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Site name Danebury, Nether Wallop
Site number 1198
Burial codes 4001 4003 4022 4023 4026 4028 4030 4035 4042 4046 4051 4065 4075 4084 4091 4098 4104 4111 4129 4143 4153 4181 2003 2004 2009 2022 2023 2026 2028 2030 2035 2036 2042 2044 2047 2051 2052 2053 2065 2071 2072 2073 2074 2075 2084 2093 2097 2098 2103 2104 2105 2106 2107 2108 2109 2110 2111 2121 2124 2125 2126 2127 2128 2131 2143 2153 2168 2171 2181 2182 2200
2500bc-14/1300bc A crouched burial accompanied by a highly decorated Beaker.
8/700bc-100bc A fort with a massive complex of Iron Age features dating between the 5th to 1st Centuries BC. 300 depositions of human remains have been recorded, and divide into these categories: (A) whole bodies (individual or in group deposits), (B) incomplete skeletons (individual deposits), (C) multiple, partial semi-articulated skeletons, (D) skulls or parts of skulls (excluding mandibles), (E) pelvic girdles, (F) individual bones or bone fragments, isolated or in small groups. [A deposit has the category to which it was assigned following its reference number below.]

There were some 13 neonatal burials, six buried in specially dug small pits, the remaining 7 placed in the fillings of normal storage pits, in all but one case in the middle or upper fills. The inhumation of complete bodies of children, juveniles and adults accounted for 28 individual inhumations, but also demonstrated some variation. 18 of these were single, and most occurred at or close to the pit bottom. They were found in a variety of positions. The rest were double or multiple. Brief descriptions of the range of deposits follow.

Whole burials:

Pit 37 had been excavated and left open before burial took place, and then was left so for a period after burial (compare Pit 343). It contained the skeleton of a dismembered adult 168(F) lying on the silt at the bottom of the bath shaped pit which after further exposure was then back-filled. The pit also contained in this layer 4 the appendicular skeleton minus skull and arms of a male c14-16 [3(Bi)], and other bone fragments including the mandible of a male c17-25 [85(F)]. A cattle scapula lay beneath the deposit 168(F).

Pit 78 contained in Layer 10 a fragmented and possibly dismembered human skeleton 91(F) associated with much fragmentary sheep bone, general occupation debris, carbonised grain and a deposit of red clay. There were other human skull fragments in Layers 1 and 2 at the top of the pit [89-90(F)].

Pit 84 deposition 6(A) comprised a male skeleton c30-40 oriented NE, contracted on the left side in Layer 1 at the top of the pit. It may have been bound. It had been laid in a partially filled pit which was then filled.

Pit 343 deposition 12(A) comprised a male skeleton c25-35 oriented NW lying on the back with legs crouched to the left, right arm flung away from the body, left arm slightly flexed with hand to right knee. It was lying on the primary silt and covered with another layer of natural silt. Some sherds were on the throat and north of the head. After this period of exposure, the pit was back-filled.

Pit 374 was a complex bath shaped pit containing deposition 13(A), a child c3 buried in the top layer, contracted, oriented NNE, lying on the left side in the centre of the pit. The limbs were tightly contracted, suggesting binding. Pieces of human bodies were also thrown in, including an articulated arm. On the layer of primary silt was deposition 14(A), the extended skeleton of an adult male c17-25 on the back oriented SW, head turned to left. His right arm was folded under the chest, and the left tightly contracted against his body, the hand lying near the face.

Pit 381 contained in its upper half the complete skeleton of a neonatal infant 15(A), with no associations, and appeared to have been left exposed to be sealed by natural silting and chalk shatter.

Pit 383 contained deposition 16(A), the skeleton of an adult male c25-35 compressed into a very small pit-like excavation. The body had been thrust head-first into the undercut base of the pit, the legs bent to fit into the hole.

Pit 430 contained depositions 17 and 18(A), the mixed skeletons of two foetal or neonatal infants. They appear to have been exposed in the pit, to be covered by natural silting.

Pit 437 contained the skeleton of an infant 19(A) contracted on its left side, oriented SW, against the north west edge of the pit. A calf, also neonatal, was at the south east edge of the pit, also interleaved between Layers 2 and 3, like the infant burial. It was deliberately backfilled.

Pit 489 contained deposition 21, the skeleton 21(A) of an adult female c35 or more, contracted on the right side, arms and legs tightly contracted against the body, hands folded round the knees, and oriented S in the upper layers of the pit filling. The evidence suggests binding prior to burial. The body lay in a layer containing burnt material, coprolites, and flints.

Pit 497 contained deposition 22(A) at a depth of 0.3-4m, the almost complete skeleton of an adult female c25-35, lying on the back, legs crouched to the left, oriented NW, heels touching thighs, hands crossed and touching the shoulders. There was evidence for binding. The pit cuts through 453 and 474.

