Extract from Wick Barrow Excavations report
Report on the Excavations at Wick Barrow, Stogursey, Somersetshire [Paperback] Harold Geo St. Gray (Author) -a modern copy of which can be purchased through Amazon.
VIII. THE BEAKERS, OR DRINKING-VESSELS, FOUND AT WICK BARROW
(1). Beaker found with Skeleton I. (Figured in Plate VII).
This hand-made vessel, moulded into elegant shape, was found in many fragments with weathered edges, and was probably buried in association with the skeleton in an incomplete and fractured condition. Three-quarters of the pot were recovered, and it was possible to restore about two-thirds of it.“ The cup falls under Type Bl of the Hon. John Abercromby's classiﬁcation, and is a form chieﬂy found in the S.W. of Britain. In general outline it most closely resembles (1) the beaker found near Almer, Sturminster Marshall, Dorset,“ and (2) that found by General Pitt-Rivers in Barrow 20, Rushmore Park, Wilts; both now in Farnham Museum, North Dorset.
Beaker No. 1 is an ovoid cup with recurved rim, and has a polished surface which almost amounts to glazing,—the result probably of burnishing with a smooth stone, or an implement of bone, or by means of a pad of raw hide, which would probably have produced the greasy-looking “glazing.”
Height of vessel, 6.25 inches ; ext. diam. at rim, 6.125ins ; max. ext. diam., 5.5 inches; diam of base, 3ins.; max. thickness of ware, excluding base, 6mm. ; the substance of the clay is black, the inner and outer surfaces brick-red, of a smooth paste, without any apparent grains of quartz or sand in its composition; sharp-rimmed on the outer edge owing to bevelling; inside the rim are three irregular lines of impressions of plaited grass.
All the line of ornamentation on the exterior are composed of rows of small oblong or square punctured dots. Horizontally arranged are four pairs of lattice bands consisting of crossed oblique parallel lines; each pair is divided by two rows of punch-marks, and the interspaces between the pairs of ornamental bands are filled up at regular intervals by rows of punch-marks which considerably overlap in places. Similar ornamentation, which is common, is seen on a beaker found in Barrow 7, at Sherburn, East Riding, now in the British Museum.
(2) Beaker found with Skeleton II. (Figured in Plate VIII).
This hand-made pot was found broken only to an inconsiderable extent, and has been fully restored. As a type it is rather earlier than the beaker found with Skeleton I, and it falls under the heading of Type a2 of the Hon. J. Abercromby’s classiﬁcation. The four beakers found in association with ﬂint daggers mentioned on p. 31 belong to the very earliest type of ceramic art of the Bronze Age, viz., Type a1 of Mr. Abercromby, whilst the fifth example noted there was too fragmentary for restoration.
The body of Beaker No. 2 is more or less globose, with a slight “shoulder” at the widest part. The height of the body is almost equal to that of the neck, at the base of which there is a constriction, but not so decided as in the case of Beaker No. 3. The neck is straight-sided, curving very slightly inwards at the lip. Height of the vessel 6.5 ins. ; ext. diam. at rim 4 15/16 ins, at base 3 1/16 ins., at bulge of the body of the vessel 4 5/8 ins. ; thickness of ware at the rim 7.5mm. ; the substance of the clay is brownish-black, the outer surface reddish-drab in colour, of a smooth paste like the other beakers.
All the ornamentation is made up of lines of small rectangular punch-marks. The top of the rim is stamped with a zigzag pattern. The whole external surface is covered with ornament, excepting the plain band encircling the vessel just below the constriction. The design of ornament is of early type and consists, on both halves of the vessel, of two lines of interlocking triangles ﬁlled with horizontal lines parallel to the base, leaving a plain bar-chevron interspace, averaging 3/8 in. in width, between them, which together comprise a most effective and ambitious style of ornament. In some instances, in the lower half of the vessel, the triangles meet or nearly so, the inter-spaces presenting themselves sometimes as bar-chevrons, sometimes as bar-lozenges. Thus it is seen that the bands of triangles ﬁlled with lines parallel to the bases formed the chief motif of the decoration, the plain chevrons and lozenges being of secondary importance. Chevron designs are common on early Bronze Age pottery, but the exact treatment displayed on this beaker is not precisely like anything that has been found previously, except in the case of the decoration on the neck of a beaker of similar form found by Mr. J. R. Mortimer in Barrow No. 4 of the Painsthorpe Wold Group, East Riding. Somewhat similar decoration is also seen on a beaker from Newhouse Farm, St. Fagan’s, Glamorgan, and now in the Cardiff Museum.
(3) Beaker found with Skeleton III. (Figured in Plate VII).
This beaker, also handmade, was found in many fragments, several of which had weathered edges as in the case of Beaker No. 1, from which it may reasonably be assumed that the vessel was buried in a fractured condition. About ﬁve-sixths of the pot were recovered, and it was possible to restore about three-quarters of it, the deﬁciencies being made up with plaster of Paris.
This vessel is larger than either of the other two found in the barrow, and is moreover of an entirely different type to Beaker No. l. Like the four beakers found in association with ﬂint knife-daggers mentioned on pp. 31, this example belongs to the very earliest type of Bronze Age pottery, viz., Type a1 of Mr. Abercromby’s classiﬁcation.
The body of the vessel is decidedly globose, with a “shoulder" slightly indicated ; the height of the body is almost equal to that of the neck, and the constriction in the middle is more pronounced than usual. The sides of the neck are straight, but do not splay out so much as in the case of Beaker No. 2. Height of the Vessel 7.25ins. ; ext. diam. at rim 5ins., at base 2 7/8 ins., at bulge of the vessel 5 5/8 ins. ; thickness of ware at the rim 5.5 mm. The substance of the clay is black, the inner and outer surfaces being of a light brick red colour; of a smooth paste. Like the other beakers, this cup was polished on the surface by means of an implement of bone or stone, or by a hide pad. As in the cases of the other two beakers the ornamentation is entirely made up of quadrangular dots. At the constriction there is a plain band encircling the vessel, like Beaker No. 2, and there is another plain band just below the widest part of the body. Between these plain bands the three compartments of ornament are of precisely the same character, consisting of an upper row of triangles pointing downwards and a lower row pointing upwards, the interspaces between them being partly ﬁlled by lozenges at regular intervals apart. The bases of the triangles do not touch one another, as is more usual. The triangles and lozenges are ﬁlled with the little punch-marks; one of the triangles, however, seen clearly in the illustration, Plate VII, was never completely ﬁlled with the indentations.
A somewhat similar design is seen on a beaker found in Sliper Low, Brassington Moor, Derbyshire, and another in Top Low, Swinscoe, Staffs, both of early type.
The three beakers were restored by Mr. and Mrs. St. G. Gray.
The Wick Barrow was excavated in 1907, the extract above is from the report produced then.
There is quite a lot of mystery surrounding the barrow, also known as the Pixies Mound. Hopefully the little folk will be happy with this project!
A Google search turns up quite a bit of stuff, the most interesting (but not necessarily accurate?) is this :-