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Site name Gorsey Bigbury, Charterhouse-on-Mendip
Site number 283
Burial codes 4005 4009 4021 4023 4025 4028 4030 4031 4036 4042 4045 4051 4065 4071 4075 4084 4092 4098 4103 4104 4106 4108 4110 4111 4122 4124 4127 4129 4143 4151 4156 4159 4181 4200
2500bc-14/1300bc A henge monument of the single causeway type, consisting of a circular rock cut ditch with an external rampart of earth and stones enclosing a flat central area, and a causeway to the north 4.5m wide with a post at each side. The outer diameter was 60m, the inner 21m. The ditch varied in width and depth. In the north west ditch segment at the bottom was a crouched male skeleton 'of Beaker type' in a roughly walled cist grave oriented NNW/SSE c1.07m x 0.75m, with a floor of 2 slabs on small stones, associated with 4 bone needles, a bone scoop, a well worked flint knife, a barbed and tanged flint arrow head and a Beaker sherd. There was much animal bone in the pit. The nearby ditch fill contained further fragments of this skeleton, and fragments of a female. The cist grave probably originally contained one male and one female burial, the male being buried head to NW, legs tightly contracted.

The north west and south east segments provided 'abundant material of the Beaker culture' deposited on the silt of the ditch bottom. In two places a platform separated these deposits from the silt. The base of these platforms was marked by a band of fragmentary charcoal, and the platform comprised a 'dirty rubble' made up of charcoal, earth and stones with large quantities of potsherds, flints and animal bones mainly of domestic animals (especially ox and pig). There were 4000 flints including a large series of Beaker types, pottery mainly of A-C Beaker types representing c100 vessels, but some of Neolithic B Peterborough ware. The bones included further human skull and jaw fragments in the ditch east of the causeway, belonging to a female c25-35, and the cranial fragments of a child c5. These were not from in situ burials, and the female cranium may have been from a robbed cist, ante-dating the Beaker occupation.

Above the platform deposits was a brown clay layer with some Beaker and Late Bronze Age Bucket urn sherds. There was no evidence of metal; or of stone or post holes, or of any structure, although there were fragments of clay daub. The central enclosed area provided no finds but it was very shallow. There was no Beaker pottery in the rampart. The site use had ceased by the Food Vessel period. The site is analogous to a causewayed camp.

RC: from bottom of occupation debris BM-1086 1713 +/- 61, from lower part of hearth BM-1087 1652 +/- 71, from bottom half of occupation level BM-1088 1850 +/- 74, from hearth BM-1089 1832 +/- 62 (all charcoal), from bottom of occupation BM-1090 1716 +/- 117, ditto BM-1091 1656 +/- 67 (bone collagen)
Remains/Period Y4
County Somerset
Region SW
National grid square ST
X coordinate 484
Y coordinate 558
Bibliographic source Jones 1935, 1938, ApSimon 1951, Tratman 1966, ApSimon et al 1976


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Last updated: Tues Aug 10 2004