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Golden Barrow (destroyed)

Round Barrow(s)


On the northern banks of the river Wily is a barrow, which from the nature and richness of its contents we have denominated the GOLDEN BARROW. It was opened for the first time in the year 1803. At the depth of two feet we found a little pile of burned human bones placed in a shallow bason-like cist., and at the distance of one foot from the bones was a considerable quantity of ashes intermixed with small fragments of burned bones. About two feet from the pile of bones, the following articles were discovered. 1. Thirteen gold beads made in the form of a drum, having two ends to screw off, and perforated in two places on the sides for the purpose of stringing. 2. A thin plate of the same metal, six inches in length, and nearly three in width, richly wrought, and perforated at the four corners. 3. Another ornament in form of a cone, decorated with circles and zigzags, and fitted closely to a piece of dark wood, like ebony, on which the marks of the pattern still appear impressed ; the bottom part of this article is also perforated. The above are all of pure but thin gold, neatly worked, and highly burnished. The large flat plate must have been, like the cone, strengthened by a strip of wood behind; and the whole, by their several perforations, are strongly marked as forming the decorative accoutrements of some distinguished British chieftain. Besides the above, were two small articles in gold, resembling little boxes, about an inch in diameter, with a top, in the form of a cone, to take off. I cannot conjecture to what purpose these were appropriated, as they bear no sign of perforation. The whole of these have been correctly drawn of their original size, and form the interesting contents of TUMULI PLATE X. Besides the above precious articles of gold, we discovered some large plates of amber, similar to those delineated in TUMULI, PLATE ITI. and above a thousand beads of the same substance, and of different sizes; also a curious little cup, studded over with projecting knobs, which appear to have been first made in the form of glass stoppers to a bottle, and afterwards inserted into -the circular holes of the CLIP, which had been previously drilled -fur receiving them : between these grapelike protuberances are other perforations, which still remain open. Such was the result of our researches in the year 1803 ; but not being completely satisfied, and still thinking that the primary interment had escaped our vigilance, I was anxious that a further trial should be made, which took place in July, 1807, and was attended with success ; for, on the same level, and within a few inches of the very spot where the golden trinkets and the amber beads had been found, we discovered two cups, the one placed within the other. The largest of these was covered with a profusion of zigzag ornaments, but on taking out, was unfortunately broken to pieces ; the smaller one, containing about a pint, is quite plain, and in good preservation. These cups, together with the necklace of amber beads, and a small lance head, and pin of brass, which were found near the pile of ashes in the same barrow, form the contents of (TUMULI, PLATE XI.) Still pursuing our excavations to the floor of the barrow, we there found an oblong cist, about eighteen inches deep, which contained a simple interment of burned bones, unaccompanied with either arms or trinkets. This was certainly the primary funereal deposit ; but, however rich in materials, or elegant in form, the articles found nearer the surface of the barrow may be deemed, their high antiquity cannot be disputed ; for although the grape cup exceeds in beauty and novelty of design any we have as yet discovered, the other two cups of unbaked clay, and rude workmanship, bespeak the uncivilized aera to which the construction of this sepulchral mound may be justly attributed.
Sir Richard Colt-Hoare, 1810, Ancient Wiltshire, Vol.i, p.98-100
Chance Posted by Chance
19th December 2011ce

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