5,500 years on Wiltshire farmer brings back the long barrow burial mound

Three days left.  When I read this story I wondered what archaeologists would make of it in 5000 years time.  What if we had to start again after some catastrophe, climatic, asteroid, nuclear?  It’s likely that most scientific knowledge would disappear and have to be re-discovered; physical records would soon decay, electronic records would be unreadable without the technology or the energy.  Stone would survive but we don’t write much on stone these days.  So archaeologists would be left with a baffling anachronistic barrow.  What would they think?  Here’s some imaginative speculation …….


The Hand of Man

The date …..
twenty-eighth of December, seventy thirteen.
The scene …..
a day to remember for the archaeology team
who unearthed the barrow.
Narrow, fifty metres long, why was it there?
What had gone on?
Why was it created five thousand years after others were made?
Was it the carapace-shell of a space-vessel gone hopelessly wrong?

The barrow lay secreted near Stonehenge,
itself the skeletal shards of an alien craft
whose sarsen shafts had once espoused
the awesome power derived from the quantum drive.

The barrow too was sarsen forged,
its geologic clocks, silicified stores
of particles of time,
in the stasis of the quartzite lattice;
a temporal beast
waiting for release,
unleashed to warp the continuity of space
and transport you instantly to another place.

Inside just ash.
All else atomised perhaps
and scattered by the winds of time,
sublimed elsewhere through vortices of Mandelbrot design.

All theory,
interpretation of reliquaries,
the chromosomes of history,
the DNA of antiquity,
as archaeologists strive to understand
the remnants of the hand of man ….. and alien.


28th December 2013 – headline from the Independent

Notes:  A tomb with a view – 5,500 years on: Wiltshire farmer brings back the long barrow burial mound.”  Tim Daw, 52, has been granted planning permission to create a 50m walk-in burial mound at his family farm near Devizes.  Several members of the public have already signed up to have their ashes buried there. It will contain seven circular chambers lined with niches for storing ash-filled urns. When full, the barrow could house the remains of up to 2,400 people.


3 thoughts on “5,500 years on Wiltshire farmer brings back the long barrow burial mound

    • I’ve always been fascinated by Stonehenge and similar structures. Went to Brittany a few years ago to see the incredible megaliths there, the stones were not as large but there were hundreds of them stretching in long parallel lines. You have to ask why so much effort was spent in constructing them. What was their purpose and why was it so important to the people of the time.

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