Tumulus (destroyed): OS Grid Reference – TA 4160 1748
Archaeology & History
In and around East Yorkshire, the fabled Yorkshire antiquarians William Greenwell and J.R. Mortimer uncovered and excavated many now-lost prehistoric tombs—some of which, beneath the rounded tumulus of earth, were constructed out of wood instead of stone. A little-known site, now long gone, once existed in what is now the North Sea, just a few hundred yards off the Easington coast. Other sites close by are soon to be completely swallowed back into Earth’s body, right on the water-line, but the site described here has long gone. What little was known of it was described in Mortimer’s (1905) magnum opus, where he told:
“On the beach at Easington, in Holderness, under a tide-demolished barrow, Dr Hewetson and the writer on April 21st, 1894, discovered a double cist made of broad slabs split from the outer shell of the decayed trunk of a willow tree. This barrow had been swept away by the waves, and its site was at about half-tide-line, and a considerable way from the very low cliffs. Lining the grave with wood (the branches of trees) would not be difficult to accomplish and would be practised as a protection to the body.”
A henge monument and several other prehistoric barrows have been located in and around Easington, but they’re fading fast!
- Mortimer, J.R., Forty Years Researches in British and Saxon Burial Mounds of East Yorkshire, A. Brown: London n.d. (1905).
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian