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Excavation of the settlement on the Ham Hog

1868 72

Rev. Whitby Sterling, Vicar of Little Totterington

During the summer 1870 season we uncovered the remains of a pagan burial site on the outskirts of the settlement. We dug an exploratory trench across a low mound, and soon uncovered human bones. Seven people were buried under the mound, two boys, two girls, two men and a woman.The skeletons were lying in the ground, the children arranged on three sides around the adults. There were remains of bronze armour and a sword next to one of the men, and several of his ribs were broken, indicting that he had died violently. The others were apparently uninjured and lying as if asleep.

When we excavated further underneath the skeletons, it was obvious that the ground had not been disturbed, except in one place, and here we found the treasure that had been buried with these people. A large golden bowl and a stand for it, a magnificent torc, and a knife. There are sketches of them on the next page.

I therefore concluded that this was the burial of an important man, perhaps the chief of the village, who was buried with some of his wealth. The other people, are, I fear, poor souls who were buried with him according to their barbaric customs. Perhaps the woman was his wife, and the others his slaves.

Bowl and stand Torc