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Eamonn Baldwin

The anatomy of round barrows within the Stonehenge landscape: A case study in fusing archaeological prospection data with high resolution terrain models.

Dir. PD Ao. Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Wolfgang Neubauer
Prof. Vincent Gaffney

Case study

The structure of the British round barrow has long been accepted as being characterized by distinct and recurring forms which are the result of deliberate intent on the part of their builders (Field 2010). Deviation from these forms and characteristics are therefore intentional and important. Identifying and understanding deviations from the accepted pattern of structures has become increasing difficult. Intrusive investigations of extant round barrows have practically ceased and as David Field points out (2010) recent barrow investigations are now restricted to ploughed out examples where the mound has failed to survive; consequently, archaeologists are now reliant on the records of 200 years of excavations of varying standards for information relating to prominent superstructure of the round barrow monument class. What reliable records exist from 20thcentury excavations demonstrate complex sequences of reuse over time – nonetheless little is understood of the domed superstructure itself, and of its design and construction, as the majority of investigations have targeted the funerary nature of these monuments (i.e. burials and grave goods). Not every round barrow contained burials and may have functioned in a ceremonial, rather than a funerary, capacity; in many documented instances the mound structure masks preceding monuments of equal importance which now remain hidden buried. It would therefore seem appropriate at this point in time to turn to the non-invasive techniques of remote sensing (i.e. geophysical survey) for assistance in furthering our knowledge of earthen round barrows by the systematic investigations of this monument class within a landscape setting.

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