Bell barrow forming part of a round barrow cemetery 400m north-east of West Kennett Farm on Overton Hill
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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This copy shows the entry on 16-Oct-2019 at 10:22:17.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- SU 11747 69176
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.
The monument includes a well preserved and unexcavated example of a bell barrow, a rare type of monument, located within a wider round barrow cemetery. The barrow will contain archaeological and environmental evidence of the burial practices and construction methods of the Bronze Age communities who lived in the region, as well as preserving evidence of the earlier land use of the area on the ground surface below the mound. The relationship between the barrow and the adjacent field system provides evidence for the development of the landscape in the Avebury area.
The monument includes a well preserved and prominent Bronze Age bell barrow,
forming part of a round barrow cemetery, set within a field system of later
prehistoric date, 900m north-east of West Kennett Farm on Overton Hill. The
monument is situated towards the top of a steep slope which overlooks the
River Kennet and the Avebury Henge monument to the north-east. The bell
barrow is 22.5m in diameter and stands up to 4.68m high. Surrounding the
mound is a berm or platform 8.2m wide and beyond this a ditch from which
material was quarried during construction of the monument. Although the ditch
has been infilled by cultivation, it survives as a buried feature 4.5m wide.
The barrow is not believed to have been excavated, unlike many examples in the
The barrow is located within an area of earthworks which represent an ancient
field system. These earthworks survive as a series of banks 1.5m wide and
c.0.2m high. Parts of this system lie immediately adjacent to the barrow and
are included within the scheduling to illustrate the relationship between the
field system and the barrow.
MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 6 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:
CAO, Field system, (1989)
SU 16 NW 48, RCHM(E), Avebury 30, (1978)
SU 16 NW 604, CAO, Avebury 30 Bell 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