, and a token cremation deposit in a recut post-hole. This enclosure, untypically for such sites, was full of features that might have been evidence for occupation. At 129 Abingdon Causewayed Enclosure the site construction was similar, with two ditches and banks, the environmental evidence suggesting a grassland setting. There were two female inhumations, one in the inner ditch, and unstratified skull fragments in the same ditch. Between the two ditches was a male surface inhumation disposal, and fragments of human pelvic bone were found in the outer bank. East of the enclosure and outside of the barrow cemetery were three inhumations. The oval barrow (Site 867 referred to above) faced the eastern end of the inner ditch of the causewayed enclosure, and some comparisons with the juxtaposition of sites 60 Maiden Castle Causewayed Enclosure and 61 Winterborne St Martin 1 might be made.

These four sites exhibit in respect of disposal process the same characteristics as other sites so far encountered of this type, containing both complete and partial inhumations. They also have in common with the first two sets evidence for both single and multiple phased disposals.

[SE MVD] Causewayed cemeteries

The final set comprises the three causewayed cemeteries. Site 125 Barton Hill Farm resembled a henge, and enclosed a wooden mortuary structure. Just within the ditch edge were two pit inhumations of incomplete bodies showing evidence of previous exposure, possibly in the mortuary house. Sites 138 and 142 Dorchester-on-Thames bore some similarities in structure and design to Dorchester sites described in the previous group (Sites 141, 1042, 1043, 1044). Site 138 Dorchester-on-Thames comprised a rectangular ditch enclosing an oval ditch encircling a concentric 13-oval pit ring. A male inhumation was inside the entrance gap of the ring, and 4 of the pits had single cremations. Site 142 Dorchester-on- Thames comprised three concentric causewayed ditches, with 19 cremation deposits in the ditches and two in the flat central area. Bone condition suggested that the bodies had been burnt fleshed.

[SE MVD] Ritual activity and other deposits

Evidence for ritual activity is found at many sites in this group. Human and animal bone settings, and bone manipulation occur as other possible ritual activities. An adult half mandible was placed in the ditch terminal at 107 Offham Hill, the child burial in the post-hole at the entrance of the causeway may have been a foundation burial for the post at 108 Whitehawk, at 117 Coldrum skulls were ordered against the chamber walls and one was supported by blocks of ironstone either side. Groups of whole bone and pottery were found separately in the ditch at 122 Yeoveney Lodge Farm, thigh bones were missing from the early interments at 136 Wayland's Smithy and at the same site pottery and three well made flint arrow heads with broken points were laid in contact with a pelvis, at 137 Ascott-under- Wychwood the atlas vertebrae of an old female did not fit the otherwise complete spine, and two skulls were separated from one deposit by stones from the remainder of the bones and placed at the corners of the deposit. At 867 Abingdon Causewayed Enclosure Oval Barrow human cranial fragments bracketed antler deposits in three successive phases of the ditch in the same western area of the monument. At this same site the two fully articulated phase 1 crouched inhumations of a male and female, both c. 30-35, were set with heads at opposite ends of the grave and legs deliberately laid across one another.

At 142 Dorchester-on-Thames there appeared to be the deposit of animal bones including the articulated leg of an animal the size of a small calf (as a joint?) in a central pit beneath a cremation. The animal bone, where identified, is as before the mixture of domesticated and wild food stock with beaver on one site, but with some freshwater and sea shellfish (as in the south area).

Deliberate breaking of artefacts associated with the disposal occurred at 114 Ramsgate iii (a bowl over the disposal), and 136 Wayland's Smithy (broken flint arrow heads). At 107 Offham Hill freshly broken pottery was part of the material associated with the leaf arrow head burial.

Fire traces occur in the ditch at 108 Whitehawk, in the ditch at 129 Abingdon Causewayed Enclosure, in the ditch (swept from elsewhere on the site) at 131 Lambourn Long Barrow, and in the ditch at 142 Dorchester-on-Thames (burnt material).

