Bell barrow on Shalcombe Down: 500m south west of Shalcombe Manor
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1007795
Date first listed: 20-Aug-1934
Date of most recent amendment: 11-Jul-1994
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Isle of Wight (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference: SZ 39022 85453
Reasons for Designation
Bell barrows, the most visually impressive form of round barrow, are funerary
monuments dating to the Early and Middle Bronze Age, with most examples
belonging to the period 1500-1100 BC. They occur either in isolation or in
round barrow cemeteries and were constructed as single or multiple mounds
covering burials, often in pits, and surrounded by an enclosure ditch. The
burials are frequently accompanied by weapons, personal ornaments and pottery
and appear to be those of aristocratic individuals, usually men. Bell barrows
(particularly multiple barrows) are rare nationally, with less than 250 known
examples, most of which are in Wessex. Their richness in terms of grave goods
provides evidence for chronological and cultural links amongst early
prehistoric communities over most of southern and eastern England as well as
providing an insight into their beliefs and social organisation. As a
particularly rare form of round barrow, all identified bell barrows would
normally be considered to be of national importance.
Despite partial excavation, the bell barrow on Shalcombe Down will contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. This barrow is one of a number which survive on downland on the Isle of Wight.
The monument includes a bell barrow lying in a prominent postion on downland
behind Compton Bay.
The barrow mound measures 24m north-south by 26m east-west and is 3m high.
Beyond the mound is a berm 5m wide and an outer ditch from which material was
quarried during its construction. This has become partially infilled over the
years but can still be seen as a depression varying between 0.7m and 1.5m deep
and 7m wide.
The barrow was opened by J Dennett in 1816 who found bronze weapons and a
brooch and either bone or ivory ornaments. Evidence for this excavation
survives in the form of a deep trench visible in the centre of the mound.
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: 21974
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
'Proceedings of the I.O.W. Nat History and Archaeological Soc' in Proceedings of the I.O.W. Nat History and Archaeological Society, , Vol. vol 3, (1940), 201,219
Skinner, Rev J, 'The I.O.W. Natural History And Archaeological Soc' in Proceedings of the I.O.W. Natural History and Archaeological Soc, , Vol. vol 3, (1940), 105,106
Site No 124, Motkin, D., Isle of Wight SMR, (1983)
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