Church Lawton – human remains and radiocarbon dates

I’ve now received all of the results on the radiocarbon dates.  So today I thought I’d share some info on a site called Church Lawton in Cheshire.  This site has two round barrows, one north, one south.  A third was destroyed early last century.  Church Lawton North and South were excavated in the early 1980’s by Robina McNeil and Liverpool University.

The north barrow had two phases of construction and use and 19 cremation  deposits were found.  There may also have been an inhumation buried in a central pit but no bones survived.    As part of my research, I’ve analysed these cremated remains which shows that there were 24 individuals.  Within this number there were 5 juvenile individuals, of the adults there were both men and women.

There were numerous artefacts including pottery, bone pins and a perforated battle-axe.

Pit which contained cremation F20 which was associated with this battle axe

As well as the pits which contained cremated remains, there were also three pits which were called fire pits by the excavator, there were small amounts of cremated  bone in some of these, so they seem to have been part of the cremation rite.

The south barrow did not have any burials but was enclosed in a ring of standing stones.  There was also evidence for a structure there which is thought to have been a mortuary house. Within this structure a single fragment of cremated bone was found.  So it is possible that the two sites were contemporary.

Anyway, five of the cremated deposits were sampled for radiocarbon dating and the results show that these burials date from around 2115-16-91 cal BC.  Deposit F9 belongs to an earlier phase than the others.

Date ref Burial Years BP Dates cal BC %
OxA-26843 F9 3620 ±28 2115-1896 95.4
OxA-26842 F24 3495 ±29 1897-1741 95.4
OxA-26841 F20 3490 ±29 1893-1740 95.4
OxA-27096 F19 3486 ±26 1887-1744 95.4
OxA-26840 F14 3462 ±33 1883-1691 95.4

So that’s all for now.  Hopefully I will have time to post again soon!

If anyone is interested in how radiocarbon dating works, there’s a nice explanation on the Oxford Radiocarbon Unit webpage.  The link to  which I am currently having no luck in attaching here! I’ll try to attach it to my links list.

Also many thanks to staff at the Grosvenor Museum, Chester for allowing me to sample the human remains.

By for now

Sam

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