Pair of round barrows 400m west of the Ridgeway, forming part of a round barrow cemetery situated 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 11869 70078

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 evidence for partial excavation, both barrows survive well and form part of a nationally important round barrow cemetery. The bell barrow is also an outstanding example of its class. Both barrows will contain archaeological and environmental remains relating to the monument and the landscape in which they were constructed.


The monument includes two prominent and well preserved round barrows aligned north-south and situated on a south-west facing slope overlooking the Kennet valley and the prehistoric avenue leading from the henge at Avebury to the Sanctuary. These barrows form part of a Bronze Age round barrow cemetery situated on Avebury Down. The northern of the two is a well preserved bell barrow which has a mound 20.5m in diameter and up to 4.3m high. The mound is surrounded by a gently sloping berm c.4.5m wide and an outer quarry ditch from which material was taken to construct the mound. The ditch is 4.2m wide and currently 0.43m deep, although it has been partly infilled over the years and would originally have been deeper. A small trench c.1.5m by 2m has been cut north-south across the summit of this mound at some point in its history. The southern example is a well preserved bowl barrow. The barrow mound measures 26.5m in diameter and stands up to 3m high. Surrounding the barrow mound is a partially infilled quarry ditch which survives largely as a buried feature c.5m wide. The visible width of the ditch above ground is c.2.15m having been largely levelled by cultivation. The ditch is seen most clearly to the north-west of the mound. Slight mutilation of the barrow on the southern side of the mound may indicate an unrecorded antiquarian investigation or the location of a felled tree.

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 B, RCHM(E), Bowl barrow with well formed ditch, (1978)
SU 17 SW 36 C, RCHM(E), Bell barrow, (1978)
SU 17 SW 633, CAO, Bowl barrow with a well formed ditch, (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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