Archaeologia Volume 3 Section XXVIII

Archaeologia Volume 3 Section XXVIII is in Archaeologia Volume 3.

Account of opening one of the largest Barrows on Sandford Moor, Westmoreland, in a Letter from Mr. William Preston, dated Warcop Hall, Sept. 5, 1766, to Bishop Lyttelton (age 52). Read at the Society of Antiquaries, Nov. 6, 1766.

The labourers began by driving a level, and for some time found nothing worth notice. At length one of them, digging on the top of the barrow downwards, turned up, within half a yard from the surface, a piece of an urn, and soon after came to what he thought an urn, fixed in a large pot or vessel, and containing a small quantity of white ashes. On one side of it, but somewhat lower, lay a broad two-edged sword, broken in two, the whole blade measuring in length better than two feet, and two inches and an half broad; the head curiously wrought. On the other side lay the head of a spear, and some other instrument which Mr. Preston could not tell what to make of. All these instruments were nearly destroyed by rust. About a yard below these the workmen came to an orbicular pile of stones, resembling a vault, above seven yards in diameter, and above six yards high; the stones of various kinds, such as are not found on or near that moor. These were covered with a thick layer of dry sand, none of which had fallen in among them; which Mr. Preston accounts for, by supposing this covering to have been formerly of turf, with the heathy side downwards, which is now become sand. On removing this pile, they came to a fine black mould, about three inches deep, covering a square of about two yards, and lying as near as they could guess under the place where the sword, &c. were deposited. Here they found only some burnt bones. Under the whole lay a bed of gravel.