Ring ditch 250m NNE of Thorn Down: part of the group known as Seven Barrows


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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

Basingstoke and Deane (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SU 46154 55447

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.

The ring ditch, the infilled quarry ditch of a barrow, forms part of the Thorn Down barrow cemetery. Despite the loss of the barrow mound, the ditch, and the area within it, it will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the construction and use of the barrow and an understanding of the cemetery of which it is part.


The monument includes a ring ditch, part of a linear cemetery of ten Bronze Age round barrows, seven of which are upstanding, situated along the floor of a dry valley between Thorn Down and Great Litchfield Down. The ring ditch, known from aerial photographs, is visible as soil marks 26m in overall diameter, representing the encircling quarry ditch of a bowl barrow. The barrow mound, which was built with material quarried from the ditch, has been ploughed down but the Bronze Age ground surface, as well as any features cut into it, such as burial pits, will survive. Similarly, the ditch has become infilled over the years, but will survive as a buried feature. Partial excavation of the barrow was probably undertaken, along with that of others in the cemetery, in the 19th century. Both cremation and inhumation burials were found, but the excavation records are such that it is not possible to assign individual burials to any particular barrow.

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:


Carnarvon, Earl of , Unpublished transcript of letter, 1800,
SU 45NE 52, (1967)


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