A Bronze Age Burial and the Mellor "Princess"
For excavations and finds from 1976-1988, 2007-2009 go to www.mellorarchaeology-2000-2010.org.uk
Article in Current Archaeology, August 2011: Shaw Cairn revisited – the dead of Mellor Moor
The Reverend Marriott, circa 1800, had mentioned in his book, Antiquities of Lyme, barrows near Shaw Farm. In the mid-1970s, four amateur archaeologists with help from school students started ten years of excavations around the trig point on the top of Mellor Moor. They found a Bronze Age burial, which they called Shaw Cairn. Flints, pottery and cremated bones, which were stored in Kilner jars with names such as Hector, Marcus and Fred, were found. The only written record was a diary. In 2000, the material was rescued from one of their garages and a report was written by Victoria Mellor, a student on secondment to GMAU.
In 2008-9, as part of the HLF-supported Mellor Heritage Project 2007-9, Shaw Cairn was revisited. The old excavations had not been back-filled, so they were cleared and more of the cairn excavated. The most notable find consisted of nearly 100 amber beads in a cist, in which would have been buried the "Mellor princess". More recently, the pottery from the earlier excavations has been examined by Dr Alison Sheridan of the National Museums of Scotland, who describes it as one of the most important collections of Early Bronze Age pottery in the North-West, and the cremated bones have been examined by researchers form Edinburgh University.
In 2011 and 2012, students from Sheffield University, led by Dr Bob Johnston, joined Mellor volunteers for more excavations on and around Shaw Cairn. These digs will continue each summer.