Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bartlow Hills Roman Barrows

The barrows are the largest group of Roman barrows in Northern Europe. Think Silbury Mound, high conical mounds sprouting a luscious green growth of plants. Seven originally, though now only three remain.

Set in a wood, approached along a dark and winding path, suddenly the space opens up. shading trees give way to bright sunshine. Their greeting is unexpected, closely hemmed in by trees, suddenly you are confronted by three miniature mountains. Steps up the side of the tallest barrow - 45 feet high. Built of chalk, similar to Silbury, these barrows house rich pagan burials of the late 1st to early 2nd century.
Large wooden chests, cremated burials, food and drink in exotic vessels of bronze, glass and pottery, these were foreign imported goods reflecting the high status of the deceased; concerned more with feasting and sacrifical offerings rather then take all this worldy wealth to the other world. Lamps left to burn, what did that signify? a light for the spirit to see as he departed this world.

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