Max Dacre (extreme right) directs the progress of the excavations. Under each piece of polythene lies an urn. Photo: Andover Advertiser.
"Of all the dreary sights to be seen in our museums, none is more inevitably dreary than the contents of an average large DeverelRimbury cemetery: row upon row of urns...."
— Jacquetta Hawkes.
T HE cemeteries of the late Bronze Age are usually considered to be among the dullest archaeo logical sites, merely a series of holes in the ground, each containing an urn of indescribably coarse pottery, which the archaeologist extracts as best he can and carries off to his workshops. There, with the help of his computer, he analyses their shape, works out a typological series, computes their date and, finally, with a sigh of relief, consigns them to the nearest museum. The cemetery at Kimpton is different. Here Mr. Max Dacre, a local amateur archaeologist has been carry ing out one of the most meticulous excavations yet seen in this country, and has begun to reveal how these urnfields were constructed and the ritual that lay behind them.
The cemetery lies in Hampshire five miles northwest of Andover, at Kalis Corner, Kimpton (Grid ref.: SU 288480). Half a mile to the northeast is an Iron Age A settlement, discovered in 1896 and known as Redenham, and, significantly, an old disused right of way leads from the settlement down across the urnfield. The land is owned by Mr. W. G. Flambert, one of those knowledgeable farmers who take an immense interest and pride in their land. He had long been aware of a stony patch in the middle of his field, but, before using his new deep plough to break it up, he picked up a few pieces of pot and took it along to the Andover Archaeological Society and persuaded them to carry out excavations. With his close co-operation the site has now been open for more than two years, and the excavations will probably continue for another couple of years until the cemetery is completely excavated.
Progress is based on a series of detailed plans by Richard Warmington in which the whole area is plotted, stone by stone.
The cemetery consists of a large platform of interlocking flints; the platform is irregular in shape, as shown on the plan, two or three flints deep, perhaps some 9 in. The flints are very carefully fitted together so that it is impossible to