Kingston Deverill cemetery plan delayed for archaeological investigation
Interesting in that there is a barrow next to the church.....
Plans to expand the cemetery in Kingston Deverill have run into an unexpected problem – the land may already hide a prehistoric burial ground.
The graveyard at St Mary’s Church was last extended in 1926 and is now full, prompting rector Norma Payne and churchwarden Bill Knowles to apply to extend it.
While the move was granted permission, the church was told it would have to first run an archaeological dig because the land is next to a prehistoric disc barrow.
Mr Knowles said: “The whole area is full of prehistoric remains so this is a fairly standard planning condition for the village. I’m not sure we will find anything.
“I would be surprised if there is anything there at all, but it would be very interesting if any archaeological finds are made.
“Of course it would also be a problem for us as it would delay the plans somewhat.”
Historic records stored by the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre show the strip is roughly ten metres away from a Bronze Age mound, dating from around 2,500 BC.
Since such barrows were often created in groups, heritage advisors want to conduct trench surveys of the area to see if further relics are hidden there.
The Deverill valley is believed to have been inhabited since at least 3,500 BC. Kingston Deverill is the site of a 100-yard-long barrow on Cold Kitchen Hill, with another smaller barrow on its lower slopes.
A round barrow on Middle Hill in the village was found to contain a rare necklace made of a glass-like substance found in the Baltic, proof of trade between Wessex and the continent.
Archaeologist Mike Heaton, who runs a consultancy business in Warminster, is helping the church with its investigation.
“There are an enormous amount of prehistoric sites in the valley – you can make out the barrow shapes in aerial photos,” he said.
“There were centuries of occupation in the Iron Age and by the Romans, and a lot of medieval remains too. We will start by carrying out a physical survey to see if there is anything down there. Should anything show up we will dig trenches to find out what. If there is a lot of stuff it could be an investigation lasting several years.
“But it shouldn’t take up too much room, so the church would be able to start using the patch for burials.”
Posted by moss
18th February 2012ce
Edited 18th February 2012ce