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

Golden Barrow (destroyed)

Round Barrow(s)


August 1st, Heytesbury 1803.
THE tumulus opened last Thursday in Upton Lovel parish, is situated a few yards north of the river Wily. It is of a pyramidical form, the base length 58 feet by 38 feet wide [g] and 22 feet in the slope, and stands from east to west. The northside of the barrow is extremely neat, the fouth side is much mutilated. On making a section lengthways on the barrow, at about two feet deep we found in a very shallow cist, human burnt bones piled in a little heap; and at the distance of a foot a considerable quantity of ashes which contained small fragments of human bones; above, and at two feet distant from the bones were found the following articles of pure gold, which are neatly wrought, and highly burnished, viz. about thirteen gold beads made in the form of a drum, having two ends to screw off and perforated in the sides; [i] 2ndly, a thin plate of the same metal 2.25 inches by 5.25 inches; this is very neatly ornamented, as you will see by the annexed drawing: [k] 3dly, a beautiful Bulla (as I conjecture) of a conical form; [1] the inside of this is a solid cone of wood, the gold -which completely covered it is very thin ; at the base are two holes for a thread or wire by which it was suspended; near the above were found four articles, viz. two of each, that appeared once to have covered the ends of slaves. [m] Among the gold ornaments lay several flat pieces of amber, the eighth of an inch in thickness, and about an inch wide ; there were all perforated lengthways, but were sadly broken in getting out. What is very extraordinary, there were also nearly one thousand amber beads of different sizes. Close to the pile of ashes we found a very small urn, a lance-head of brass, and a pin of the same metal. The urn is of a very extraordinary form, appearing exactly as though it had been stuck all over with small black grapes. In this barrow, contrary to the usual method of interment on the Downs, which are on or in the native soil, we found the cist nearly on the top; and this deviation was probably occasioned from the wetness of the foil, being near the river, or it might have been the manner of interring their great chieftains. From the vail quantity of beads, it might be conjectured that a female had been interred here, but it is well known that our British chiefs wore pearls, beads, etc. On some of the coins of Conobeline we fee beads or pearls on the head. We find in other respects similar method of interment to what we find in many other barrows ; the small urn, lance-head of brass, brass pin, etc. are common. From the profusion of valuable ornaments, for valuable they must have been at the period of their interment, we might rationally conclude this barrow to have been the sepulchre of some great chief; in all probability a chief of the Belgic Britons.
William Cunnington, Archaeologia, Vol. 15, p.122-26
Chance Posted by Chance
19th December 2011ce

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