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Perceptions of the Prehistoric in Anglo-Saxon EnglandReligion, Ritual, and Rulership in the Landscape$

Sarah Semple

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199683109

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199683109.001.0001

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(p.242) (p.243) Appendix 1 Burials of fifth- to eighth-century date in the East Yorkshire study area

(p.242) (p.243) Appendix 1 Burials of fifth- to eighth-century date in the East Yorkshire study area

Perceptions of the Prehistoric in Anglo-Saxon England
Oxford University Press

Birdsall, SE8240 6290

B108 (Aldro group) excavated by Mortimer in 1868. D: 24.6 m with R-D. Central circular hollow contained a clean, burnt deposit of unurned, calcined bone. Finds included portions of burnt and fused bronze weapons, portions of two or three daggers ‘cast in a mould’, and many other pieces ‘twisted by fire’. A circular fragment of bronze, c.1.25 cm, set with a circular piece of polished rock crystal or glass and a second piece containing a similar glass setting were also present. Indications that the mound had been disturbed above this cremation deposit. Lucy suggests C5th/6th (Mortimer 1905: 56–7, figs 107–8; Lucy 1999: 24).

Bishop Wilton, Beacon Hill, Garrowby Wold, SE8123 5635

B69 excavated in 1866 by Mortimer. D: 13.4 m. A skull, parts of an arm bone, a spear-head, and portions of two blades from a pair of iron shears were located near the centre. A circular hole containing the calcined bones of an adult and portions of burnt wood were located in the barrow, indicating a prehistoric date for the monument. Lucy suggests C5th/6th, but Williams suggests C7th on the basis of shears (Mortimer 1905, 144–5; Baldwin Brown 1915: iv. 805; Meaney 1964: 288–9; Eagles 1979: 423; Williams 1996; Lucy 1999: 24).

Huggate, SE8580 5596

Cremation urn discovered in a chalk bank at Cross-Dykes pre-1984. The linear earthwork may be late BA in origin (Dent 1984: 33; Lucy 1999: 26).

Kilham, TA0792 6598

Several urns and other finds located in a chalk pit, c.2 miles from Kilham in C19th. Further finds include a C5th square-headed brooch, a radiate brooch with geometric decoration, a developed cruciform brooch of the C6th, five pairs of wrist-clasps, three pairs of flat annular brooches and two odd ones, a bronze ring, strap ends, two buckles and weapons including spear-heads, and a shield-boss (all at York Museum). Excavations in 1824 by Thomas Cape of Bridlington located in addition a skeleton in a sandpit ‘where we had formerly been successful’, head to the NW with the legs crossed. Buckle, brooches, wrist-clasps, and beads found near the lower part of the body. Lucy suggests C5th/6th (Mortimer 1905: 344; Smith 1912b: 87–8; Baldwin Brown 1915: iv. 806–8; Elgee and Elgee 1933: 180–1; Meaney 1964: 292; Eagles 1979: 211; Lucy 1999: 26).

(p.244) Kilham, TA0570 6460

Child burial with two annular brooches and a bronze pin. Lucy suggests C5th/6th (Eagles 1979: 438; Lucy 1999: 26).

Kilham, TA0740 6450

Six inhumation burials in coffins found in a water-main trench, pre-1979. Suggested C8th (Eagles 1979: 438; Faull 1979: 306; Lucy 1999: 40).

Painsthorpe Wold, Kirkby Underdale [B4], SE8221 593 [Meaney 8230 5820]

B4 of the Painsthorpe Wold group, prehistoric in date. Numerous interments likely to be prehistoric in date, but later secondary inhumations also present. One with fragments of Anglo-Saxon pottery and one occupying a central position at a rough depth of 50 cm, comprising a C female burial, head WSW, on right side, accompanied by an annular brooch, knife, beads, a bronze workbox, and the remains of a chatelaine, suggesting a C7th date. Other undated inhumations in secondary positions may also represent burials of C5th–7th date (Mortimer 1905: 114; Smith 1912b: 92; Baldwin Brown 1915: iv. 805; Meaney 1964: 295–6; Eagles 1979: 439; Williams 1996; Lucy 1999: 36).

Painsthorpe Wold, Kirkby Underdale [B102], SE8246 5826

B102 on the western margin of the chalk hills, D: c.9 m. A secondary burial (C) was found slightly below the base of the mound on its left side with an iron knife at the pelvis with impressions of woven cloth. C5th–7th (Mortimer 1905: 123; Eagles 1979: 209; Lucy 1999: 27).

