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Ogbourne St Andrew Barrow

Round Barrow(s)


Whilst footling about in the library I found a note on the 1999 excavation of the churchyard mound in the Wiltshire Arch. + Nat. Hist. Mag v94. It said that the barrow and the church are both aligned and positioned on a further 'substantial but low' east-west earthwork which extends beyond the churchyard. The article didn't speculate on the age or purpose of this earthwork.

I also looked up the original excavation, carried out by Cunnington in the 1880s (same magazine, vol 22). He was rather hoping that the barrow was going to contain a wealth of treasure, like the 'viking' (anglo saxon) finds dug up at Taplow only a couple of years previously - that was a barrow in a churchyard too, so you can see why he got his hopes up.

The article reveals that the barrow was used time and again for burials over the centuries.

He describes the barrow being in the unconsecrated NE corner of the churchyard (actually belonging to King's College Cambridge, weirdly). It was 11ft high and 'much mutilated'. Digging in he found 20+ skeletons about 3ft down, with their heads to the west. They were 'evidently not Ancient British' - I suppose they would be Christian, all ready to sit up and face Jerusalem come judgement day? Cunnington suggested they were medieval.

Near the centre at 5ft depth was a male skeleton in a fir coffin; this he suggested a Saxon date for.

At 7ft he found the burnt bones of an adult wrapped in a cloth, and placed on a plank of wood with an (unburnt) black flint knife. A small clay vessel was about a yard away.
The floor of the barrow was still 4 more feet down - on this he found wood ashes scattered around, with traces of cremations and perhaps a cremation pit. I suppose both these areas of finds are from the Bronze Age.

A finely made leaf arrow-head of dark flint was found just below the turf on the surface of the barrow. He also mentions that 'several interesting flint implements and rubbers of sarsen stone were turned up in the course of the excavations'.It may help those looking for information to know that the village has been called 'Ogbourn St Andrew' and 'Okebourn St Andrew' and also 'Little Okebourn', 'Ogbourne St Andrews', etc. Just to confuse matters.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
6th January 2004ce
Edited 31st August 2007ce

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