Attitudes to Disposal of the Dead - Gazetteer Query Form

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Site name Hambledon Hill - main enclosure
Site number 55
Burial codes 5003 5009 5021 5023 5025 5028 5030 5035 5036 5043 5044 5046 5047 5051 5052 5053 5065 5075 5092 5098 5101 5104 5108 5111 5122 5127 5143 5151 5153 5154 5181 5183 5200
3500bc - 2500bc A causewayed enclosure of some 19 acres. The 1951 report on three sections of the inner ditch noted 'in a hearth were crushed and scattered remains of a human skull'. In primary silting was pottery of developed Windmill Hill forms, scrapers, but no arrow heads or axes. Some secondary silting in the ditch produced Windmill Hill pottery, bell Beaker sherds and Peterborough ware.

Mercer's excavation of the main enclosure disclosed pits dug then left open and backfilled, containing some fragments of human skeletal material. No feature implied purely domestic use. The ditches were dug, kept clean, then received long narrow deposits of organic material containing bone, ceramic, flint working debris and at some points quantities of disarticulated human bone. The deposits were placed not cast, possibly in an organic container. In the ditch bottoms, skulls without vertebrae or mandibles were also placed deliberately, some 30 set at intervals.

In the north section of the ditch of the enclosure were two intact child burials in niches cut into the ditch floor, crouched, under substantial flint cairns. Articulated remains of the trunk of a male c15 were in the south east sector of the enclosure ditch, under a possible flint cairn. The body was part decomposed when deposited.

The above represents Phases 1 and 2. Phase 3 of the enclosure and ditch sees the bank sliding into the ditch, still bearing isolated fragments of human skeletal material. In Phase 4 there was deliberate digging of pits in the enclosure: the pit fills contained dark ashy substance including human skeletal material, ceramic and flint. The ceramic from Phases 2 and 4 were the same.

RC: Main enclosure HAR-1886 2890 +/- 150 (Phase 2), HAR-2375 2720 +/- 100 (4), HAR-1802 2610 +/- 90 (2), HAR-2377 2560 +/- 100 (4), HAR-1885 2530 +/- 130 (4), HAR-2041 2160 +/- 80 [antler from pit fill from interior of enclosure. The rest of the examples are from pits within the ditch fill (4) or primary deposits in ditch (2)]. In close association with unburnt human bone HAR-2379 2400 +/- 80 in outwork ditch 1
2500bc-14/1300bc Overlap site with 3500-2500.
Remains/Period Y5 Y4
County Dorset
Region S
National grid square ST
X coordinate 849
Y coordinate 122
Bibliographic source Erskine 1951, Mercer 1980, 1988, Kinnes 1979


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Last updated: Tues Aug 10 2004