Pair of bowl barrows on West Down, 550m east of Witch Plantation


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SU 06503 69040

Reasons for Designation

A small number of areas in southern England appear to have acted as foci for ceremonial and ritual activity during the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age periods. Two of the best known and earliest recognised, with references in the 17th century, are around Avebury and Stonehenge, now jointly designated as a World Heritage Site. In the Avebury area, the henge monument itself, the West Kennet Avenue, the Sanctuary, West Kennet long barrow, Windmill Hill causewayed enclosure and the enigmatic Silbury Hill are well-known. Whilst the other Neolithic long barrows, the many Bronze Age round barrows and other associated sites are less well-known, together they define one of the richest and most varied areas of Neolithic and Bronze Age ceremonial monuments in the country. Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, normally ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Often superficially similar, although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form and a diversity of burial practices. There are over 10,000 surviving bowl barrows recorded nationally and around 320 in the Avebury area. This group of monuments will provide important information on the development of this area during the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age periods. All surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Despite the fact that one of the two bowl barrows 550m east of Witch Plantation has been partially excavated, they both survive well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to their construction and the landscape in which they were built. They represent two of the best preserved and visually striking examples in the Avebury area.


The monument includes two well preserved Bronze Age bowl barrows aligned north east/south west and located on West Down, 550m east of Witch Plantation. The barrows are situated on the edge of a wide terrace on a north east facing slope, about halfway down the hill on which Oldbury hillfort is situated. The north eastern barrow has a mound 21m in diameter and up to 1.8m high. The summit of this mound contains an oval depression c.9m long and 0.3m deep which is probably the result of 19th century excavation. Surrounding the mound is a quarry ditch from which material was obtained during its construction. This survives as a visible earthwork c.4m wide and up to 0.5m deep, except on the south east side where it lies buried under a farm track. A sarsen stone was situated on the monument as recently as 1924 when it appeared marked as a 'boulder' on the Ordnance Survey 25" map. However, this stone has since been removed. The south west bowl barrow has a mound 14.5m in diameter and up to 1m high. Surrounding the mound is a quarry ditch 3m wide and 0.5m deep. This is most clearly visible on the west side of the monument.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire, (1957), 153
Field Visit report AM 107, Williams, S., Wilts 556/a; 556/b, (1983)
SU 06 NE 73 A, RCHM(E), Avebury 1, ditched, (1970)
SU 06 NE 73 B, RCHM(E), Avebury 2, Ditched bowl barrow, (1970)
SU06NE646, CAO, Well preserved ditched bowl barrow, (1983)
SU06NE647, CAO, Ditched bowl barrow, (1983)
Title: Boulder Source Date: 1924 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: 25" Map depiction


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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