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Ratfyn Barrow - Amesbury, Wilts
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Norfolk12
N 51° 10.537 W 001° 44.871
30U E 587529 N 5670099
Quick Description: An ancient Burial Mound on the edge of Amesbury in Wiltshire. A Group of four Bronze Age burial mounds, possibly excavated in the 19th century. Scheduled Monument.
Location: South West England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 10/26/2012 4:50:17 AM
Waymark Code: WMFJEG
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member greysman
Views: 1

Long Description:
The site is off a bridle way and you need permission to enter the area but can be seen from the sign .
The sign is very weathered and almost unreadable .

To the northwest, within the town of Amesbury, were the Ratfyn Seven Barrows that William Stukeley sketched in the 18th century.

Recently the hill became known for the discovery of three quite different and remarkable Beaker graves: the so called "Amesbury Archer", his "Companion" and the "Boscombe Bowmen" (radiocarbon dated to 2400–2200BC). These are amongst the earliest copper age burials to be found in Britain: the archer is the richest, while that of the bowmen contained more individuals than any other known Beaker grave. Between them these burial pits contained well over 100 objects, including no less than 13 Beaker pots and items of gold and copper.

That the archer came from an area of much colder climate than Wessex, where he was buried, and hence perhaps from central Europe; that the "companion", born locally, travelled to central Europe in childhood and back; and that three of the bowmen came from an area of older (pre-Mesozoic rocks) typical of parts of Wales, Northwest England or Scotland, though some areas of the continent cannot be ruled out: merely emphasised the exceptional nature of these burials and their wider connections.

However, these are just three of some 22 graves and pits that contained the remains of over 38 individuals. Together they throw much light on the murky world of copper age (Beaker and late Grooved Ware) and early bronze age burial practices, around 2400–1600BC. And though most graves apparently had no covering round barrow – if no doubt marked in some way – they were not alone on the down, as a number of structures and enclosures have also been identified.

Amongst these were a large pit circle 60m in diameter – similar to the Aubrey Holes at Stonehenge – an enigmatic four-post setting or building with a central pit, and a pit and post alignment reminiscent of façade-like structures sometimes found with late neolithic ritual buildings or temples. All have been radiocarbon dated to the mid 3rd millennium BC. Pits in the alignment contained a possible dog burial, cattle bone and cremated human bone. Near these sites were groups of pits with Grooved Ware: most contained used and broken pottery, flintwork, food remains and hearth material, although cereal was notably absent. One was exceptional in that it held over 100 flint scrapers and evidence for scraper manufacture. It also contained Cornish stone axe fragments and badger teeth!

Only half of the burials (a mix of inhumation and cremation) were accompanied by a Beaker, or more rarely, a bronze age Food Vessel or Collared Urn. This may not be as unusual as it sounds. Although of course we know very little of organic items that may have been left with the body – in textile, leather or wood for example – most such burials typically reveal only one or a modest number of grave objects.

A recurring theme at Boscombe is the physical revisiting of graves. This may have happened with the archer's, and was certainly the case with the bowmen's, with its sequence of burials and rearranged bones and pots. The latter was eventually covered by a barrow, that became a focus for other burials, mostly of children: one was that of a boy buried with an amber necklace, who has his own extraordinary story that we will hear soon. This barrow in turn was not alone, and appears to have been part of a linear cemetery now mostly hidden under housing. Further barrows were recorded here in the 1950s and 1990s, along with the more recent discovery of Grooved Ware pits and another Beaker burial.

above details from
Type of Historic Marker: site of burial mound

Historical Marker Issuing Authority: English Hertitage

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Age/Event Date: Not listed

Related Website: Not listed

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