Pit 582 contained deposition 23(A), a female c30-40 crouched under the overhang of the pit, lying on her front right side, arms and legs tightly contracted against the body suggesting binding before burial, and oriented NNW. The pit was backfilled on burial.

Pit 587 contained at the bottom deposition 24(A), a male c20-25, prone, head to right, arms slightly flexed, legs tightly contracted, oriented NNW. The skull was crushed, and a large chalk block and flint nodule were placed on the right hand side of the back.

Pit 620 contained deposition 25(A), a child c5 lying on its right side, right arm flexed, left leg extended and slightly flexed at the knee, right leg contracted to the left and flexed at the pelvis and the knee, oriented SE. The pit had been backfilled.

Pit 807 contained deposition 27(A), a male c17-22, lying face down on its right front side, legs flexed to the left, right arm under the stomach, left hand under the left shoulder near the face, oriented N. Silting followed burial.

Pit 829 was relatively shallow and contained three depositions near the top: 28(A) a male c25-35 crouched on the right side, right hand under the right shoulder, the left arm displaced, legs crouched to the left, oriented W, 29(A) a male c25-35 crouched on the right side, arms contracted in front of the chest, hands together in front of the face, legs tightly contracted, oriented NW, 30(A) a male c30-40 lying on its back, head thrown back, lower leg bones seemingly displaced, legs contracted at the pelvis, and the arms also displaced but present, oriented N. Animal bones were in the same layer. The bodies seem to have lain exposed rather than having been buried. Bone displacement could have taken place during backfilling.

Pit 857 contained deposition 31(A), a neonatal infant.

Pit 935 contained three depositions: 43(A) a male c25-35 on its back, head and left shoulder not articulated with the top of the spinal column, right arm stretched out, legs flexed to the left, the right knee cap and lower leg bones displaced, oriented ESE, 44(A) a female c17-25 on her back, arms and right leg displaced, left leg flexed to the right, oriented SSE, 45(A) a child c10-12 lying supine, head to left, arms flexed close to the chest, legs displaced but present, oriented WSW. The bodies were deposited on the primary silt, covered by chalk shatter from the pit sides, the pit being left open for a period, then backfilled. A fragment of quernstone was under the knee of 43.

There was also the proximal end of a right tibia 150F deposited with a horse skull.

Pit 1015 contained at the bottom deposition 46(A), a male c20-25 on its back, flexed, the head badly crushed, legs flexed at the pelvis, contracted to the right, left leg almost fully extended, the right tightly flexed at the knee, the left arm contracted against the rib cage, oriented WNW. Numerous burnt flints and chalk blocks were deposited on and around the body and between the limbs. The pit was left open to silt up.

Pit 1078 contained deposition 49(A/C), a female c21-25 lying on right side, arms tightly contracted, hands under chin, legs contracted at the knee, the positioning suggesting binding before burial, oriented SW. There were also other fragmentary remains (see below).

Pit 1114 contained deposition 241(A), a male c12-13 extended on its left side, knees slightly bent, left arm straight, right arm bent so the hand was close to the chin, oriented NE.

Pit 1822 contained deposition 210(A), a female c50 or more on its back, oriented SE, legs tightly flexed and knees brought up close to the chest as if the body was bound. Part of one leg and its foot were out of position and by the head. After silting, the pit was backfilled.

Pit 2100 contained two depositions: 217(A) a child c5 flexed and lying on its side tight to the side of the pit, oriented SE, with a large chalk block placed by the head, and 218(A) a person c35 or more, loosely flexed, head against the pit side, and oriented SE. A glass bead was found immediately beneath the neck. The head was by the same chalk block. The sequence was: burial of the adult, the head marked by the chalk block, dumping of soil over the body, burial of the child, the head laid close to the block which could still be seen, and dumping of more soil.

Pit 2145 contained deposition 278(A), the almost complete skeleton of a neonatal infant in Layers 1-3.

Pit 2155 contained in Layer 2 deposition 219(A), the complete skeleton of a neonatal infant. It was placed on a chalk slab, surrounded by flint nodules, and oriented NNE. Natural silting surrounded it.

Pit 2218 contained deposition 222(A), a male c25 crouched on its left side, heels tight to the buttocks, hands on knees, oriented NE. The entire body was tucked hard against the side of the pit. It was covered by a layer of large flint nodules and chalk blocks. There was a large slab of unfired Reading Beds clay on the pit floor.

Pit 2223 contained deposition 223(A), a male c50 or more on its back, very tightly flexed, knees brought up to the chest suggesting the body which was almost complete had been bound. It was oriented SW.

Pit 2462 contained deposition 240(A), a male c25-35 on its right side, oriented E, arms bent at the elbow, hands under the chin, knees bent and legs brought up to fit the body in. Natural silting appeared to have covered the burial.