Painsthorpe Wold, Kirkby Underdale [B200], SE8270 5850

B200 had suffered late disturbance but was established as a prehistoric barrow, and a thin bronze cup or dish and an iron spike belonging to the shaft of an Anglo-Saxon spear were found in a central position, implying a centrally placed, secondary burial had been disturbed. Possibly C7th (Mortimer 1905: 120; Meaney 1964: 296; Eagles 1979: 439; Lucy 1999: 27).

Uncleby, Kirkby Underdale, BX, SE8219 5941

D: 29 m, contained seventy-six individuals located in seventy-two graves. The bodies were laid on the surface of the mound and then covered in earth, increasing the dimensions of the mound. Those beyond the limit of the monument were in conventional grave-cuts. Most burials F. Orientation also varied. Burials showed a tendency to cluster towards the southern half of the barrow, with the highest concentration to the SE. A group of female burials were clustered in the SW sector of the barrow. Twenty had no grave goods and seven had knives only. Weapons were few. Grave goods included disc pendants, workboxes, a tripod ring bowl, and annular brooches with Style II animal heads. Placed in the C7th (Greenwell and Rolleston 1877: 135–6; Mortimer 1905: 118; Smith 1912a; 1912b: 89–92; Baldwin Brown (p.245) 1915: iv. 805–6; Sheppard 1919: 311–12; Elgee and Elgee 1933: 184; Meaney 1964: 302–3; Eagles 1979: 439; Williams 1996; Geake 1997: 159; Lucy 1999: 36).

Londesborough, SE8715 4625

Cemetery located adjacent to a Roman road. Chalk quarrying between 1870 and 1895 produced many inhumations with glass and amber beads, bronze brooches, bronze and iron buckles, iron knives, and food vessels. Additional discoveries with beads, buckles, and ‘iron blades’ suggest additional early Anglo-Saxon graves. C5th–6th (Mortimer 1905: 353; Smith 1912b: 77–8; Baldwin Brown 1915: iv. 804; Meaney 1964: 294; Sheppard 1919: 314–15; Swanton 1974; Eagles 1979: 441; Cramp and Miket 1982: 6–8, fig. 5; Lucy 1999: 27–8).

Market Weighton, SE870 410

Two burials S of modern settlement. A female burial (P) was located in a rock-cut grave with an amber and glass necklace, a pair of massive developed cruciform brooches, a single cruciform brooch, a possible belt plate, two pairs of wrist-clasps, a horn ring, a pair of girdle hangers, and pots, indicating a C6th date. The adjoining grave was that of a male of C7th date. A knife, buckle, spear-head, and part of a seax accompanied the male burial. No associated monumental structure (Sheppard 1906a, 1906b; 1907: 77; Sheppard 1909: 67, fig. 30–1; Smith 1912b: 74–5, 87; Sheppard 1919: 319; Meaney 1964: 295; Geake 1997: 158; Lucy 1999: 28, 36).

Nunburnholme, SE8640 4887

Three skeletons located in a chalk pit near a possible early route. All C, with heads to the E. Associated goods included silver earrings, silver finger rings, three brooches, two wrist-clasps, toilet implements, an urn, iron objects, a bronze buckle, and a bead necklace. Lucy suggests C5th/6th (Eagles 1979: 444; Faull 1979: 96; Lucy 1999: 28).

Rudston, TA097 677

A pair of C5th brooches found pre-1912 in the immediate proximity of the churchyard (Smith 1912b: 89; Baldwin Brown 1915: iv. 806–7; Meaney 1964: 297; Lucy 1999: 29).

Rudston, TA1132 6721

Inhumations were discovered in a sandpit. An inhumation burial with a knife is recorded and a biconical urn and iron spear ferrule with the remains of an additional inhumation burial. Eagles notes that these burials were made in or near a linear dyke, an association verified by the Royal Commission survey. A strap-end was also found at the same location, and in 1970 a coin of Eanred (810–41). Lucy places these burials in the C5th/6th. Records of the discovery of ‘small plain handmade sherds, a fragment with incised line and another with a hollow boss’ suggest fragments of Anglo-Saxon pottery and the possibility of cremation burials or perhaps settlement activity in the vicinity (Eagles 1979: 445; Faull 1979: 307; Lucy 1999: 29).

(p.246) Rudston, TA1121 6746

Urns, swords, and spears, probably of early Anglo-Saxon date, were found during landscaping at Thorpe Hall. C5th–6th (Sheahan and Whellan 1856: 489; Eagles 1979: 445; Lucy 1999: 29).

Rudston, TA1073 6657

Excavations of a large barrow D: 30.5 m provided extensive evidence of prehistoric burials. Five burials were identified as secondary Anglian burials: three, E and S, had ‘hands placed on hips’, another with head to the SW and C, and close-by another heavily disturbed secondary burial. The body positions of the three male burials found in close proximity suggest these are secondary burials, but of an indeterminable date (Meaney 1964: 296–7; Williams 1996).

Sledmere-Fimber Station, SE9076 6131/9104 6144

Undated human remains discovered during quarrying ‘at a point where the entrenchments are cut by the road to Sledmere’ some 366 m eastwards from the crossroads near Fimber Station. Human bones and ‘an iron sword’ were noted ‘where the road to Malton cuts the same entrenchments’, about 274 m N of Fimber Station. Lucy suggests C5th/6th. Given the presence of a sword, a C6th or C7th date is also plausible. An entrenchment recognized by Mortimer is shown on the 1st edition OS and is recorded in the name of the field: ‘Old Dike Plot’. The two groups of burials are both related to this linear entrenchment and are located only c.300 m apart (Mortimer 1905: 192–3; Eagles 1979: 448; Lucy 1999: 29).

Garton Slack I, Garton-on-the-Wolds, Sledmere, SE9566 6181

Numbers of skeletons discovered in C19th. Mortimer recorded forty-two graves in the earthwork known as the Double Dyke, all W–E and supine, twenty-nine Ex, one contracted and nine C. Fragments of Anglo-Saxon pottery and one or two knives, a spear-head, arrowhead, and a bone comb were found. The finds appeared to be residual, apart from the bone comb. In 1959, c.91 m to the E and beyond the cross-roads, seven W–E burials were located, Burial five with an iron knife and Burial two with a group of eight series G, J, K, and R sceattas contained in a purse under the left side of the pelvis, indicating a date of deposition after c.720–5. A large communal cemetery of mixed sex is suggested, associated with an older linear earthwork. The cemetery was in existence in the C8th. Survey by the Royal Commission indicates the presence of a curvilinear enclosure complex immediately S of the site that may be early medieval in date by comparison to sites like West Heslerton, Rudston, and Boynton. The pottery and animal bone may therefore be residual and derive from disturbed domestic contexts. The cemetery and settlement may not be contemporary. Garton Slack I and II can be identified, however, as groups of burials placed in a spatial relationship with this undated settlement complex (Mortimer 1905: 264–70; Smith 1912b: 82; Sheppard 1919: 313; Meaney 1964: 289–90; Grierson and Blackburn 1986: table 13; Geake 1997: 158; Lucy 1999: 40).

(p.247) Garton Slack II, Sledmere, SE9500 6100

In 1868 Mortimer excavated a barrow D: c.21 m positioned on a natural rise. Four secondary burials were located in the silted barrow ditch and comprised a juvenile burial (C), located next to some burned juvenile bones; an adult, head to the SE, with legs bent back from the knees; an adult positioned on right side, head to W, knees bent up, hands in front of the breast, with traces of the bones of an infant NNW of the skull. No objects were found in association. An even shallower burial, head to the N and knees bent, was associated with two corroded pieces of iron, a knife, and a long iron point, found in the belt area. In 1872 a further burial (C) and accompanied by pig bones was located on the extreme northern edge of the prehistoric mound. This burial group suggested by Mortimer to lie some 200 yards (c.182 m) S of Garton Slack I. The position has remained unknown, but the Royal Commission survey shows a curvilinear settlement complex within this area (see pp. 34–5 and Fig. 2.8). Two ring-ditches are apparent as part of these crop marks and one is located c.182 m S of the linear earthwork (Mortimer 1905: 245–6; Smith 1912b: 80–1; Meaney 1964: 290).

Warter, SE8990 5310

A complex of five prehistoric barrows (D: c.18–24 m), E of Blanch Farm, produced an inhumation burial with a sword and pot. Precisely which barrow contained this inhumation is unknown (Mortimer 1905: 322; Eagles 1979: 451; Williams 1996; Lucy 1999: 30).

