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

The Five Knolls

Barrow / Cairn Cemetery


There used to be a round barrow on the other side of the Icknield Way to the Five Knolls, about a third of a mile to the south east. There is a fantastic picture of what its excavators found, on p 168 of the Victoria County History for Bedfordshire (v1). It shows the skeleton of a small child being clasped by that of (presumably) its mother. "Near the head of the woman were two broken pots, near the right hand a stone muller and a white pebble; elsewhere in the grave were two other mullers, two scrapers and two very rudely chipped celts [axeheads]." But far more fantastic than this, about 200 fossil Echini (sea urchins) can be seen encircling the skeletons. Folklore has called such fossils 'fairy loaves' - could they have been seen similarly in the Bronze age - as helpful offerings of food for the next world, or perhaps they were added for another symbolic reason - or even because they were just really cool objects collected by one or other of the dead occupants? Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
17th March 2006ce
Edited 7th January 2014ce

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