A14: Seven Hills

This is the second video in a series of places on or near the A14.  This one is just off Junction 58 at Nacton, south of Ipswich.

They're not hills and there aren't just seven of them.   As we find out in this video, the "seven hills" are in fact bowl barrows: bronze age burial mounds.   The thirteen barrows present in the area are recognised as a bronze age cemetery and barrows seem to have stretched out from the seven hills site up to Levington Heath.    As you can see from the aerial photo, although there is evidence of at least 6 barrows, only one is easily visible on the ground and it's the bracken covered one next to the A14.  It is speculated that the barrows also marked a prehistoric boundary between territories.  Interestingly, the medieval boundaries between Nacton and Levington are thought to have been on the same axis.  

All the features mentioned in the video can be found if you want to do some exploring, but there are access restrictions in many places as most of the land is not open to the public.   There is a list of some of the sources of information I found on the web about these features below.

Barrows, like modern monuments were a memorial to those who had died, although we don't know much about them or their customs except what we dig up, usually as grave goods.    Barrows don't seem to have solely been the preserve of high status people, but they must have certainly been significant people.

The presence of grave goods, particularly "useful" items like pots seem to indicate a belief in the afterlife.   Most societies have some kind of belief in the afterlife.  Even in a modern society like Britain, belief in the afterlife is more common than not, although ideas are often very nebulous.   Many people hope there's something out there.  Others look to ideas about reincarnation from eastern religions.  It all seems difficult and mystical.

But surely if there is a God who is interested in people, wouldn't he try to make contact and make it clear what the afterlife, heaven or whatever is all about?  He has.   He became one of us and lived amongst us - Jesus.   And Jesus died to open a way by which we may know God, not just in an afterlife but this one now too.

Cemeteries, whether bronze age or modern, remind us of the frailty of life and the certainty of death.  Most people prefer not to think about that sort of stuff to hard, but the older you get the more you realise you can't avoid it!   Yet God has already thought that one through for us. In Jesus there is a promise of heaven brought about because Jesus died to deal with the things that keep all of us separated from God - the wrong things we do, which God calls sin.   IN Jesus we can find forgiveness and are given a hope of being in the place God is after we die - heaven.


More information about barrows:
 The National Heritage List for England (can search for local features)
Information on Prehistoric Sites
The Bronze Age in England
Wikipedia on Prehistoric Britain