Pre-Roman and Roman Winchester - Vol. 2

By Giles Clarke; J. L. MacDonald et al. | Go to book overview

4 CREMATIONS

THE most obvious, although not necessarily the most significant, aspect of funerary practice is whether the body was inhumed or cremated.1 This choice will have affected almost every other attribute of burial. Only seven of the Lankhills graves were cremations, and these we will now consider in full.

Three types of cremation can be recognised. The first is where the cremated bone had been put in an urn, and the second where there was just an isolated pile of cremated matter in the topsoil. In neither case is there evidence that the actual burning took place in the vicinity. The third type of grave, of which there were two examples, involved the digging of a pit suitable for an inhumation, into which burnt remains were deposited from a pyre close at hand.


i. SIMPLE URNED CREMATIONS (Graves 26, 237, and 361)

In Grave 26 the urn rested on the chalk subsoil and only its base had survived ploughing. The urn in Grave 237 was set about 0·1 m into the chalk, and most of it too had been destroyed. Grave 361 was cut into the boundary ditch, Feature 12, and had survived intact because the ditch was still a hollow when the burial was made.2 The urn was packed around with flints and tiles, and covered with a tile whose upper surface was probably at ground level when the grave was dug (Figs. 7 and 46). The tops of the urns in the other two graves were also probably originally at ground level. Very little cremated bone was associated with any of the burials, and although it might have been removed by ploughing from Graves 26 and 237, this could not have happened with Grave 361. It is more likely that only a token amount of cremated bone was placed in the urns, the rest perhaps being left at the pyre. There were no coffin-nails, hobnails, or other grave-goods.


ii. CREMATIONS IN THE TOPSOIL (Graves 420 and 454)

These both consisted of a pile of cremated material. Both were found in Feature 12, stratified in layers of topsoil formed while the ditch was used for burial.3 There was no evidence for a true pit; but neither cremation was scattered as would have happened had it been left on the surface. Both were probably inserted under a piece of turf. As they were cut by later graves, it was not possible to determine how much bone had originally been

____________________
1
For comments on the difference between cremation and inhumation,, see above, p. 112, and below, p. 350.
2
See above, p. 103 and Fig. 7.
3
For Grave 454, see above, p. 103 and Fig. 7. Grave 420 was stratified above the mound-layers of Grave 426, on the west slope of the ditch, and was cut by Grave 421.

-128-

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Pre-Roman and Roman Winchester - Vol. 2
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Author's Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • List of Figures xvii
  • List of Tables xxi
  • List of Abbreviations xxiii
  • Introduction li
  • Part I - The Excavation 1
  • 1 - Circumstances of Excavation 1
  • 2 - Archaeological Background 4
  • 3 - General Character of the Excavation 12
  • 4 - The Graves *
  • 5 - Other Features 96
  • Part II - Analysis 111
  • 1 - Introduction 111
  • 2 - Chronology 113
  • 3 - Age and Sex 123
  • 4 - Cremations 128
  • 5 - Inhumations: The Grave 131
  • 6 - Inhumations: The Grave-Furniture 145
  • 7 - Cemetery Organisation 183
  • Part III - The Finds 201
  • 1: Introduction 201
  • 2 - Coins 202
  • 3 - Pewter Vessels 206
  • 4 - Glass Vessels 209
  • 5 - Pottery Vessels 221
  • 6 - Animal Remains 239
  • 7 - Equipment 246
  • 8 - Cross-Bow Brooches 257
  • 9 - Belts and Belt-Fittings 264
  • 10 - Beads and Necklaces 292
  • 11 - Bracelets 301
  • 12 - Other Personal Ornaments 315
  • 13 - Hobnails and Footwear 322
  • 14 - Miscellaneous Objects 326
  • 15 - Textile Remains 329
  • 16 - Coffin-Nails, Coffin-Fittings, and Coffins 332
  • 17 - Human Skeletons: Preliminary Reports 342
  • 18 - Economic Conclusions 345
  • Part IV - Discussion 347
  • 1 - Late Romano-British Burial Practice 347
  • 2 - Foreign Elements 377
  • 3 - Religion 404
  • Concordances 434
  • Addenda 451
  • Index of Sites 517
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