Pit 2566 contained deposition 252(A), a neonatal infant in a dump of oven daub, halfway up the pit fill above the cone of primary erosion.

Pit 2605 contained deposition 259(A), a female c50 or more on its left side, very tightly flexed, the knees brought up suggesting the body had been bound, and oriented NE.

Ph 10010 contained deposition 261(A) the complete skeleton of a neonatal infant, crouched, just above the bottom silt, oriented SE.

Gully 67 contained deposition 58(A), a child c15, lying prone within the drainage gully of CS9.

Seven collections of human body fragments were recovered:

Pit 923 contained depositions 33(C)-42(C), the almost complete skeleton of a female or juvenile adult, partial skeletons of a female c23-30 and 4 children, and 4 adult male skulls. Other fragments of human skeletal material were in the pit. The ones described here were in the centre of the pit, deposited with animal bones. The bones were very mixed. They showed no evidence of violent dismemberment, but had been deposited when the flesh and the connecting tissues had to differing extents decayed. Missing bones had been lost on transfer or removed. They were set down in the partially silted pit which was left open. Sling stones might suggest stoning of the deposit before eventual covering. There were associated animal deposits: a possible young pig burial, a horse skull and articulated lower horse leg, and a large amount of sheep and pig skull bones. In the layer below the bones was a cattle skull.

Pit 1078 contained depositions 48-57 and 162-3: the complete skeleton of a contracted female c21-25 separate from the rest [49(A/C)] oriented SW and possibly bound, the complete skeleton of a child c10-14 [53(C)], an almost complete skeleton of a male c25-35 [50(C) plus possibly 162(C)], partial skeletons of a female c20-30 [51(C)], a male c40 or more [52(C)], and of a child c10-12 [54(C)], skulls of three children ages ranging from 6-7 to 8-12 [55-57(C)], and of a male adult c30 or more [48(C)], and the fragmentary thoracic vertebrae of an infant [163(C)]. These mixed bones were deposited with the partial skeleton of a neonatal pig and a horse skull. There was no sign of violent dismemberment, and they appear to have been deposited when the flesh had decayed, but not all the connecting tissues. Missing bones had been lost on transfer, or appropriated. The pit was half full when the deposits occurred, and the remains may have been stoned while lying in the pit (chalk blocks and sling stones were present). The pit was left open to silt up, then backfilled with occupation debris.

Pit 1545 contained deposition 199(C) in Layers 3-5, the partial skeleton of a child c10-12 less the skull, and the mandible of an adult male c25-35. In Layer 1 it also contained skull fragments of a child c5-15.

Pit 2183 contained deposition 221(C), the skull of an adult female and the torso of a male c30 or less. The remains were in the main pit fill, the product of a long period of erosion.

Pit 2496 contained deposition 242(C), the partial skeleton of a male c20, fragmentary skulls of a male c25 and a female(?) c25-35, the femur and scapula of a child c12, and the pelvic girdle, thoracic vertebrae and ribs of an adult female. The bones lay in layer of a lens of black carbonised material c20-40mm thick containing some occupation debris.

Pit 2509 contained deposition 245(C), three juvenile skulls (c8-10, c10-12 and c15) and a group of long bones. The group of human and animal (bos) bones were together in the centre of the pit, apparently thrown in with no attempt at arrangement. Under them was eroded soil, and covering them was a dump of brown chalky soil.

Layer 1743 contained deposition 224(C), a collection of isolated bones from one or more adults (including a male c17-25) and one or more juveniles.

Nine collections of bones were recovered representing the partial remains of single individuals:

Four consisted of substantially complete torsos missing limbs or skulls or both, three were represented by skulls, fragmentary torsos and disarticulated limbs, and two contained a miscellany of bones from an individual body.

The partial remains from the second and third groups represent over 40 individuals, excluding the skulls. They suggest human remains in various stages of decay brought in from elsewhere to be placed in the pits. The excavator considers that there are rites of passage implied by this activity.

In the second two groups, 19 individual depositions were found in 15 different pits, 9 in the lower fill (only two at the bottom), 7 in the middle, and 3 in the top layer. This is a different pattern from that of the whole bodies' deposition in the first group.

Extrapolating from the evidence, the deposition of partial remains was a less frequent occurrence than deposition of whole bodies. Child partial deposits are also more frequent occurrences than whole child burials.

RC: range from variety of contexts HAR-966 3520 +/- 70 to HAR-1426 1760 +/- 80
Remains/Period Y4 Y2
County Hampshire
Region S
National grid square SU
X coordinate 323
Y coordinate 376
Bibliographic source Selkirk 1970c, 1972c, Whimster 1981, Cunliffe 1984b, 1995, Cunliffe and Poole 1991, Danebury Archive


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Last updated: Tues Aug 10 2004