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 Post subject: Replica Neolithic tomb opens for business
PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2014 9:54 am 
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Death, Stone Age-style: Replica Neolithic tomb with space for 2,400 opens for business this weekend

Farmer Tim Daw is preparing to open his Neolithic-style tomb
The chamber is located near the Wiltshire town of All Cannings
People can buy a space in the tomb to have their ashes stored after their death for £1,000 ($1,630)
It has also been positioned so the midwinter sunrise shines down the length of the chamber
'I’ve been amazed at the response - it’s a different way to remember someone, and the place is modern and ancient at the same time,' said Daw

By Jonathan O'Callaghan for MailOnline


The first Neolithic-style burial chamber built in Britain for 5,000 years is set to open this weekend - and 45 customers have already paid for their ashes to be stored there.

With space initially for 2,400 ‘customers’, people can reserve a slot for £1,000 ($1,630) each.

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The tomb, designed by farmer Tim Daw, has been positioned to let the midwinter sunrise shine right down the length of the chamber where people’s ashes will be placed in urns set into the walls.

The burial chamber sees an official opening reception party on Saturday morning on farmland outside the Wiltshire village of All Cannings, where it is based.

Mr Daw and his team began work in January to build the tomb from thousands of tons of rock, covered by grass.

And Mr Daw, who won planning permission last year, said: 'To see it finished after all the hard work - it’s turned out far better than expected.'

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He’s also a steward at Stonehenge a few miles away and says the tomb is the perfect place for people who want to put the urns of their loved ones in a non-religious place.

He said: 'I’ve been amazed at the response - it’s a different way to remember someone, and the place is modern and ancient at the same time.'

Initially he can store the cremated remains of 2,400 people in 250 niches inside four chambers, though the eventual plan is 350 niches in seven chambers.

Entire families can reserve their own ‘room’ in the tomb, which has no religious links although it’s already attracting pagan worshippers, said Tim, a self-confessed atheist.

'A lot of its appeal is down to the stonemason coming up with the idea of how to build it and insisting on doing it the proper way, using real traditional materials and methods. That’s paying off in spades, with the quality of it and the feel of the place.

'For some of it, the stone has almost told us how to do it. At the entrance, when they fitted together it just felt right and it looks right.'
WILTSHIRE AND ITS NEOLITHIC BURIAL CHAMBERS

Wiltshire is strewn with Neolithic burial mounds, or barrows, dating back to the new stone age period, beginning about 10,200 BC and ending between 4,500 and 2,000 BC.

They were constructed using vast sarsen stones or wooden posts and then covered with mud, soil and grass.

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Silbury Hill, pictured, dates back to the Neolithic period but mystery still surrounds its original purpose

West Kennet Long Barrow, six miles from Daw's barrow at All Cannings, is one of the largest, measuring 100 metres (330 feet) long. Excavations suggest work began on the tomb, which has five sarsen stone chambers, in 3,600 BC - some 400 years before Stonehenge was begun.

East Kennet Long Barrow is the largest in Britain, a wedge-shaped burial chamber measuring 106 metres (348 feet) long. It is believed to have been open for several centuries before being sealed up.

Lanhill Long Barrow, near Chippenham, is a late Neolithic long barrow which was found to contain the remains of several people from the same family, ranging in age from 12 months to 60 years.

Beckhampton Long Barrow, near Avebury, is one of the oldest known barrows in the country, dating back to around 3,200 BC. Its two ends have been ploughed away and destroyed, but the remains of one of the Beaker folk, migrants into Britain in 2,500 BC who were notable for the beaker shape of their pottery, have been found in the barrow.

Silbury Hill, a vast chalk mound 16 miles (26 kilometres) from Stonehenge, is not strictly a barrow but is a man-made mound from the same, Neolithic period and can be seen from many of the barrows that post-date it. Despite various attempts to excavate it over the years, and despite a common assumption over the years that it must be a burial mound, its purpose is still a mystery.

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The burial chamber sees an offical opening reception party on Saturday morning on farmland outside the Wiltshire village of All Cannings, where it is based. Mr Daw and his team began work in January to build the tomb from thousands of tons of rock, covered by grass

Image
It has also been positioned so the midwinter sunrise shines down the length of the chamber. 'I’ve been amazed at the response - it’s a different way to remember someone, and the place is modern and ancient at the same time,' said Daw (pictured)

Tim, who runs a 220-acre farm, has always had a passion for archaeology and said the idea came out of a ‘classic pub conversation’.

'We were saying wouldn’t it be nice to get buried in a long barrow and then I was walking round the farm one winter’s morning and it was misty, very quiet and the sun was just rising, and I thought "I wouldn’t mind spending eternity here."

'I thought "You could put a long barrow here with the winter sun coming in". The idea all came together very quickly.

'People have bought niches right from before we had even broken the ground. Someone from California has bought a niche, and she’s very welcome.

'I’d love to have this as a meeting place, as so much of the Neolithic was about in Wiltshire, with people from all areas coming together.'
Initially the cremated remains of 2,400 people can be stored in 250 niches inside four chambers, though the eventual plan is 350 niches in seven chambers. Entire families can reserve their own ¿room¿ in the tomb, which has no religious links although it¿s already attracting pagan worshippers, said Tim, a self-confessed atheist

Image
Initially the cremated remains of 2,400 people can be stored in 250 niches inside four chambers, though the eventual plan is 350 niches in seven chambers. Entire families can reserve their own ‘room’ in the tomb, which has no religious links although it’s already attracting pagan worshippers, said Tim, a self-confessed atheist


Stonemason Geraint Davies described it as ‘not your usual job and a once in a lifetime opportunity’.

He said: 'I quite like archaeology. It’s fascinating to go to Stonehenge and see how they managed to construct that.

'I’m trying to build it in a way the Neolithic people could have done it in their time.

'It’s strange really. We haven’t built a long barrow for 5,000 years, but now we’ve had another enquiry for one.

'They want a burial chamber built in central London to hold some art.

'They’re like buses. You don’t get one for 5,000 years and then all of a sudden two come at once.'
Image


One person who’s signed up is Simon Banton, 49, of Figheldean, Wilts, who said: 'I’m interested in the alignment of ancient monuments.

'What appeals to me about having my remains in this long barrow is the permanence of the structure and the landscape.

'This long barrow is going to baffle archaeologists for ever.'

The winter solstice will shine down the length of the inernal passageway, with the front of the barrow being made from one-tonne Sarsen stones, the same material used at Stonehenge and the Avebury stone circle near Pewsey, Wilts.

Retired archaeologist David Field, from Yatesbury, near Calne, who worked on the repair of the ancient and mysterious Silbury Hill and has visited most of the country’s long barrows, said: 'The facade looks very impressive and the chambers are very good.

'It’s not a direct copy of anything Neolithic and I think that’s quite deliberate. It’s distinctive and modern.'


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2760819/Death-Stone-Age-style-Replica-Neolithic-tomb-space-2-400-opens-business-weekend.html

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