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The Tumulus

Local legend said that it was the site of an ancient battle between two British Tribes, one based in London and one in St. Albans and it contains "the dust of the slain".

Professor Hales, historian and Hampstead resident stated: "we might suppose that the invaders had advanced from the north through the dip between the Hampstead and Highgate hills"

However, the site was  excavated by Sir Hercules Read in 1894 and no trace of any burial was found.

A large quantity of material had been added in recent times.

Despite this negative result, Read concluded that the tumulus was "very probably an ancient burial mound of the early bronze period" a view discarded by later archaeologists.

In 1968, William Stukeley paintings were acquired by British Museum.

One dated 1725 shows a shallow flat topped mound surrounded by a ditch, marked "Immanuentiitumulus".

It was HE who gave rise to the ancient burial rumour by his inscription:
"It was the tumulus of some ancient British king before Christianity"

Maps of sixteenth century shows no sign of tumulus but the area is dense woodland.

Any such mound would have been destroyed by tree roots, etc.

It is more likely that the mound was made in the seventeenth century, possibly for a windmill, after the woodland was cleared.

The Tumulus Today
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