The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

The Sanctuary

Timber Circle


The burial By M. E. Cunnington - 1930

One burial was found. This consisted of a much crouched skeleton of a youth some 14 or 15 years of age, lying in a shallow grave on the inner side of the stone hole 12, in the Stone-and-post-ring, i.e., on the eastern side of the rings immediately behind the one single-post hole in the Bank Holiday ring (Plate X.).

The skeleton lay on its right side, head to the south, feet to the north i.e., facing east. The grave was l ft. deep, 3ft. long, by 2ft. wide. The
grave and the stone hole cut into one another, and the body must have almost, if not quite, touched the inner face of the stone at the time of
burial, if the stone was already standing. See PL III., 1.

The arms were crossed above the elbow in front of the face, the two hands seeming to enfold the face, finger bones being found over and under the facial bones ; the head was bent forward over the chest, and the legs were crossed below the knees.
In front of the legs just below the knees lay the crushed fragments of a beaker. Intimately associated with the skeleton, apparently having been laid on the body when it was buried, were some bones of animals, some being slightly charred. A few small flecks of charred (or decayed?) wood were noticed among the bones of the skeleton.

The bones of the skeleton were nearly all broken, most of the limb bones being in several pieces. The skull and the beaker were crushed flat and a few fragments of both were missing ; it seems that this was probably due to a certain amount of disturbance caused when the stone fell, or was thrown down and removed.
Some of the crushing may be due to heavy modern agricultural machines.

It is hardly possible that the burial was made before the stone hole was dug ; the probability seems to be that it was made at the time the stone was erected, for the risk of bringing down the stone would have been considerable had the grave been dug Later. As all the ground within and including the Fence-ring was dug over, had there been other burials they must have been found, so this with Woodhenge makes the second elaborate series of wooden circles that were not erected primarily as burial places.

This solitary somewhat insignifcant burial may have been of a dedicatory nature as the only one of the rings at Woodhenge is thought to have been.
The evidence from the burial affords a striking parallel to that of the pottery as regards an overlap in cultures. While some of the pottery is of the West Kennet Long Barrow type the rest is equally characteristic of the succeeding "Beaker" period. The youth buried beside the stone was of
Long Barrow people ancestry, but the vessel by his side is one typical of the "Beaker" people, who invaded Britian at the end of the Long Barrow period, imposing their culture—and presumably conquering—the Long Barrow people who were previously predominant in southern Britain.
Better evidence of overlap could scarcely be expected.

The only other human remains found were three pieces of a lower jaw scattered in stone hole 16 of the Stone-and-post-ring ; the pieces were sub-
sequently fitted together but do not make a complete jaw.
Chance Posted by Chance
8th April 2009ce

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