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Wick Barrow

Round Barrow(s)


Details of barrow on Pastscape

(ST 2090 4557) Pixies' Mound (NAT) Tumulus (NR) Wick Barrow, also known as Pixies' Mound or Burrow Sidwell, was excavated by H St G Gray in 1907. It was found to be a round mound, some 84 feet in diameter by 5 feet high, built mainly of large stones up to 2 1/2 feet in length. It contained a roughly circular walled enclosure built of dry stone, with maximum diameter of 31 1/2 feet, height 3' 6" and thickness about 18" at the top. No central burial was found but there had been an earlier excavation at the centre, which showed as a depression. On re-excavation, it showed as a shaft, at the bottom of which was found a Roman mortarium rimsherd and a nearby coin of Constantine I. These finds are considered to be evidence of a Roman excavation into the mound, but could be the result of a later (say 19th cent.) excavation, disturbing the surface material containing the Roman objects. Three secondary crouched inhumations were found; one accompanied by a bell-beaker, a second by a necked-beaker and a third by a necked-beaker and a flint knife-dagger. Ashbee (3) describes these as eccentric cists containing, disarticulated skeletons, but there is no evidence of cists in the report. Nearer to the centre, at a depth of 18", a mass of mixed and confused human bones was found packed close together in an oval area some 6 x 2 feet, the lias stones about them being much larger than elsewhere. This seems to be the only evidence for a possible cist in the mound. The bones represent some five adults and a child. Some of the long bones were broken and one skull was marked by impressions of woven fabric. The type of skull and unusually marked platycremism of 'tibia' bones in this group, led the excavator to suggest that they were
Neolithic and had been brought from elsewhere to be re-interred. A fragment of pottery found nearby and a similar fragment from
near one of the beaker burials, although thought to be Bronze Age, from the description, having finger tip and nail impressions, may well have been neolithic.
Other apparently disturbed human remains were found near the surface of the barrow, and some were found on the NE in 1880 and 1902-3. The latter were probably exposed by the tenant-farmer who began to demolish the barrow early in the 19th century but was stopped. The finds are in Taunton Museum. (2-3)
A ditchless mound now overgrown, surveyed at 1/2500. Finds seen on display at Taunton Museum. (4)
This barrow, diameter 27.0m, height 1.7m, is under an impenetrable cover of thorn. The survey of 22.10.64 has been accepted and transferred to the PFD.
An Early Bronze Age round barrow excavated by Harold St George Gray in April, August and September 1907. The excavation technique was very much of its time, and fairly typical of Gray, rendering interpretation difficult. The barrow had also suffered much disturbance - as well as ploughing and an unrecorded episode of excavation (see below), the tenant farmer in the early 19th century had attempted to level the mound before being "duly stopped". The barrow appears to have been at least a two phase structure. At the centre, a primary mound was surrounded by a retaining drystone wall up to 3 feet 10 inches high and 31 feet in maximum diameter. The mound was subsequently enlarged to a diameter of circa 84 feet by the addition of large quantities of lias stone, some blocks up to 2.5 feet long. The central area had been disturbed by a previous episode of digging. Gray found a Roman sherd and a Roman coin within its backfill and suggested the excavation had occurred in the Roman period, suggesting that "they left the piece of mortarium and the coin as evidence that they had "rifled this part of the barrow". It seems more likely that the excavation was of rather more recent date, the Roman finds suggesting that some deposit of that date had been disturbed as well as the earlier occupants. This earlier episode had clearly disturbed the burials within this central mound. Large quantities of fragmentary human remains were found throughout its fill, while 1.5 feet below the surface was a mass of mixed bones representing at least 6 individuals. 3 secondary crouched inhumations, all adult males and each accompanied by a Beaker, were found within the central area at relatively shallow depths, but undisturbed by the earlier excavation. One was also accompanied by a flint dagger and flint knife; another by a group of flints including 4 scrapers. Other finds fromthe mound included potsherds, flints and further fragmentary human bones. Human remains had been found on and around the barrow on at least three occasions prior to the excavation - circa 1880 a Mr Rawlins found part of a skeleton beneath a large slab of lias; in 1902-3 a Mr House found further human bones, and according to Gray he "authenticated his previous 'find' by digging out, with our permission, other bones close to the surface, in the same position, during the time of the excavations"; and Gray also adds that "human bones were found in draining the field". (2)
Chance Posted by Chance
16th December 2014ce

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