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.
This bowl barrow, forming part of the Bronze Age round barrow cemetery on
Overton Hill, is a well preserved example of its class, occurring within a
nationally important barrow cemetery which contains a number of well preserved
and rare examples of barrow types. All the barrows will contain
archaeological and environmental evidence relating to both the cemetery and
the Avebury landscape in which it was built.
The monument includes a bowl barrow, one of a group of ten Bronze Age round
barrows which form a cemetery to the west of the Ridgeway on Overton Hill.
The barrows are all located on a west facing slope, south of the Avebury Henge
monument, and overlook the River Kennet.
The bowl barrow has a central mound which measures 19m in diameter and stands
up to 1.5m high. Surrounding the mound is a ditch which provided the material
used in the monument's construction. This ditch survives as a buried feature
on all but the north-east side where it is visible as an earthwork 5m wide and
The barrow was partially excavated by Colt Hoare, who found a cremation burial
accompanied by an incense cup, both contained within an oblong cist.
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.