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Long Barrow


According to Aubrey Burl's 1981 'Rites of the Gods' Stuart Piggott and Alexander Keiller constructed a full size model of one of the Lanhill chambers and then attempted to get the body of an adult into it. Burl doesn't mention whose body or whether that was a model too. The mind boggles. If you can find the Proc Prehist Soc for 1938 (v4) then you will be able to read all about it.

Burl describes the burial they were trying to emulate:
The original entrance was constricted by a slab in the floor and two upright fractured stones, leaving a gap about 2 ft wide and only just over a foot high. Inside the chamber an earth-covered skeleton had been discovered lying on its back with its knees pressed up to its chest. It was a man of about 50 whose left elbow, wounded in this youth, had remained rigidly flexed for the rest of his life. Other bones and skulls lay tidily around the sides of the chamber. Such an arrangement in a space hardly 4ftx3ft could only have been achieved by someone wriggling into the chamber, lying on his stomach to stack up the bones and clear a space at the centre, and pushing himself out backwards. In turn the corpse, 2 or 3 days after death whn rigor mortis had gone, was laid in the short passage in front of the entrance, on its back, head over the portal slab, and shoved forward until its shoulders were inside the chamber. Only then could it be swivelled round, its legs tied up to its chest, until it slumped partly onto its side in the chamber. A thin skim of earth was spread over the body, almost like a blanket, leaving the head uncovered.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
16th January 2006ce
Edited 16th January 2006ce

Comments (1)

Excavation of an untouched chamber in the Lanhill Longbarrow - by A Keiller (Author)

Paperback – 1 Jan 1938

Publisher: Academic Journal Offprint From Proceedings Of The Prehistoric Society 04 (1938)

A copy of this rare booklet is currently available on Amazon UK.
Chance Posted by Chance
18th October 2014ce
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