Pre-Roman and Roman Winchester - Vol. 2

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

5 INHUMATIONS: THE GRAVE

WE come now to the Lankhills inhumations. A total of 375 graves contained one or more undisturbed skeletons, and a further thirty-three burials contained skeletons that could only partially be excavated.1 Here, we will consider attributes of these inhumations connected with the practicalities of decent burial: alignment, the grave-pit, body position, the coffin, and the presence or absence of packing. The aim will be to define the relevant range of variation, to examine that variation in relation to men, women, and children, and to show to what extent it resulted from chronological change.

Of the408 inhumations, all but six belonged to a single person. The six exceptions are Graves 38, 79, 272, 294, 308, and 335 (Fig. 47). Graves 38 and 79 each contained an adult with a newborn baby, Graves 272 and 335 two adults, Grave 294 two children, and Grave 308 three adults. This practice of putting more than one body into a grave was not confined to any particular time in the fourth century: Graves 38, 79, 272, and 335 lay to the west of Feature 12, Graves 38 and 335 being cut by later burials, while Grave 308 was in Area E and Grave 294 in Area O. In the analysis that follows, these six graves each have to be treated as one unit when graves are being considered, and as two or more when attention is focused on such matters as body position.


i. ALIGNMENT

(Fig. 10; Table 5)

The site plan (Fig. 105) shows that the graves at Lankhills were not all aligned in the same direction. For the purposes of analysis, alignments relative to True North were calculated,2 and then divided into categories, from 225° to 294° (heads to the west and south-west) in intervals of ten degrees, and from 0° to 224° and from 295° to 360° in a single further category. The alignment of all but thirty-two graves fell between 225° and 294°.

A pattern can be detected in the distribution of graves aligned between 225° and 284° (Fig. 10). Graves aligned from 225° to 254° were concentrated in the western part of the site, west of the line continuing the west edge of Feature 6. Graves with an alignment of 265° to 284° were situated equally consistently in the eastern part of the site, to either side of Feature 12. Graves aligned from 225° to 264° were found in both areas, but were concentrated around the line continuing the west side of Feature 6. These different alignments allow the site to be divided into two overlapping sections. In the east section, where the graves were aligned from 255° to 284°, they are roughly at right angles to Feature 12,

____________________
1
These are respectively intact and partially excavated graves, as defined above, p. 16.
2
These are given for each grave in Table 2, col. 7.

-131-

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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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