South Street long barrow, 70m south east of the Long Stones
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1008103
Date first listed: 08-Aug-1994
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference: SU 09013 69274
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 most
rich and varied areas of Neolithic and Bronze Age ceremonial and ritual
monuments in the country. Long barrows were constructed as earthen or drystone
mounds with flanking ditches and acted as funerary monuments during the Early
and Middle Neolithic periods (3400-2400 BC). They represent the burial places
of Britain's early farming communities and, as such, are amongst the oldest
field monuments surviving visibly in the present landscape. Where
investigated, long barrows appear to have been used for communal burial, often
with only parts of the human remains having been selected for interment.
Certain sites provide evidence for several phases of funerary monument
preceding the barrow and it is probable that long barrows acted as important
ritual sites for local communities over a considerable period of time. Some
500 long barrows are recorded in England of which fifteen survive in the
Avebury area. These represent an important group for understanding the
historical context within which Avebury developed during the Late Neolithic
and Early Bronze Age periods; all are considered to be worthy of protection.
Despite reduction by cultivation, the barrow mound survives as an upstanding earthwork while the quarry ditches and the base of the mound and former ground surface survive as buried features. Partial excavation of this barrow has demonstrated the survival of archaeological remains and enhanced our understanding of the monument and how it was constructed. Additional information relating to agricultural activity prior to the construction of the barrow was also revealed.
The monument includes a Neolithic long barrow 70m south east of the Long
Stones standing stones and c.300m north east of the Long Stones long barrow, a
contemporary funerary monument.
The South Street long barrow, despite having been reduced by cultivation and
partly excavated, survives as a slight earthwork visible at ground level. The
barrow mound is aligned ESE-WNW and is known from excavation to measure 43m in
length and 17m across. However, the mound has been spread by cultivation and
now measures 64m in length and 43m across.
Partial excavation has shown that the mound was constructed of chalk rubble
tipped into a series of forty bays, created by the laying out of hurdle fences
to mark out the site immediately prior to construction. This building method
provided stability to the mound and guided the workforce in deciding where to
dump the material quarried from two parallel flanking ditches. These ditches
are located c.7m from the base of the mound on both sides and measure c.55m
long and c.7m wide. The ditches have been gradually infilled by cultivation
over the years but survive as buried features beneath the present ground
surface. Radio-carbon dating of some of the finds from the later excavation
date the construction of the mound to around 2750 BC, making the monument over
4000 years old. Finds from the excavation included flint arrowheads, animal
bones and fragments of pottery.
Below the barrow mound evidence of early ploughing was discovered, taking the
form of lines of cross-ploughing incised into the chalk. This type of
evidence is a rare but an important clue in understanding how the landscape
was managed in the past.
Excluded from the scheduling are the surface of South Street (Nash Road) and
the boundary fences which border the carriageway although the ground beneath
all these features is included.
MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 5 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: 21735
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Stukeley, W, Abury: A Temple of the British Druids, with Some Others, Described, (1743)
Ashbee, et al, 'Proceedings' in South Street Long Barrow, , Vol. 45, ()
Evans, J G, 'Proceedings' in South St Long Barrow, , Vol. 62, (1967)
Grinsell, LV, 'A History of Wiltshire' in A History of Wiltshire, , Vol. 1 pt 1, (1957)
Piggott, S, 'A History of Wiltshire' in Avebury 68, , Vol. Vol 1pt1, (1973)
Smith, , Evans, , 'Antiquity' in South Street Long Barrow, , Vol. 42, (1968)
Pagination 12 (Annual Report), Evans, J G, Excavations, (1967)
SU 06 NE 105, CAO, South St Long 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