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North Down

Barrow / Cairn Cemetery


When dashing along the road between Devizes and Avebury you will no doubt notice the wealth of barrows in the fields around you. About 24 of them (some now obvious, some ploughed out) made up the North Down cemetery. The oldest barrow was a Neolithic long barrow (now only 20cm higher than the surrounding field, according to the EH smr) – it was excavated in 1964 and three ox skulls were discovered inside, along with the wattle frame used in its construction. (Three ox skulls were similarly found within nearby Beckhampton longbarrow). The ground underneath showed that the area had been used for agriculture and 'funerary activities' before the barrow was built. The barrow was 40m long and orientated NE-SW (perhaps in reference to the midwinter sunrise?).

A bowl barrow was built in the Bronze Age close to the longbarrow, and around this focus were built the many other round barrows of the cemetery, probably over a considerable period of time. The cemetery is classic "DAD will you look at the ROAD" territory, so be careful because other drivers seem to use this straight stretch as a racetrack.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
18th August 2004ce
Edited 18th August 2004ce

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