Cossington, Platts Lane, Leicestershire

John Thomas, 2008 (updated 2011)

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John Thomas
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Detail of the Barrow 1 ditches

Archaeological work during gravel quarrying at Cossington, Leicestershire, included the excavation of three Bronze Age round barrows (two excavated in 1976, the third in 1999), part of a dispersed barrow cemetery, located at the confluence of the Rivers Soar and Wreake. Barrow 1 comprised a single recut ring ditch, Barrow 2 a double ring-ditch. Barrow 1 was associated with a central feature and an Early Bronze Age cremation cemetery that grew around the south-eastern edge of the monument. Within Barrow 2, a sequence of Early Bronze Age burials included a cremation burial associated with Beaker pottery sherds, the crouched inhumation of a young child with associated grave goods, and a cremation burial accompanied by a Collared Urn. Barrow 3 consisted of a single re-cut ring ditch and the surviving vestiges of an earthen mound.

In the Iron Age, a settlement grew up around the remains of Barrow 3, represented by a roundhouse to the west of the monument and enclosures to the north. The barrow mound apparently retained some significance at this time, as it was the setting for several acts of deliberate burial of ceramic sherds and whole pottery vessels. This carried on into the Roman period when similar traditions appear to have been important and further deliberate pottery burials took place. Barrow 3 acquired fresh significance in the early Anglo-Saxon period when a settlement was established close to the monument. The mound now formed the focus for a small inhumation cemetery comprising at least four burials containing spears, knives, and other metal grave goods.

The archaeological work was funded by Wanlip Gravel Company, English Heritage, and University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS). The post-excavation work - funded by the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund through English Heritage - has resulted in the following publication:

Thomas, J. 2008: Monument, Memory and Myth. Use and Reuse of Three Round Barrows at Cossington, Leicestershire. University of Leicester, Leicester Archaeology Monograph 14.

Details of how to order the monograph can be found here.

Further information on the project can also be found on the ULAS website.