Wharram, SE8360 6272

Two skeletons were located in the up-cast of a ditch cutting a prehistoric round barrow (D: c.14 m): a male inhumation, supine, and parts of disturbed skeleton. No accompanying objects were located. The burials were disturbed by a later linear ditch, perhaps demarking the parish boundary which bisected the barrow and ran the length of the entrenchment. An upright post had been erected on the barrow at some point (Mortimer 1905: 50–2; Meaney 1964: 303; Eagles 1979: 422; Williams 1996; Lucy 1999: 30.)

Fimber, SE8940 6060

‘Church Hill’ barrow stood on a natural prominence in the centre of the village of Fimber. In 1869 the old church was removed and foundations for the new structure were excavated. Traces of an earlier and larger church structure were evident with signs of burning. It had stood upon an oval mound constructed of horizontal beds of clay, interspersed with patches of loose flint. At the W end of the church, beneath the position of the old tower, c.1.5 m below the present surface and 0.9 m below the debris of the original church, were some animal bones, carbonized wood, a flint axe, and several small urns. To the SE there were indications of a trench c.2 m deep extending due S, and many ox teeth and animal bones were noted in the fill. Within the new church foundations, at a depth of c.30 cm, an adult skeleton was discovered, with the burnt bones of a juvenile below. Struck flints were discovered and an oval grave containing an adult skeleton, head NW (C), accompanied by struck flint and a food vessel. A further burial near the E-end of the porch was found with a pennanular brooch close-by. Another burial near the eastern end was unaccompanied, but a curious article of bronze and (p.248) copper lay close-by. Later in the C19th some 73 m SE of the church, the remains of six or more bodies (C) were recovered accompanied by fragments of iron and pottery. The skeletons were female and juvenile. These burials were made close to the York Street Roman road (Mortimer 1905: 190–2; Smith 1912b: 79; Meaney 1964: 288; Eagles 1979: 431; Faull 1979: 319; Williams 1996; Geake 1997: 158; Lucy 1999: 35).

Kemp Howe, Cowlam, Cottam, SE9616 6628

B209, excavated by Mortimer in 1878, proved to be a prehistoric long barrow modified into a round barrow. D of combined monuments: 26–30 m. Six unfurnished adult interments on the SE side were in narrow graves, knees F, heads to the NW, and no goods. Five of the burials were dug into the mound and one was positioned in the ditch. Subsequently, in 1969, twelve burials in ten graves were located during re-excavation of the site by Brewster. Brewster’s graves A and B, from the mound, are suggested to be Mortimer’s graves four and three respectively. Geake suggests that the burials were arranged W–E to S–W and N–E with heads towards the centre of the mound. Although Lucy suggests seven burials were in coffins and Williams cites five with coffins with corner straps of iron, citing Wilson and Hurst (1969), Geake argues that one was buried in a coffin with a hook fastening and the layout of two others suggested the presence of coffins. Calibrated radiocarbon dates from two burials are centred between AD 725 and 745. Two sunken-featured buildings and a further possible post-built structure were identified. Activity continued after the Conquest: a stone-lined pit was located in the forecourt of the long barrow, containing Staxton ware and C13th–14th-pottery (Mortimer 1905: 336–7; Meaney 1964: 292; Wilson and Hurst 1969: 241, 285; Eagles 1979: 427; Faull 1979: 303; Williams 1996; Lucy 1999: 40).

Thwing, TA032 708

During the 1970s and 1980s a settlement of Anglo-Saxon date was discovered and excavated within a prehistoric circular earthwork. A cemetery was positioned centrally in the enclosure containing at least 132 individuals. It may have been associated with a mortuary chapel. Twenty-six graves had coffins or chest fittings, and wooden markers were found with a similar number. Two anomalous decapitated burials were found. Amber and glass beads and a knife were located in one grave, radiocarbon‐dated to AD 789–992. Other dates centred on the C7th–8th. Further calibrated dates obtained from bones are 410–670, 434–643, 642–758, 650–860, 673–852, 724–961, and 781–991. The cemetery is associated with the settlement. The use of coffins and grave markers, as well as the presence of a possible chapel, suggest a Christian community, but the mix of male, female, and juvenile graves argues against a monastic establishment (Geake 1997: 159; Lucy 1999: 40; Terry Manby: pers. comm.).