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Upton Lovell G2a

primary name: Upton Lovell G2a

other name: RCH: Upton Lovell 4

archaeology / bronze age

SiteName: North East of Bell Barrow, Parish: Upton Lovell, County: Wiltshire, LocalityType: bowl barrow, LocalityType: round barrow, Coordinates: NGR:ST95864277

Warminster G10

Bowl barrow with 2 primary crouched adult male and female (?) inhumations (head to N.) in oval cist with 3 polished flint axes (and 1 fragment), perforated bone points (both by feet), 5 broken 'eagle-stones', several perforated boars' teeth (both by legs), more bone points and a perforated stone battle-axe (near breast), non-local pebbles, flat grooved whetstones, a keeled sarsen muller, 5 stone mullers, a shale ring and beads, a bronze awl, a bone bead and pebble hammerstone.
author: Martin, Andrew, Dr.

On a higher part of the hill, is a low circular barrow, very neatly formed, and bearing marks of high antiquity. (No. 4). It was opened by Mr. Cunnington in the year 1801, and at the depth of nearly three feet in the native chalk, produced one skeleton lying on its back with the head towards the north ; and another in a sitting posture, the head and hands of which were within ten or twelve inches of the surface. The first, from the largeness of the bones, appeared to have been a stout man ; the latter, being much smaller, was probably a female, and perhaps his wife. The cist in which they were interred, was nearly of an oval form, excepting a small variation to the left of the larger skeleton, in order to make room for the other. On removing the earth from the feet of the largest skeleton, he found more than three dozen instruments of bones pointed and perforated, specimens of which are given in TuMULi, PLATE VII. Adjoining these lay three Celts of flint or stone, two of which are engraved in PLATES V. and VI. and two other stones, which are also engraved in PLATE VI. One of these stones was evidently made use of for sharpening or bringing to a point the arrow heads of bone ; another stone of a larger size (not engraved,) served probably as a whetstone in forming and polishing the Celts and other instruments. On clearing away the earth from the legs, some boars' teeth were found perforated, and several aetites, or eagle stones, of white flint, which had been cut or broken in two, so as to form a rude kind of cup. Near the breast of this skeleton was an axe of stone, engraved in PLATE V, and a circular stone, PLATE VI. which was probably used in a sling, and about two dozen more arrow or lance heads of bone. After discovering the latter, a considerable quantity of the bones of the small skeleton fell upon the large one, which caused a difficulty in ascertaining to which of the bodies the large ring engraved in PLATE VII. belonged. It is made of jet, or canal coal, and has its outside ornamented with imperfect circles, which appear to have been formed by some rude instrument ; it was worn probably as an amulet, not as a ring, for the inside has rather a sharp edge. Besides these articles, there were several stones and pebbles of different sorts, not to be found in the neighbourhood, a small brass pin, some beads of jet, and one of ivory or bone. The contents of this small tumulus have been so numerous, and various, that I have been rather minute in my description of it, as they throw a strong light on the customs of our rude ancestors at a period when they lived in savage and pastoral wildness, and before the use of metals was known to them. The nature of. the articles found in this barrow proves its very high antiquity, and will, I think, justify me in calling it a Celtic sepulchre.

