|Lowbury Hill: An artificial grove?
'Lowbury Hill in Oxfordshire, England, has long been regarded as the site of a probable Romano-British temple. The summit of the hill is occupied by several earthworks, including a rectangular enclosure and a round barrow. The site was excavated in 1913-14, when the bank and interior were investigated.
Further work has recently been carried out, including a geophysical survey and a limited excavation programme. One of the most interesting features discovered in this new investigation is the presence of a series of shallow, irregular scoops in the chalk, filled with dark, loamy soil, which have been interpreted as tree holes. These seem to have formed part of the primary demarcation of the sacred enclosure, and appear to represent deliberately planted trees.
This activity perhaps took place in the first century AD. The inference is that the first construction was replaced in the second century AD by an enclosing wall: inside there was probably a simple temple building; associated with it were a group of spears (including a deliberately bent one), coins and other finds indicative of sacred use.
But the first phase may have comprised a deliberately planted holy grove. One further discovery of possible relevance is the burial of a woman whose face had been mutilated, though it is uncertain to which phase this body belongs.'
Miranda J Green
Posted by wysefool
3rd October 2007ce
Edited 3rd October 2007ce