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Sibertswold Downs Grave 119

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posted on 2021-11-10, 14:43 authored by Helena HamerowHelena Hamerow
A very large tumulus; it stood almost close to the roadside leading from Long Lane (before mentioned) towards Waldershare. We could find no regular sides to the grave, but it appeared to have been only an irregular hole. Within about two feet of the natural surface of the ground, we found many of, if not all, the bones of an ox. Not satisfied with this, and finding the chalk still loose, we dug down about three feet deeper, when we came to the rock chalk in its natural situation, but found nothing more. About this time, some of the workmen were fruitlessly employed in opening, at three different places, a longish tumulus-like bank, which stood close, and parallel, to the same roadside. In all three places they found nothing but a very hard and dry red clay, to the depth of about four feet, when they came to the hard natural chalk. How this clay could come to be thus buried in the firm chalk, and that too in a tumulus form; from whence (for there is no such clay, as I was informed, anywhere in this neighbourhood), and to what purpose it could have been brought hither, is no easy matter to guess.[1] It was plain, however, that an hole had purposely been dug in the chalk for its reception; and the agger or bank which was thrown over it, and had the appearance of a tumulus, consisted of the loose chalk which was taken out of the pit or hole in which the clay was thus interred. I take this bank, however, to have been, not a tumulus, but perhaps a kind of agger, prætentura, or breastwork for the defence of the living, instead of a depository for the dead. It is, I think, worthy of remark, that this bank occupies much about the same situation, with respect to the tumuli in this burial-ground, that two such-like banks do at Kingston, with regard to the tumuli there, namely, on the north-east side of them, on the extreme verge of them towards that quarter, and close by the side of a high road. I had almost forgot to mention, that in digging through the agger, or loose chalk, a few oyster-shells, and some bones of animals, were found among the rubbish; and this too was the case in digging down the larger of those at Kingston, before mentioned.[1]For other instances of the like kind (viz., of foreign and adventitious clay, earth, stones, etc., being found in tumuli), see Philos. Trans., abridged by Martyn, vol. ix, pp. 446-8; and Morant's Essex, I, p. 196. - C.R.S.


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July 24th, 1772


Faussett 1856

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