Tumulus 1 (AW. 75) This tumulus is situated on an elevated part of Upton Downs, about a quarter of a mile south of the second mile stone, on the road leading from Heytesbury to Amesbury. It was of a circular form, forty feet in Diameter, very flat, with a little depression near the centre, and in elevation not more than 15 or 10 inches above the adjoining soil. I opened it by a trench of considerable length and breadth near the centre; when at the depth of nearly three feet in the white chalk was found a skeleton, lying on the back with the head to the North; on clearing away the earth we found another in a sitting posture; the head and hands were within ten or twelve inches of the surface. The first appeared from the largeness of the bones to have been the skeleton of a stout man, the latter being much smaller I conjectured might have been a female, perhaps the wife, the bones of both were much decayed, though the teeth were sound, and from their appearance indicated no great age. The cist in which they were interred was nearly of an oval form excepting a small variation to the ~ of the larger skeleton to make room for the other. On removing earth from the feet of the largest skeleton, we found more than three dozen bone (and as I conceived) arrow and lance heads, of which you will find delineated in plate XXXII. (I confess I am almost at a loss to appropriate these bone instruments to some other use, the thickness of the ends, which are perforated, at first sight operates as if their having been used for that purpose, as also against their use as needles. I think it probable the holes were made for the convenience of stringing them, a rough stone acting as a file, would soon reduce the large end to a proper size for the head ~). Adjoining them lay nearly together, three stone of flint celts, see plate XXXIV also the stones plate XXXIII and fig 1,2,3 & 4. On clearing the earth from the legs we found several Boar's tusk, these were perforated, see plate XXXII fig 4, also several AEtites or Eagle stones, white flint, which have been cut or broken in two, see plate XXXII fig.3. Near the breast of this skeleton we found a stone celt or Battle axe, see plate XXV fig 1. Also a circular stone, plate XXIII fig.4 with about two dozen more of the Bone Arrow or Lance heads, after discovering the latter, a considerable quantity of the bones of the small skeleton, fell upon the large one, that it was difficult to say to which the ring, plate XXXII fig 2, belonged, as also the beads plate __ fig.__ which lay together. In delineating these articles, Mr. Crocker has given the sizes and original colours as near as possible. The celts are of white flint, plate XXXIV fig.1,2,3. No 1&2 are neatly polished, and have a fine circular edge; fig 3 is only chipped to the intended form and size, the only one that I recollect to have seen noticed like these, is one described by Borlase, which is of white flint and very much like fig.3. (2nd ed.: Antiq. Cornwall: page 316, gives a drawing of a flint celt found in Cornwall which is very similar to fig.3 but this was not found in a Barrow). The stone celt, or battle axe was formed from a very hard stone or pebble and is most neatly polished (Montfoucon Vol V gives drawings of two flint celts like the above, these I believe were found in a Tumulus in Normandy, but I have no recollection of any having been found in the Barrows in this Country - the above is veined a little like Purbeck Marble) as are the fragments of another (fig.2 in plate XXXV). The stone, plate XXXV fig 3 was perhaps intended for another such a weapon. The long stone (plate_fig 1) is a species of imperfect granite found near the village of Crockerton called from thence Crockerton Burs(?) and are used as Whetstones. This was probably used for polishing the celts or bone instruments. I conceive the small stone (plate XXXIII fig3)/ which is a hard green stone/ to have been used for the purpose of wheting to a point the arrowheads. The circular stone (plate XXXIII fig4) was certainly a sling (it weighs 13 oz Averdupois and appears to have been formed from a light coloured pebble). The Rev. Mr Richardson the Rector of __by showed me a stone of nearly the same dimensions which was brought from Otaheite - it was in a sling - the only difference in the two stones is the edge of our stone is bevelled off [wrought] and Mr Richardson's is plain [a natural pebble] - both are neatly polished. I consider the ring (plate XXXII fig2) to have been worn as an amulet and is made of jet or canal coal, extremely light the rutside Marked with imperfect circles, which appear to have been formed with a rude instrument - the inside has rather a sharp edge therefore could not have been worn as a ring. The black beads are of a similar substance, the light bead is of ivory or bone. I am at a loss to find out the use of the rough cups formed from the eagle stones of flint (plate XXXII fig3) there were five of them with a handful of small pebbles of different colours lying together. Besides the articles already noticed, there were several pebbles and other stones not to be found in this neighbourhood, also a small brass pin (see plate XXXIV fig5) which is the exact size. On a __ of the relicks contained in this barrow, every thing we see indicates a remote period - probably before either Brass or Iron were in use in this island, or if arms of the former metals were at all in use they were only to be found in the possession of the great Chieftains, we may therefore not err much if we pronounce this barrow to be an early Celtic sepulchre.

