Iron Age burials at Owslebury (excavated 1961-72)
A site occupied from the 4th century BC to the 4th century AD
This complex site a few miles south of Winchester began life as a ‘banjo enclosure’. It was subsequently unenclosed, except for a ditch at the entrance, but in the early 1st century BC a number of ditched enclosures and trackways were dug and created.
The burials associated with the site suggest a small group of occupants made up of perhaps two families. Typically for sites in Britain, few intact burials relate to the Middle Iron Age (pre 100 BC) but among those that do are two infant burials found in a storage pit and the cremated remains of a child accompanied by two broken pots, a burnt bronze bracelet and a large glass bead.
One significant burial was of a male accompanied by weapons: a sword; a shield with a bronze boss, and a spear. The sword, in a wooden scabbard, was suspended from a baldric (buckled by a continental style bronze belt hook) attached by a leather strap and two bronze rings. The shield boss and belt hook date to the period 100 – 50 BC.
Two cemetery enclosures existed on the eastern slopes of the site. At the centre of one of them was a cremation in a large urn accompanied by six vessels with lids, dating to the local Late Iron Age. Another cremation was contained within a wooden box with four small pottery vessels.
Some of the grave goods are on show in the Museum of the Iron Age at Andover.
Excavations at Owslebury by John Collis.
Series by Dave Allen, Sarah Gould, Lesley Johnson, Jane King, with help from Stacie Elliot.