Three confluent round barrows 580m west of the Ridgeway, forming part of a Bronze Age round barrow cemetery on Avebury Down


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 11695 70028

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 and ritual monuments in the country. Round barrow cemeteries date to the Bronze Age (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 and occasionally associated with earlier long barrows. Where investigation beyond the round barrows has occurred, contemporary or later `flat' burials between the barrow mounds have often been revealed. Round barrow cemeteries occur across most of lowland England with a marked concentration in Wessex. In some cases they are clustered around other important contemporary monuments, as is the case both here and at Stonehenge. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape, while their diversity and their longevity as a monument type provide important information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. All examples are considered worthy of protection.

Despite the western barrow having been partially reduced by cultivation and the northern and southern barrows having been partially excavated, all three barrows survive well and form part of a nationally important round barrow cemetery. All three will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which they were constructed.


The monument includes three confluent round barrows, situated 580m west of the Ridgeway track, forming part of a Bronze Age round barrow cemetery situated on Avebury Down. The barrows sit on the west-facing slope of the Down, overlooking the valley of the River Kennet and Avebury henge monument. The western round barrow survives as a low mound 35m in diameter and 0.3m high, having been reduced in height by cultivation. Surrounding the barrow mound, but no longer visible at ground level, is a quarry ditch from which material was obtained to construct the central mound. This will survive as a buried feature c.2m wide. The northern example is a bowl barrow, the mound of which measures 20m across and stands up to 2.3m high. Surrounding the mound is a quarry ditch c.2m wide. This ditch runs into the ditch of the southern barrow on the south- eastern side and is visible as a slight earthwork in this area. The remainder survives as a buried feature. The southern example is a bowl barrow, the mound of which measures 18.5m in diameter and stands up to 2.2m high. Surrounding this barrow, but no longer visible at ground level, is a ditch c.2m wide which survives as a buried feature. The northern and southern barrows were partially excavated by Merewether in the 1840's although it does not appear that he located the original burials. Excluded from the scheduling is the fence running from NE-SW across the northern and southern barrows, although the land beneath is included in the scheduling.

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:


SU 17 SW 36 A, RCHM(E), Two confluent bowl barrows, (1978)
SU 17 SW 36 D, RCHM(E), A Ground Swelling, (1978)
SU 17 SW 632, CAO, Two confluent bowl barrows, (1989)
SU 17 SW 635, CAO, Probable barrow, (1989)


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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