At the hengiform cremation cemetery, 125 Barton Hill Farm, the ditch floor had a trampled appearance, and the entrance to the enclosure was set lower than the inner enclosure surface, possibly allowing step access to the ditch as well. At 867 Abingdon Causewayed Enclosure Oval barrow the ditches in various phases had posts inserted (in Phase 2 the post-holes in four cases contained a flint scraper).

There appears to have been a deliberate monument closure process at 113 Chestnuts (forecourt blocking), 136 Wayland's Smithy (forecourt blocking), and at 137 Ascott-under-Wychwood (one construction event to cover the cists).

Decorated chalk blocks and carving on the side of ditches occurs at 106 North Marden, and an incised piece of chalk with the child post-hole burial at 108 Whitehawk.

There was the deliberate artefact burial of a leaf-shaped arrow head with waste flakes, freshly broken pottery and animal bones in a pit in the ditch at 107 Offham Hill.

At 125 Barton Hill Farm there was special pit activity: an irregular depression contained orange clay and 2 sherds, and elsewhere another pit was dug into the inner wall of the ditch and filled also with orange clay. At 138 and 142 Dorchester-on Thames some pits contained no disposals but clearly formed part of the monument design, and in particular the oval shape of pits at Site 138 reflecting the shape of the inner ditch is of note.

Domestic refuse was deposited with the disposals at 106 North Marden (charcoal, sherds from at least 4 bowls with one, burnt flint, sherds and animal bone with the other), 108 Whitehawk (charcoal, sherds and vegetable debris with ditch disposals), 114 Ramsgate ii (oyster shell, charcoal, flint flakes and hardened earth covering the lower inhumation, and sherds and charcoal the lower), 122 Yeoveney Lodge Farm (domestic refuse with a mandible, and the same with two skulls, a fragmentary mandible and a right forearm), 125 Barton Hill Farm (pottery and animal bone not in association with a disposal), 129 Abingdon Causewayed Enclosure (domestic refuse set in recognisable dumps, but not in association with disposals), 131 Lambourn Long Barrow (black earth with human bone), and at 142 Dorchester-on- Thames (large compact masses of black material in the ditches at the edges of which cremations were set).

Materials had been brought in from elsewhere to make the tomb flooring at 113 Chestnuts (greensand slab paving set in yellow sand).

[SE MVD] Grave goods

Grave goods which were domestic refuse or animal bone settings have been covered above.

Goods found in association with unsexed disposals were at 125 Barton Hill Farm (an ox rib and a shale bead with a youth), at 136 Wayland's Smithy (three broken arrow heads with a pelvis), at 138 Dorchester-on-Thames (a bone skewer pin with each of two cremations, perhaps a bag fixing), at 142 Dorchester-on-Thames (cremations: one accompanied by a bone pin, a macehead, a flint fabricator and burnt flint flakes, another by a bone pin, another by a bone pin and fabricator, another by a bone pin, a prismatic flint knife and fragments of a second, another by a bone pin, fabricator fragments, unworked flake and a macehead, another by a stone macehead, a flake, a plano-convex knife, a flint fabricator and a long bone pin). Unassociated grave goods were found at 113 Chestnuts (4-6 pots, 2 fine petit tranchet derivative arrow heads and a clay pendant).

The summary for identifiably sexed burials and grave goods associations is as follows. Twelve males and eight females were identified as unaccompanied by grave goods.

Six identifiable males were accompanied by: deposit of oak, hazel and ash charcoal and sherds from 4 round based bowls (1, with 1 female below), 3 sherds, many land molluscs, 2-3 mussel shells (1), decorated bowl, domestic refuse (1), 3 struck flints (1), arrow head [possible cause of death?] (1), and an unusually small jet slider, broken leaf-shaped arrow head (1).

Five identifiable females were accompanied by: a deposit of oak, hazel and ash charcoal and sherds from 4 round based bowls (1, with 1 male above), fossil Echinocorys scutatus (1), perforated chalk, 2 fossils, part of ox radius (1, with foetus), 2 perforated dog whelk shells (1), and a polished flint knife (1).

