These walls of earth

"Clumsy treasure hunting," Sir Richmond said. "They bore into Silbury Hill and expect to find a mummified chief or something sensational of that sort, and they don't, and they report nothing. They haven't sifted finely enough; they haven't thought subtly enough. These walls of earth ought to tell what these people ate, what clothes they wore, what woods they used. Was this a sheep land then as it is now, or a cattle land? Were these hills covered by forests? I don't know. These archaeologists don't know. Or if they do they haven't told me, which is just as bad. I don't believe they know."

From The Secret Places of the Heart by H G Wells

English Heritage's 2008 'conservation' project at Silbury

This hoard of undefended joy

The Ravager of the night,
the burner who has sought out barrows from old,
then found this hoard of undefended joy.
The smooth evil dragon swims through the gloom
enfolded in flame; the folk of that country
hold him in dread.*

*From Beowulf. Translated from the Old English by Michael Alexander. Penguin Classics. ISBN 0-14-044268-5. pp122. (No connection being made, of course, to the Silbury barrow-burrowers of recent times).

Silbury: Winter 2009. Image credit Bozzer