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revolution: the current trend is that all Bronze Age pottery whatever it may have been called in the past should be assigned to the Early Bronze Age unless proved otherwise. Thus all the various barrows with urns in them which have hitherto been spread out over the Middle and Late Bronze Age must also be brought back to the Early Bronze Age. What, then, is left to fill the gap? In the Iron Age the absence of any formal burial is by now a well-known characteristic of the period. Whatever means of disposing of the dead were used— exposure, perhaps, or ritual cannibalism—they certainly left few traces. When did this absence of burials begin? Should we put it back to the Late or even the Middle Bronze Age? The Middle Bronze Age is thus the crucial transition period between the barrow burials of the Early Bronze Age and the non burials of the Iron Age. Thus any burials which can be firmly assigned to the Middle Bronze Age become of crucial interest and importance.

Barrow and Platform

The Itford Hill cemetery consists of two parts, a barrow and a shapeless flint 'platform' adjacent to it in which less than half the cremations were found. The barrow itself is a most miserable affair, It may indeed have been in the great round barrow tradition, but if so it must be considered as the last dying representative of that tradition. The primary cremation was, it is true, at the centre, consisting of a middle-aged man whose burnt bones were placed in a large inverted urn set in a small pit. However, there was only the slightest apology for a mound — it was only 10 in. in height, unless indeed it had been ploughed away in antiquity. The ditch around the outside was equally meagre, being extremely irregular, averaging 18 ft. internal diameter, and with a maximum depth of only 15 in., and mostly only 9 in. deep.

By this time the round barrow tradition had evidently become thoroughly confused, for the ditch was not continuous and there was a causeway on the south, forming an entrance, as if the round barrow tradition was by now confused with the henge monument tradition. However, even this was somewhat unsatisfactory, for although the ditch terminal was reasonably distinct on the eastern side, on the west the ditch simply petered out, to leave a causeway by omission. It is evident however that differential weathering of the subsoil had lowered the chalk outside the central area by 6-10 in., and this could account for the shallow ditch-terminals.

They also knew that a stake circle usually formed part of the rites, but they did not quite know where the stake circle should be, so they erected the stakes along the bottom of the ditch instead of in the mound. Once the ceremonies were over, the stakes were withdrawn and the ditch was refilled with a mixture of topsoil and flints before there was even any time for silting. However, there was time to put a cremation—a scatter of burnt bones and a few sherds of pottery—on the bottom of the ditch.

The main area was just outside the barrow, to the south and south-west beside the entrance. In the south-west there was an area of natural and knapped flints—it was not exactly a platform—and the cremations were in and under the flints. The area had already been disturbed by the digging of shallow irregular pits and hollows which looked as if they might have been quarry pits for flint nodules. These were filled with the same mixture of topsoil and flints as above, though with fewer struck flakes. There was a total of 16 cremations in all including the primary, representing a maximum of 19 and a minimum of 16 individuals. Only four of them were buried with a more or less complete pot, the others only having a few pot sherds. It would appear that old, damaged or repaired pots were chosen as receptacles for the cremated bones. A particular example was burial 10, which was found clearly undisturbed under a layer of flints. The whole deposit was dug

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