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Historic England Research Records

The Soldiers Grave

Hob Uid: 113227
Location :
Gloucestershire
Stroud
Frocester
Grid Ref : SO7937001520
Summary : A round cairn of Early Bronze Age (or possibly Late Neolithic) date located circa 200 metres north of the Nympsfield long barrow (SO 70 SE 6/Monument Number 113212) on the escarpment edge overlooking the vale of Berkeley. It was excavated in 1937and measured at 56 feet in diameter and 7 feet high, although previous unrecorded digging had left the centre resembling a large crater rather than a mound.. Beneath the centre was a rock-cut boat-shaped pit lined with drystone walling, which measured a maximum 11 feet in length and 4.5 feet wide, and was up to 3.75 feet deep and contained a large quantity of disturbed, disarticulated and fragmented human remains representing between 28 and 44 individuals, adult and children, male and female all being represented. Some animal bones (ox, pig and dog) were also in the pit, as were two sherds of pottery. The pottery and burials are undated but may be early Bronze Age or Late Neolithic in date.
More information : SO 794015 (1). A round cairn situated in a wood about 230 yds. north of the Nympsfield long barrow (SO 70 SE 6) and measuring 56ft. in diamter by 7ft. high, is known as the Soldier's Grave. When excavated by Mrs Clifford in 1937 it was found to have been opened many years previously, and the centre removed. The mound was built entirely of freestone, without any admixture of soil, and below it in the centre was a rock-cut boat-shaped tomb lined with dry stone walling, and presumed to have been originally covered by stone slabs, two of which were found nearby. In the tomb were the remains of between 28 and 44 individuals; and incorporated in the mound were the bones of one adult male. Pottery found in the tomb and mound, and examined by Stuart Piggott, dates the barrow as Early Bronze Age, although it retains the collective burial rites of the Neolithic period (2) The shape of the tomb may relate it to the late B1 Beaker-makers who spread from Gloucestershire to Brecknock and Glamorgan, where there are similar shaped vaults, thought to suggest a ritual belief in a voyage of the dead(3) (1-3)

SO79370152 A mutilated cairn up to 2.3 metres high with an off-centre, 1.5 metre deep pit. Surveyed at 1/2500 (4)

The soldier's Grave round barrow is suggested by Darvill as of a category that may be dated to the Neolithic period. (5)

Soldier's Grave. Listed by Kinnis as an example of a Neolithic round cairn with a boat-shaped rock-cut pit containing the fragmentary disarticulated remains of a minimum of 28 adults and children and plain pottery. (6)

A round cairn of Early Bronze Age (or possibly Late Neolithic) date located circa 200 metres north of the Nympsfield long barrow (SO 70 SE 6) on the escarpment edge overlooking the vale of Berkeley. It was excavated in 1937, although by then it had been considerably disturbed, presumably by earlier unrecorded excavations. In 1937, it was measured at 56 feet in diameter and 7 feet high, although the previous unrecorded digging had left the centre resembling a large crater rather than a mound. The mound consisted entirely of stone, with no earth content. A stone kerb also appears to have originally surrounded the foot of the mound. Beneath the centre was a rock-cut boat-shaped pit lined with drystone walling, the "pointy" end facing south. The pit is presumed to have been covered originally by slabs, some being found in the nearby woodland. The pit was a maximum 11 feet in length and 4.5 feet wide, and was up to 3.75 feet deep. The pit contained a large quantity of disturbed, disarticulated and fragmented human remains representing between 28 and 44 individuals, adult and children, male and female all being represented. Some animal bones (ox, pig and dog) were also in the pit, as were two sherds of pottery. Some potsehrds were also found on the edge of the pit, while further sherds and animal bones were contained within the mound, along with the skeletal remains of a further adult male. The pottery was considered at the time to be Early Bronze Age, although the sherds are undiagnostic and effectively undated. The collective nature of the burials has prompted comparisons with Neolithic burial practices, although again the remains are effectively undated. (2, 6, 8-10)

There were no visible earthworks of the round cairn described above (Sources 1-10) on available aerial photographs or lidar imagery, viewed as part of the Severn Vale NMP project, due to dense vegetation cover. (11)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society
Source details : O'Neil, H and L Grinsell. Gloucestershire Barrows
Page(s) : 98
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 79 (1), 1960
Source Number : 2
Source : Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society
Source details : Clifford, EM. The SOldier's Grave, Frocester, Gloucestershire
Page(s) : 214-8
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 4, 1938
Source Number : 11
Source : RCHME/EH/HE Aerial Photographers comment
Source details : Amanda Dickson 26/09/2015 Historic England: Gloucestershire County Council: Severn Vale NMP
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 3
Source : Prehistoric and early Wales
Source details :
Page(s) : 83
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 MJF 06-JUN-72
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 5
Source : Archaeology in Gloucestershire from the earliest hunters to the industrial age : essays dedicated to Helen O'Neil and the late Elsie Clifford
Source details :
Page(s) : 103, 134-6
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : Round barrows and ring-ditches in the British Neolithic
Source details :
Page(s) : 21
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : no.7
Source Number : 7
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 13-Oct-99
Page(s) :
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Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 8
Source : Prehistoric Gloucestershire
Source details :
Page(s) : 74
Figs. :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 9
Source : Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society
Source details : Oakley, KP. Cowry Shell and Flint Cores from Ashen Plains, Dursely, Gloucestershire [p95]
Page(s) : 89-95
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 64, 1943
Source Number : 10
Source : Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society
Source details : Clifford, EM. The Excavation of Nympsfield Long Barrow, Gloucestershire.
Page(s) : 188-213
Figs. : 4
Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Neolithic
Display Date : Neolithic
Monument End Date : -2200
Monument Start Date : -4000
Monument Type : Round Cairn, Pit
Evidence : Earthwork, Conjectural Evidence, Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Early Bronze Age
Display Date : Early Bronze Age
Monument End Date : -1600
Monument Start Date : -2600
Monument Type : Round Cairn, Pit
Evidence : Earthwork, Sub Surface Deposit

Components and Objects:
Period : Neolithic
Component Monument Type : Round Cairn, Pit
Object Type : HUMAN REMAINS, ANIMAL REMAINS, VESSEL
Object Material : Pottery
Period : Early Bronze Age
Component Monument Type : Round Cairn, Pit
Object Type : HUMAN REMAINS, ANIMAL REMAINS, VESSEL
Object Material : Pottery

Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Gloucestershire)
External Cross Reference Number : 79
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 32367
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1017036
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SO 70 SE 13
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 113212
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, THE SOLDIERS GRAVE, (BARROW, FROCESTER 1)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1937-01-01
End Date : 1937-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SO 70 SE 13
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1972-06-06
End Date : 1972-06-06
Associated Activities : Primary, SEVERN VALE NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2013-08-12
End Date : 2016-01-31