Metalworker or shaman: Early Bronze Age Upton Lovell G2a burial COLIN A. SHELL* By its extended nature, and the association of many perforated bone pendants and natural hollow flint nodules, the burial was interpreted by Piggott (1962) as that of a shaman. Following this view, the present display of the grave-goods in the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society Museum at Devizes is accompanied by a full-size artist's impression of a shaman figure holding aloft the round bevelled stone from the grave group, with the lower cloak hem fringed with bone points. Perhaps more importantly, Piggott (1973: 344, 362) also recognized that various stones from this grave, including the polished circular stone, formed an early metalworker's toolkit, a virtually unique find for the Early Bronze Age in England. Amongst the toolkit stones, Thurnham (1870: 425f) previously had noticed the presence of gold traces on a small slate burnisher (Cunnington 1806: plate III 2; DM 1406; FIGURE 1), raising the possibility that the tools may have been used in the manufacture of some of the well-known Wessex Early Bronze Age (EBA) goldwork. These gold ornaments have been argued as being the output of one person or a small workshop (Coles & Taylor 1971). It should be noted that gold traces have been found also on a number of EBA whetstones'. The main problem with the presence of gold on an ancient object is proving it is contemporary 1 The author has noted the presence of gold streaks on the Warminster G5 (DM 776) and Clyffe Pypard (DM 778) whetstones in Devizes Museum, and also one from Cambridge (CUMAA 1883.89) in the Cambridge University Museum of with the object's original use and not applied since excavation. The gold traces on the slate burnisher (FIGURE 2) are thin streaks that are consistent with its use to finish the edge of a piece of thin gold sheet of the type used for the EBA goldwork of the region. The tool itself appears to have been used principally as a coarse burnisher, from the use-wear evidence at its lower edge (FIGURE 1), with goldworking not necessarily its primary function. Non-destructive semi-quantitative X-ray fluorescence analysis of the gold traces in a scanning electron microscope shows the silver (c. 15%) and copper (c. 1%) levels are comparable to those of the EBA Wessex goldwork. We are fortunate also that there was post-depositional accretion of calcite on the surface of the tool from the chalk burial environment, allowing a microstratigraphical investigation to be made. Careful microscopic examination shows that there are no gold traces on the surface of the calcite patches amongst the gold streaks, and at one location the calcite is seen to overlie a gold particle (FIGURE 3). We may therefore conclude that the gold is contemporary with the original use of the burnisher. Metalworker or shaman? The question now is metalworker, Wessex goldworker or shaman? The answer may be yes to all three. A comprehensive microscopic examination of the Upton Lovell G2a toolkit is under way.

Upton Lovell Upton Lovell G2a (ST 9586 4277); Early Bronze Age The [recent] excavation consisted of two small trenches and an overall surface scrape, the latter to investigate magnetic anomalies identified in the geophysical survey. The larger of the trenches was positioned to investigate the grave area, the other to examine the ditch. Cunnington had, characteristically, left the skeletal material in the grave pit. There was some human bone present scattered in the lower fill, though to which of the two skeletons recorded by him as being present this belongs awaits the detailed analysis. The re-examination of the grave provided an interesting insight into Cunnington's respect for the human remains he investigated. In the northwest corner of the grave he carefully placed the more robust bones, including the skull of what we believe from his description to be the primary burial. Around them was built a small chalk block wall, and the whole was covered by turves before backfilling the grave pit. The work was undertaken by Colin Shell (University of Cambridge) and Gill Swanton (Bristol University). The small field team included WANHS Field Group members and Bristol University Centre for the Historic Environment students, all working with good humour in less than desirable weather conditions. Mike Allen and Julie Gardiner kindly took samples for palaeoenvironmental analysis, including early 19th century turf- a perhaps rare example of a 'captured' insight into the landscape 200 years ago.

RCH 4: primary crouched skeletons, prob. of adult male and female, in same oval grave, which also contained 3 dozen perforated bone points, 3 ground flint axes and fragment of a fourth, perforated boars' teeth, 5 broken 'eagle-stones' and some pebbles of non-local origin, a perforated stone battle-axe, flat and grooved whetstones, 5 stone mullers, keeled sarsen muller, shale ring and beads, bone bead, bronze awl, and pebble hammerstone. The stone objects included a muller of Group I (P. 303), a muller of Group IIIa (P. 302), and 2 fragments of an axe-hammer of dolerite (P. 304). Wessex grave 82. AW i. 75-76, pl. v-vii; DMCat. i. 1-10 12 figs.; Soc.Ant. Cunnington MSS. i. 15-18 (N.B. Goddard reversed the siting of the last two barrows, and LV G has adjusted it in order to retain his numbering.)


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