Also at 142 Dorchester-on-Thames there were 3 males and 3 females identified, but the grave goods were not clearly associated in the report (they are recorded in the previous paragraph).

This evidence for associated grave goods includes for the most part simple tools, but there are a few more elaborate assemblages at 142 Dorchester-on-Thames, the inclusion of maceheads perhaps being of particular note for possible symbolism.

[SE MVD] Evidence for cause of death

There is some evidence for cause of death at 108 Whitehawk (death in childbirth possibly), at 122 Yeoveney Lodge Farm (violent death by blows to the skull, and the head severed), and at 137 Ascott- under-Wychwood ( two apparent deaths from arrow wounds).

[SE MVD] General

As with multiple disposals elsewhere, the full range of age and both sexes are represented. It is clear that in this area cremation disposal, although still the minority process, is more prevalent than in the other two areas, and particularly notable for its concentration in the cremation cemeteries of the Abingdon region. These appear to be a local alternative to communal mounded or cairned tombs. Their form varies, and their causewayed or hengiform design is particularly interesting given the probable relationship of causewayed enclosures to mortuary ritual. However, the majority disposal process is still inhumation. The variety of ritual activity is again striking, ranging from implied activity at the sites themselves to the treatment of human remains before, during and after disposal. All the characteristics of the previous groups are present, and particularly bone manipulation, domestic refuse deposits, whole and part deposits, animal associations and ditch and pit emphasis. The occurrence of carved or incised markings at some sites is notable, and has parallels, if not exact ones, in both the south and south west areas.

[SE MVD] Radiocarbon dates

Radiocarbon dates are recorded for these Gazetteer sites: 106 North Marden (2760bc), 107 Offham Hill (2975bc, 2790bc), 108 Whitehawk (2750bc, 2695bc), 129 Abingdon Causewayed Enclosure ([4070bc], 3110-2500bc), 131 Lambourn Long Barrow (3415bc), 136 Wayland's Smithy (2820bc), 137 Ascott-under-Wychwood (3248-2495bc), and 867 Abingdon Causewayed Enclosure Oval Barrow (2550-[1910]bc).

[SE] Sites without disposals

There are 10 such sites, comprising 4 causewayed enclosures, a cursus, 2 settlements, a ring ditch, a set of shafts or pits, and a long earthen barrow. Some have features of interest which offer parallels to those at some disposal sites.

Ditches at 109 Barkhale (a few sherds), 111 Combe Hill Camp (sherds and flint flakes), 112 The Trundle (chalk cup, perforated and carved chalk blocks, animal bone, sherds), and at 116 Ebbsfleet (sherds) provide some evidence for domestic refuse deposits, but only convincingly at 112 The Trundle. Pit activity of possible ritual kind appears at several sites. The two settlements contained a pit with sherds from at least 32 vessels (110 Bishopstone), and a hearth with sherds (118 High Rocks A). Site 872 Dorchester-on-Thames Cursus contained some sherds in the ditch, and a polished flint axe. Site 123 Rainham had a pit central to the ring ditch which contained sherds, flints and sandstone fragments. At site 134 Cannon Hill two pits had knapped flint debris as fillings, and the two shafts had been refilled with natural organic material. Finally at 119 Julliberrie's Grave a regular pit had been made in the side of the barrow shortly after its completion. It was stained at the bottom by organic matter and held an extensive deposit of lumpy chalk, in a careful refilling exercise. It was marked by large stones.

The contents of ditches and pits both in and outside monuments have parallels at the disposal sites. Otherwise the remarkable point is the relative bareness of three of the four causewayed enclosure sites, an echo possibly of other types of mortuary sites with similarly clean features.

[SE] Radiocarbon dates

Radiocarbon dates recorded in the Gazetteer for this group are: 110 Bishopstone (2510bc), 111 Combe Hill Camp (2640bc), 112 The Trundle (3290-2895), 116 Ebbsfleet (2710bc), 118 High Rocks A (3780- 3324bc), 134 Cannon Hill (3320bc), and 872 Dorchester-on-Thames (2560bc).


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