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West Kennett

Long Barrow


Details of the Long Barrow on Pastscape

West Kennet Long Barrow is a Neolithic chambered burial mound situated just below the crest of a north east facing slope overlooking Silbury Hill. Recent radiocarbon studies have dated it to the 37th century cal BC and it was in use for at least a thousand years. The mound is trapezoidal in plan and measures about 104 metres in length, 25 metres at the widest point and 3.2 metres at the highest point. The forecourt is situated at the eastern end of the mound. Beyond this is the entrance into the mound, which leads to a 12 metre central passage with five small sub-circular chambers opening off it; a pair to each side and an end chamber. The chambers vary in size from 2 to 4 metres across with a maximum height of 2.5 metres. The long barrow was excavated in 1859 by J. Thurnam and in 1955-6 by S. Piggott, which included re-erection of many of the stones. The chambers of the long barrow were constructed of large sarsen boulders with drystone walling and contained the remains of at least 46 individuals including both inhumations and cremations. Many of the burials were incomplete - some bones were missing, while others had been grouped together in particular parts of the barrow. For example long bones and a quantity of vertebrae had been placed by the rear wall of the north west chamber. Pottery from the excavations included Windmill Hill type, Peterborough, Grooved Ware and Beaker sherds. The mound consisted of a core of sarsen boulders capped with chalk rubble cleared from flanking quarry ditches. These ditches, about 100 metres long and 5 metres wide, are now infilled but remain visible as earthworks. Final 'blocking' of the burial mound took the form of chalk rubble and other debris (including pottery, animal bone, flint implements and other objects) which was used to infill the passage and chambers. The forecourt at the eastern end was blocked with sarsen boulders and a 'false entrance' of twin sarsen uprights constructed.
Chance Posted by Chance
29th October 2012ce

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