There are a group of three Bowl barrows on the weaver hills that I wanted to locate and investigate. Bowl barrows are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. These have been left untouched and unexcavated which makes them very rare indeed within Staffordshire. Historic England say for certain that these “will contain undisturbed archaeological deposits.” I’m immensely fascinated by the thought of what could be found underneath one – we could come face to face with a person and their belongings who lived around these parts over 2,000 years before Jesus was born. The mind boggles!
There are some artefacts in the Potteries Museum from these hills so I was keen to explore these Scheduled Monuments for myself.
The two closest together are located right on the top of the highest points overlooking the east towards Ashbourne and Wootton. The first (with the Sheep on the top) is around 1.5m high with a slight dip in the centre. The second has a fenced off tree on top and is the largest of the barrows standing around 2m tall. It has a spectacular viewing bench in front of it and a curious large, ancient looking stone laid flat. A third has a slightly wider diameter but is not as tall but there is an old, disused concrete surface over the top of it with some very curious objects embedded into the concrete and a locked cover over something. This is perhaps something to do with the war but I would love to know more about it.
I wondered in particular about the people buried here, they would have been significantly important people to have had bestowed up on them such important spots designated for their burials. Perhaps they were warriors or religious leaders of their times. As they were being constructed the view over the planes would have not looked dissimilar to what it would have today.
Date of visit – 18 January 2020