Tag Archives: Primrose Hill

“Boudicca’s Grave”

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Another in the occasional series on Prehistoric London …

“Boudicca’s Grave” is an interpreted Bronze Age round barrow near  the high point of Parliament Hill on windswept Hampstead Heath, consisting of circular mound some 36m (120’) in diameter and 3m (10’) in height, enclosed by a quarry ditch (*).  Elsewhere in the country, as in Wessex, such features typically contain buried bodies or cremated remains, accompanied by grave goods.  However, none have been found in archaeological excavations at this particular site, possibly on account of the acidity of the heathland soil.

E.O. Gordon, in his somewhat fanciful “Prehistoric London – Its Mounds and Circles”,  of  1932, alludes to the existence at that time of further barrows – “of the leaders of pre-Roman times” – on Primrose Hill and on the neighbouring  suggestively-named Barrow Hill (“the site to-day of a reservoir”).  He also refers to the levelling and loss of still others.

(*) Despite its name, it almost certainly has nothing to do with Boudicca, who was the Queen of the  Ancient British tribe  known as the Iceni in the – much later – Iron Age to Roman period.