The History Hunters files on Marshfield

The History of Marshfield

Pre-History Roman Saxon WW1 WW2

Pre-history Information:- Bronze Age Marshfield.

After this click on the Skeletons link which tells the story of a bronze age find.

Source:-Marshfield an archaeological survey of a Southern Cotswold Parish by V. Russett.

This vast time span (about 9,000 - 10,000 yrs ) normally yields little information in arable areas. Where an area has been intensively farmed as Marshfield has for the last two thousand years, survival of all but the contents of deep ditches is unlikely. Flint scatters of various prehistoric dates were found. Marshfield once possessed one of the finest barrow cemeteries on the Cotswolds. It lay on downland and was flattened for an extension of cultivation in 1947. at least seven, and possibly eight barrows of 'Bronze' age (1500-1100 BC) date existed. Accounts are however confused. Maps and the available evidence were examined together with reports of calcified bone around the ploughed out burrows. This was interpreted as the site of the burial barrows. They were located near to the Down rd near to the Wiltshire border.

The below coin was handed to me today (21/03/01) by a villager for scanning. It was found next to the road near to the barrows. Andy Gillis who is a Yorkshire based coin specialist states this is actually a Medieval french "token" and not currency as first thought.

A French "Token" A French "Token"
The Barrows of Marshfield Down, Down Road, Marshfield, South Glous.
Directions: Take the A420 from Marshfield 1/4 mile past the new school and turn left opposite Garstons Farm. The Barrow field is on the right about 2000yds along. Best observed in the summer when crop marks may be visible. ( Private Land ).
Barrow Gridref Notes:
1 79417450 Examined in 1947 and again in 1983 was of limestone construction. Only 5 flints were found including a scraper & Core.
2 79467453 Examined as above. The bulldozer driver reported a stone retaining wall. In 47 tiny pieces of 'Brown Ware' were found along with some calcified bone. This was interpreted as a plough damaged burial vessel of Bronze origin.
3 79527456 Examined as above. Unworked flints were found and the remains of what is thought to be a female. Other finds included 2 Amber beads, a small bronze awl, 42 flints , a scraper, an arrowhead (Petit tranchet). The chamber was bordered by local oolite blocks.
4 79537457 Examined as above. Possessed a dry stone retaining wall but plough damaged. A primary cremation chamber with remains of a male teenager, burnt stone and collared urn. There was also evidence of 3 or 4 other 'token' cremations. 124 flints , a fine geometric microlith of Mesolithic date, 3 scrapers, a fine flint knife, 2 cores, and a barbed and tangled arrowhead.
5 79477480 Examined as above. This is " St Oswolds Tump ". 93 flints found in 47' and only 2 in 83'. Finds also included 7 scrapers, a barbed and tangled arrowhead, 3 cores. More importantly the bulldozer driver took two bronze daggers found to Bristol Museum ( 1958 ). These were dated around 1500-1350BC but would be dated a little later now (1250-1350BC ). A stone cist,1.8mx0.5mx0.5m had been found, with the daggers and a quantity of calcined bone. Although the mound has disappeared, the ditch which surrounded it still survives, filled in, and still shows even from ground level, as a prominent crop-mark.
6 = Low mound. No trace found in the 1983 fieldwalk
7 = Low mound. No trace found in the 1983 fieldwalk
8 = Low mound. No trace found in the 1983 fieldwalk
9 79437451 Little or no sign of it in 1983

Due to the heavy soils around Marshfield and centuries of agricultural use, mass evidence of Iron & Bronze age materials in the area are hard to come by. This has a lot to do with the fact that manuring was a common practice and that artifacts tend to 'creep' down hill into river valleys or streams. The soils may also be very deep in parts and any items may still be on the way up ( If at all ! ). Other interesting elements to come out were that Oak Ash and Beech ( Charcoal Examination ) were in use in the middle of the Bronze age. The fieldwalks carried out on the Roman sites did on occasions reveal Bronze or Iron age artifacts but none so important as the bronze daggers. I will be contacting Bristol University for some photographs of them

From Paul Robinson at Wiltshire Heritage. I was looking into the Iron Age fort at Bury Hill, just over the border into Wiltshire. He replied:- Thank you for your enquiry about Bury Wood Camp, Colerne, Wiltshire. (Bury Hill Camp is a completely different site). This is an Iron Age hill-fort dating from about 300 to 100 BC. It then went out of use. In the early Roman period a building, which was probably a farmstead, was built, posibly just outside the entrance. This may be the predecessor of the large late-Roman villa located a short distance away under Colerne airfield. In the 1950's a series of excavations were carried out at the Camp by 'Bury Wood Field Club' under Dennis Grant King, a fairly meticulous and very competent archaeologist. He published four interim excavation reports in the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine but, sdaly, died before he could publish the final report of the excavation. It is hoped that Professor Barry Cunliffe from Oxford will undertake this. His assistants have started work on it, but there is no time fixed for the completion of the final report. If the skeleton was found a few miles away from the camp as you say, I see no real justification for associating them. There will have been many other sites of the same date, closer to where the skeleton was found than the hill-fort is, with which the skeleton might in theory have equally been associated. We may not know these sites yet but they will be there. I hope this helps. The finds made by Grant King at the Camp are in this Museum. Yours sincerely Paul Robinson

See also the Skeletons Of Tormarton