Britain’s Earliest Mummy and the People of Wor Barrow

Heritage Calling

Long barrows are the burial places of Britain’s early farming communities and are the oldest monuments surviving in our landscape. These earthen mounds acted as funeral monuments during the Early Neolithic (3700-3500 BC) and reveal much about the communities buried within them.

Peter Marshall, Historic England’s Scientific Dating Coordinator and Jonathan Last, our Landscape Strategy Manager, take us through new findings from an extraordinary long barrow excavated over a century ago.

bb81_03123.tif General view of Pitt Rivers’ pioneering excavation at Wor Barrow © Historic England Archive

Wor Barrow

Wor Barrow lies within Cranborne Chase in Dorset, an area renowned for its prehistoric archaeology. It was investigated by the ‘father of scientific archaeology’, General Pitt Rivers, during 1893 and 1894 and became the first Neolithic long barrow to be completely excavated and recorded to ‘modern’ standards.

Over 120 years later, the archaeological finds and field notebooks, now housed in Salisbury and South…

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