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Chartham Down Grave 51

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posted on 10.11.2021, 14:56 by Helena HamerowHelena Hamerow
Middle-sized tumulus; grave about four feet and a half deep. The bones were pretty perfect; the coffin had passed the fire, and appeared to have been very thick, particularly at the head and feet. Nothing was found here, except the sherds of at least two ossuaries, or bone urns, of very coarse black earth; and a smaller one of coarse red earth. This last was almost whole, and would have contained a pint. The sherds of the ossuaries were carefully placed one within another, and lay all in a heap together. We found also many scattered pieces of burnt human bones, dispersed here and there; particularly part of an upper jaw, with seven firm teeth in it [M 6731]; and among the sherds of the ossuaries was a round lump of bits of bones, wood coals, and ashes, which seemed to form a kind of cement or mortar, arising, I suppose, from the calcination of the bones and the moisture of the earth. The ossuaries, no doubt, were disturbed and broken, and their contents spilt and I scattered, either by the persons who first raised this tumulus, they having, as I suppose, either destroyed,some adjacent tumuli for this purpose, or scooped off the neighbouring turf and mould so deep as to disturb them, and then thrown the turf, mould, urns, and all, indiscriminately into the heap which composed the tumulus; or (as I have often suggested before) they might very probably have been destroyed in digging the grave for the corpse whose remains we found here interred.[1] They were found in the grave, and about half way down. In digging through the tumulus, we found many of the bones and one horn of some animal, which we judged to have been a calf of about two years old; and some oyster shells.[1]See Gilton, No. 15.-C.R.S.

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