SK 1916 6473. Bee Low. (8).
(Human Remains. Cist & etc. found). (9).
Maximum height is one and half metres. Published survey (25") revised. (10).
Summary: The barrow has been excavated on at least three occasions, by T. Bateman on 16th June 1843 and 3rd May 1851 and also by B. Marsden between 1966 and 1968. In all a sequence of 11 sets of burials, both adult and children, is indicated. These were mostly inhumations, but included several cremations. Some inhumations occurred in cists and rock-cut graves. A number of Beakers accompanied the burials, as well as flints and bronzes. The dimensions of the barrow are: Length: c.16 metres, Breadth:? And Height: c.1½ metres. (5,6,10).
T. Bateman 16th June 1843: Bateman sank a hole at the centre, to avoid the trees on the barrow sides, this indicated that the mound was composed of earth and stones. Within the mound were fragments of a disturbed inhumation, also a small flint "arrowhead", two "rude flint instruments" and c. six horses' teeth. At the level of the natural surface, he encountered burnt bones together with a bone pin lying on a flat slab. Near to this deposit were sherds of a Beaker. (1-3,5,17).
T. Bateman 3rd May 1851: Bateman cut a central trench on the south side of the 1843 trench. Some 0.45 metres (18 inches) below the surface of the mound (on old ground surface?), he discovered a contracted inhumation on its left side with its head to the east. Near the head were two bronze awls, a third "instrument" of bronze and some melted pieces of bronze. The inhumation had been covered by two to three courses of flat stones. Bateman also located a rock cut grave its base some 1.35 metres (four feet, six inches) below the mound surface, this contained a contracted inhumation, also a piece of an infants skull. Above the knees of the burial was beaker and a ?knife of white flint. In addition Bateman discovered a rectangular cist of large slabs with a capstone. This was filled with stiff earth and gravel, near the top of the cist were some cremated bone and a bronze awl, at the base a heap of disarticulated human bones, an adult male, also two flints, and a piece of antler tine. (3,4,6,17).
B. Marsden 1966 to 1968: The site was tree covered, the mound was excavated by quadrants leaving baulks round trees. Excavation indicated a cairn of limestones mixed with soil, in parts laid horizontally; this overlay a buried soil and bedrock. A kerb was located, to the east it consisted of double row of inclined slabs, elsewhere single. In north-east sector Marsden located Cist 1, above the edge on the north side, a cremation (?adult) and a small bronze knife. It had been filled with clay and small stones, the bones of six to seven individuals, two dog teeth, a beaker and charcoal. To the north of cist 1, 0.45 metres (one foot, six inches) below the mound surface, a small deposit of charcoal and cremated human bone. Cist 2 had no capstone, its upper levels contained few animal teeth, flints and a hammerstone. At the base, a contracted male inhumation, scattered over which was a human cremation. Near the knees of the inhumation was a beaker sherd, whilst underlying the burial were two skeletal fragments of a child. A scatter of ?Anglian sherds, occurred just outside the cist. A bone scatter on or near natural, a young adult and an adult, nearby three barbed and tanged arrowheads, beaker sherds and a piece of boars tusk. A further bone scatter occurred to west and north of a large boulder on the natural, consisting of one adult and one adolescent. South-west of this stone were animal teeth and a beaker sherd. In the same general area were two antler tines, flints, and a polished axe flake. A rock cut pit was located, covered by a capstone, some 0.85 metres deep [two feet, nine inches] with a fill of stones and soil and a few bones of a child. In same area were a beaker sherd, a human adult jaw, animal teeth, and some flints. In the south sector of his excavation Marsden uncovered a cist previously explored by Bateman, he discovered re-interred bones in south-west corner and two animal teeth in the backfill. A rock cut grave excavated by Bateman was also explored, it contained three flints, re-interred bones and a lead tablet (stamped Bateman). In addition a contracted inhumation was discovered lying on the natural, head west-south-west, behind the shoulders was a beaker. In the same general area were a Beaker sherd, a barbed and tanged arrowhead, flint flakes and animal teeth. Two Romano-British sherds were recovered from the south-west edge of the barrow. (14,17).
Bee Low bowl barrow became a scheduled monument in 1971 and was revised on the 15th October 1993. It is a roughly circular barrow situated in the central uplands of the limestone plateau of Derbyshire. The monument includes a 1½ metres high mound with a diameter of 16 metres. Partial excavations carried out by Thomas Bateman in 1843 and 1851, and by Marsden in the late 1960s, have revealed the remains of eleven human burials of adults and children, most of which were crouched inhumations but some of which were cremations. The primary burial was a cremation laid on a flat stone at the centre of the mound adjacent to a barbed and tanged flint arrowhead. Several of the secondary burials were laid in rock-cut graves or cists formed of limestone slabs, one of which was covered by a paved chert ceiling. In addition to the crouched skeleton, the latter grave contained a flint knife and a decorated clay drinking vessel. This and other similar vessels assign the barrow to the Beaker period or Early Bronze Age, and this date is supported by other Bronze Age artefacts which, in addition to flint implements, include a number of Bronze pins. Also found, on the old land surface beneath the barrow, was a Neolithic polished stone axe and a pointed arrowhead of a similar date. These earlier artefacts are likely to be residual remains contained in the material used to build the barrow. (18).
The Neolithic stone axe found beneath the cairn on the natural surface, south-west of Cist 2, is of Group VI, fine rock. (13). Six sherds of Anglian pottery were found to the west of Cist 2, during Marsden's 1966 to 1968 excavation. (15). Examination of these sherds by Dr. Alan Vince (December 1993) as part of the East Midlands Anglo-Saxon Pottery Project, indicated a probable late Bronze Age dating. The group of finds within Sheffield City Museum, attributed to this excavation did however contain one small sherd of possible Anglo-Saxon fabric. (19). Photographic record. (20,21).
Site monitoring has been carried out. See record for details. (22)