Visit to the Wor Barrow 23rd November 2015

Following our exploration of Winkelbury a few weeks previously, we fast-forwarded 12 years in Pitt-Rivers remarkable series of excavations and followed him to one of his most renowned sites – the Wor barrow (right on the boundary of his Rushmore land), where he was at the peak of his powers: lambasting other archaeologists for not recognising the quarry ditches around barrows and proceeding to total excavation of the barrow, to such an extent  that today the site consists of  a level platform surrounded by the excavated ditches and banked up spoil from both the ditches and the mound itself.

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On the Wor Barrow

Two round barrows within the scheduled area, also investigated by Pitt Rivers, appeared to be good candidates for a vegetation clearance party in the New Year and other opportunities for further work such as field walking and geophysics were also discussed.  The field notes Emma prepared for the visit can be found here – Wor Barrow Handout

A key aspect of the significance of these sites is that their use spans the transition between the Neolithic and Bronze Age. Great interest was expressed in further investigating the area around the Bronze Age Angle Ditch also excavated by Pitt Rivers.

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Examining the reconstructed Pond barrow in Fir Tree Field

Given the sunny but very cold conditions, the day would not have been the success it undoubtedly was without the use of Martin Green’s finds room at nearby Down Farm and, indeed, the participation of Martin himself in the events of the day. Whilst the morning was devoted to the Wor Barrow, in the afternoon Martin opened his private museum for us and also gave us a guided tour of the excavations he and organisations such as Wessex Archaeology and the University of Southampton have conducted on his farm. Not everyone seemed to be too keen to venture out over the 13 metre deep shaft which can be viewed from a specially constructed, and heavily insured, platform! The opportunity to appreciate and understand the landscape setting of a succession of prehistoric monuments, from the Dorset cursus, through long barrows, round barrows, a pond barrow to settlement sites, and not forgetting a Roman Road – all explained by someone who’s entire life has been spent in this landscape, would be difficult to replicate.

Thank you to David Chick for allowing us access and to Martin for taking the time to accompany us to the Wor Barrow and to show us round his museum.

Phil Planel and Emma Rouse (FoA Coordinators)

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