So, paired with my recent blog about Capel Garmon, I take you to one of the ‘classic’ trapezoidal Neolithic chambered tombs of the ‘Cotswold-Severn’ type. Just south of Winchcombe on the Cotswolds, English Heritage operate as custodians of the monument known as Belas Knap. Unusually orientated NNW-SSE, it was subject to excavations in the 1860s and again from 1928-30.
The monument is framed by Cotswold limestone drystone wallking in a well-maintained enclosure. There is a single heritage board just outside the stile.
Four chambers (B-E) intervene into the fabric, as well as the ‘portal setting’ of the front of the monument framed by ‘horns’ projecting from the mound. The false entrance covered 6 skeletons, 5 of which were infants. These were thought to be Early Bronze Age burials.
Chamber B (SE chamber) contained 2 male and two female skeletons.
Chamber C (NE chamber) contained 11/12 skeletons, one supposedly in a sitting position.
Chamber D (NW chamber) contained 14 skeletons including at least one child, plus an adult female with fatal head injuries.
Chamber E (S chamber) contained human skull fragments in the southern ‘tail’ of the monument.
Sadly, there is no up-to-date guidebook regarding this fascinating monument, and details of its topographical and landscape situation, and its monumentality and mortuary rituals aren’t discussed in comparative terms.