Round barrow cemetery within Brighstone Forest on Brighstone Down: 700m east of Calbourne Bottom


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.

Isle of Wight (Unitary Authority)
Isle of Wight (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SZ 42783 84809

Reasons for Designation

Round barrow cemeteries date to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They comprise closely-spaced groups of up to 30 round barrows - rubble or earthen mounds covering single or multiple burials. Most cemeteries developed over a considerable period of time, often many centuries, and in some cases acted as a focus for burials as late as the early medieval period. They exhibit considerable diversity of burial rite, plan and form, frequently including several different types of round barrow, occasionally associated with earlier long barrows. Where large scale investigation has been undertaken around them, contemporary or later "flat" burials between the barrow mounds have often been revealed. Round barrow cemeteries occur across most of lowland Britain, with a marked concentration in Wessex. In some cases, they are clustered around other important contemporary monuments such as henges. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape, whilst their diversity and their longevity as a monument type provide important information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving or partly-surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Despite partial excavation of three of the six barrows, the round barrow cemetery on Brighstone Down survives well and will contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the cemetery and the landscape in which it was constructed. These barrows are amongst a number which survive in the Brighstone Forest area of Brighstone Down.


The monument includes a round barrow cemetery comprising four bowl barrows and two fancy barrows set on a west facing slope in an area of chalk downland. The bowl barrow mounds have diameters of between 7m and 23m, and range from 0.6m to 2.3m in height. Surrounding each mound is a ditch from which material was quarried during its construction. The ditches of two of the bowl barrows have become partially infilled over the years but can be seen as slight depressions 4.3m wide and between 0.5 and 1m deep. The ditches of the other two bowl barrows have become completely infilled and can no longer be seen at ground level but survive as a buried feature c.2m wide. Of the two fancy barrows, one is visible and one survives only as buried remains. The fancy barrow which is extant has a central mound 14m in diameter and 0.7m high. Surrounding the mound is a ditch c.4m wide and 0.7m deep, and an outer bank 4m wide and 0.7m high. The second fancy barrow, to the north of the extant barrows, can no longer be seen on the ground, but survives as buried remains and is clearly visible on air photographs. It is of similar dimensions to the extant fancy barrow. Two of the bowl barrows and the extant fancy barrow have central depressions indicating unrecorded antiquarian excavation.

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.

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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, (1940), 204
'Proceedings of the I.O.W. Nat History and Archaeological Soc' in Proceedings of the I.O.W. Nat History and Archaeological Society, (1940), 204


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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