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Excavation of a Neolithic Barrow in Kent

Nature volume 142, page 747 (22 October 1938) | Download Citation



SIR EDMUND DAVIS'S excavation of Julaber's Grave, Chilham Hill, Kent, under the direction of Mr. R. F. Jesup, in continuation of the investigations of 1937, after a brief interruption during the recent crisis, owing to the absence of the director, has been brought to a close, after being carried to a point at which it was proved conclusively that the barrow is of neolithic age. Reports of the result of the excavation (The Times, October 1 and 12), state that a polished flint axe, about six inches long, with flattened sides, curved edge, and made of creamy white flint, was found in a layer at a depth of four feet six inches, in which were also rough sherds, a human tooth, pointing to a burial, and a number of flint flakes, such as are found only in the area of the mound in the adjacent cultivated soil. Traces of charcoal in the core of the mound, particularly in the neolithic turf layer, support the theory that the area was cleared by burning. The polished flint axe, which substantiates the neolithic dating of the mound, is of Scandinavian type, and, it is suggested, allies the mound with the megalith builders of the Baltic, rather than with the long barrow peoples of Dorset and Wiltshire. It is certainly significant that, as the report points out, Julaber's Grave, in relation to the other long barrows of Britain, stands in a position of isolation. Further investigation of the Roman burial containing the skeletal remains of three individuals, which was found in 1937, has revealed a remarkable, and at first sight puzzling, construction of flint at the southern end of the grave. This has proved to cover the burial of a man and a horse. The head of the horse, however, is missing, and the usual platter and bowl are in fragments. Apparently the burial had been disturbed; while the flint structure had been placed there to prevent the remains, buried in the side of the mound, from slipping into the ditch.

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