(Ordnance Survey map grid reference TL 006211, on the Dunstable Downs on the edge of Dunstable in Bedfordshire, a quarter of a mile south of the junction of the B489 Icknield Way and the B4541 Whipsnade Road. A footpath leads from the bottom of Whipsnade Road.)
There are five immediately obvious bell and bowl-barrows in this group, but there are possibly two pond barrows here as well, although these have never been confirmed by excavation. Four of the barrows lie in a line oriented more or less north-south, with the fifth, northernmost, barrow offset slightly to the west of their line.
This last barrow is actually the oldest of the group, dating from the late-Neolithic period, around 2200 BC. It contained a crouched inhumation accompanied by a long flint blade-flake with one edge ground smooth. A secondary cremation, contained in a collared urn, had been added to this barrow in about 1500 BC. The other barrows in the group seem to date from early in the Bronze Age, around 2000 - 1800 BC.
Because the burial-mounds are right on the edge of the town, the location is easily accessible and well-frequented. Unfortunately this means the barrows have sustained considerable damage where walkers and cyclists have climbed or ridden over them... you can see in the photos an eroded path, quite deep in places, crossing the crests of the mounds.
(Click on the small picture below to go to the full size photo, then use your browser's "back" button to return to this thumbnail index... all photos © Adrian The Ageing Hippy unless otherwise stated.)
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