Neolithic Burial Mound

In recent months I have been immersed with some real life stuffs, and following some of my other than www interests.

Along with another local antiquarian Bob Heyes, and with the help of local Archaeologist and TV Presenter Mark Olly alnig with numerous Volunteers, we have been instrumental in the discovery of a Neolithic Burial Mound.

we have a few known mounds locally, windmill hill, and Castle Hill are both listed in this megalithic website, but we have other mounds that are not, and this mound we excavated was one of these lesser known local ones

Lady Hill Mound

Its never been clear what the mound really was, it may possibly have turned out to be a natural feature, it could have been a mound from a watchtower, Celtic or Roman, as we have a known Roman Road running right through the area, we even considered that it could have been the base for an Armada Beacon, an Archery Butt, or something to stand a target on for firing cannons at. we considered and research every possibility suggested, but none wholly fitted the bill.. So we decided it had to be investigated.

We enlisted the help of local Archaeological Societies, getting Wigan Archaeological Society to undertake a geophysical survey of the mound, but this didn’t provide to much information, so we decided to go ahead and organise a community based dig, asking for volunteers from my Newton-le-Willows website, and also acquiring the services of local Scouts, who were in need of a project to work upon, while they completed a 4 night and 3 day Duke of Edinburgh, Gold Badge.

We asked Mark Olly to oversee the dig as Site Director, and then through Mark Olly we enlisted the help of volunteers from his Celtic Warrington Project, visiting them on their regular archaeological site at Manley, Cheshire, to discuss our mound project and show them maps, photos, and what bits of history we had compiled together, concerned with the area around the mound, we also acquired through Mark Olly further help from South Trafford Archaeological Group (STAG), and from Metal detectorist Glen(?) who has appeared in one of Mark Olly’s Lost Treasure’s TV episodes.

The main dig was completed around three weeks ago, over what turned out to be a glorious sunny weekend, It soon became obvious that we were excavating something which was man made, and as we worked through the weekend, it turned out to look more and more like a burial mound, and or cremation platform on a mound, with a small Cist on the top.

We returned after the main weekend, for a second visit with archaeologists from STAG, and a few volunteers from my Newton-le-Willows website, later joined by some of the older Scouts, and on that visit, we discovered an intact Cremation Burial, within and below the Stones comprising the Cist like structure which sites atop the mound.

We have since had a site visit by Ron Cowell (curator of prehistoric archaeology) from Liverpool Museums, who has been advising on a course of action to get the mound listed and protected.

Mark Olly and the people from STAG had already suggested a date for the mound to be somewhere in the region of 1500BC-3000BC, Ron Cowell agreed with this, suggesting that the mound is of national importance, that its one of the best examples of Neolithic/Bronze Aged structures in Merseyside if not the North West, and that its one of the only sites which has provided an intact Burial with surviving Bone fragments. These charcoal and bone finds are to be sent for c14 dating, hopefully this will prove successful and give a defined date.

I am currently busy writing a report of the whole excavation, find, photos, drawings and video, and this will be put online sometime in the near future, after it has been submitted to the Merseyside Archaeological Service and English Heritage representative for our area.

In the meantime, I have put some of the raw video clips from the dig into my youtube account.

There are some other details and background info to all this on my Newton-le-Willows website forum, but for your benefit, and to save you having to sign up to read my forums posts, here’s a selection of photos from the excavation.

As I posted above, the corresponding video clips to these photos, are in a pretty raw mode, being straight from the camera, and unedited, they are online in my youtube account, here

I really wasn’t going to post details about this outside of my own website forum until such time that the report on the excavation was nearly completed, but since the link to my youtube account is already posted in other forums, I thought its best if I post some detail here, on what seems to be the centre of the megalithic www, to explain what’s been going on.

Please remember videos are not edited, they have been posted straight from the raw camera files, mainly for the viewing of those people who took part, they are in a date/time order, which means they show pretty well the progression of the excavation from arrival, to cremation discovery.

Hope you don’t mind the shaky camera work, it was never filmed with a view to being released beyond the people who actually took part in the community excavation, but its a good record, and no doubt will be added to the archive that gets submitted to the local Merseyside Archaeological Services etc, when it comes round to getting the mound listed.


Steven Dowd