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Site name Amesbury 51, Cursus Barrow Group
Site number 465
Burial codes 4005 4009 4021 4023 4025 4028 4030 4035 4042 4046 4051 4052 4053 4065 4071 4073 4075 4082 4083 4084 4092 4097 4098 4103 4105 4108 4110 4111 4122 4125 4128 4129 4143 4152 4153 4167 4181 4182 4200
2500bc-14/1300bc A bowl barrow with interrupted encircling ditch, covering a central grave and mortuary house. The grave pit was 3.3m x 2.25m x 1.5m deep, and oriented NNE/SSW. It narrowed towards the front, and its sides showed weathering. The mortuary house comprised 4 posts and boarded sides (planks), may have had a sloping roof, and may have been half-buried in the pit, and exposed and visible for some time before the barrow was built, given the lowest 'wash down' deposits around its base and the pit sides' weathering.

The mortuary house contained an inhumation with a long necked Ai Beaker, the skull having been trephined. 1.8m above this had been interred another inhumation with a Wessex/Middle Rhine Beaker and 'a considerable quantity of something that appeared like decayed leather' which may have been a folded hide (Cunnington in Papers on British Tumuli, Book 5th 43, Wiltshire Archaeological Society Library, Devizes). Just above was another unaccompanied skeleton. All lay with their heads to N, and are presumed contracted when found in 1804-05. The remains were of 2 female and one male adult and a child not noticed at the time.

A crouched burial of an adult male on its left side, head to NNE, arms crossed was found in 1960. It had been incorporated in the barrow mound either when it was being built or by later insertion through the (now ploughed away) chalk capping. A long necked Beaker was set upright accompanying it, as well as a bronze awl lying across a slip of antler, a flint scraper, and above a pointed roe deer antler with a protecting shoe; another antler piece with an abraded rounded end (a spatula) was behind the skeleton's rib cage. A bos horn core was placed between the right and left femurs (a penis sheath?). A carbonised wooden board (BM-287) lay above the skeleton, of triangular shape, point to neck. Another wooden object rather like a straight backed long bladed wooden cleaver lay in front of the face, the 'handle' by the right hand. Another small triangular piece of wood lay behind the skull.

East of the central pit and in the ditch was placed a further inhumation in a shallow oval grave. It was of a young female adult lying on its side, head to S, very tightly fitted into the space, with an accompanying bell Beaker of Wessex/Middle Rhine type on its side. The order of deposition of Beakers is suspect as the long necked Beakers are later.

The ditch had five sections, 3 in the western half. The mound contained sherds of pottery, flint artefacts and knapping waste, animal bones and pieces of charcoal, but not to the extent that can classify them as deliberate deposits of occupation debris.

RC: BM-287 1788 +/- 90
Remains/Period Y4
County Wiltshire
Region S
National grid square SU
X coordinate 114
Y coordinate 427
Bibliographic source Hoare 1812, Grinsell 1957a, Ashbee 1978


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Last updated: Tues Aug 10 2004