A “House of the Dead” dating back more than 5,000 years could contain the remains of the ancestors of people who built Stonehenge, archaeologists believe.
A Neolithic long barrow burial mound at Cat’s Brain, in Pewsey Vale, Wiltshire, is being excavated by the University of Reading in the first full investigation of such a monument in the county for half a century.
The long barrow, lies in the middle of a farmer’s field halfway between the two major stone circles of Avebury and Stonehenge, and its existence has been known for decades after a geological survey found the evidence of deep trenches.
The inner building, however, was thought to have been ploughed flat, and it was not until a drone was sent up recently that anyone knew part of it still survives.
The barrrow would have originally consisted of of two ditches flanking a central burial chamber which was probably covered with a mound made of the earth dug from the ditches.
Experts said it was surprising to find lasting evidence of the building and believe it may contain human remains buried there in around 3,600 BC.
It is hoped the Reading University Archaeology Field School investigation will provide crucial evidence from the early Neolithic period, which saw Britain’s first agricultural communities and monument builders.
15 Jul 2017