Early bronze age tomb uncovered near Marlborough

, Early bronze age tomb uncovered near Marlborough
, Early bronze age tomb uncovered near Marlborough

A rare archeological find has been unearthed on a farm in East Kennett.

They have since surveyed the site, and believe there may be several more of them in the same field.

The burial chamber was discovered back in the summer when the Sarsen capstone collapsed and a small sink hole appeared in an arable field.

“For I ages I thought it was just another badger set but when I examined it more closely you can see that it is lined with stones and there is some kind of chamber there,” said farm owner James Cameron.

“It isn’t very big, probably a few metres square and dates from the Bronze Age.”

Archeologists have created a 3D CAD model from the surveys, and have described the find as ‘exciting’.

The team from Historic England also found more features that could be other prehistoric chambers.

They say a group of rectilinear features, possibly representing buildings or structures with shallow surviving foundations, together with the field system, are suggestive of a small Roman agricultural settlement

Wiltshire archeologist Melanie Pomeroy-Kellinger said it is not often that new megalithic structures are discovered, especially in this area.

Melanie, together with Neil Adam from the Council’s Archaeology Service, did an initial investigation noting the presence in the hole of a chamber lined with a series of unworked sarsen stones.

“The feature is very likely to be a megalithic square chamber, comprising a lower level of four large flat sarsen boulders that meet each other at the edges at roughly right angles,” said Melanie.

“On top of the lower sarsens, were two large sarsens, one of the north west side and one on south.

“The former appears to be a long flat stone, like a lintel.

“The feature is a bit mysterious but likely to be the top of a filled in prehistoric burial chamber dating to the Late Neolithic or Early Bronze Age, around 4,500-year-old.”

They think the hole has been created by a keystone at the top of the stone-lined feature collapsing into the interior, possibly as a result of the very dry weather experienced throughout March, April and May of 2020.

The reports on the surveys will be available via the Wiltshire Historic Environment Record in the coming weeks.

The area around East Kennett is dotted with ancient archeology, tombs, or tumuli, are scattered across the fields near the Ridgeway, and surround Avebury.

Further along the road is another curiosity, Silbury Hill, looking like a giant pudding bowl left outside to moss over. The last excavation of Silbury Hill took place in 2007 : re-entering the Hill to complete remedial works as well as a full archaeological recording. The work was published in 2014: https://historicengland.org.uk/images-books/publications/silbury-hill/.

The West Kennett Long Barrow – just a mile away – is one of the largest.

The barrow was constructed over five millennia ago during the Neolithic period, around 3600 BC, and archaeologists believe it was in use for about 1,000 years. It entombed the remains of least 46 people, including both cremated remains and unburnt bones.

During excavation, some of the skeletal remains were found disarticulated, with skulls and long bones missing. This has prompted the gruesome suggestion that the tomb was periodically opened so that bones could be removed for display. Many ancient artifacts like pottery, beads, and stone tools were also found in the tomb.

There is another long barrow, said to be the same age, on another patch of farmland near the village of East Kennett. It has never been excavated.

READ MORE: Police tell hikers to stop going up Silbury Hill

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