Finds from British Bronze Age Barrows

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    FINDS from the recent excavation of two bronze age round barrows, one at Stockbridge Down, Hampshire, and one at Reffley Wood, King's Lynn, Norfolk, are now on exhibition in the Prehistoric Saloon of the British Museum (Bloomsbury). Both barrows belong to the Early Bronze Age and date from about 1700 B.C. The Hampshire barrow was excavated by Dr. N. Gray Hill, and that at Reffley Wood by Mr. P. L. K. Schwabe and Mr. I. J. Thatcher. While the sites exemplify the two types of ground on which such barrows are found, namely, chalk down and sandy heath, in their characteristics they exhibit a striking similarity. In each the body had been laid approximately in the centre in the contracted position and accompanied by earthenware beakers. At Stockbridge the skeleton was in a remarkably good state of preservation and was accompanied by an almost intact beaker, but at Reffley Wood the skeleton had disappeared and no complete beaker was found, although the whole area under the mound was strewn with fragments. At both sites there were secondary interments in the mound, belonging to the later period of the Middle Bronze Age about 1400 B.C., when cremation was practised. In both barrows examples of the small segmented Egyptian faience beads were associated with the secondary burials. About eighty finds of Egyptian beads have now been made in Britain. The segmented type occurs in Egypt in the Eighteenth Dynasty from about 1600 B.C. onward, and is especially abundant at Tell el-Amarna (1380-50 B.C.). These beads have also been found in Hungary, Moravia, and Holland, and are thought to have reached Britain through Greece, travelling across Europe along the amber trade-route.

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    Finds from British Bronze Age Barrows. Nature 143, 971–972 (1939) doi:10.1038/143971c0

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