Long barrow 400m north-east of Chalk Hill Cottage


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


© Crown Copyright and database right 2021. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2021. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1008200.pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 03-Mar-2021 at 13:07:38.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Cotswold (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SP 13523 26273

Reasons for Designation

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, consequently, 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. As one of the few types of Neolithic structure to survive as earthworks, and due to their comparative rarity, their considerable age and their longevity as a monument type, all long barrows are considered to be nationally important.

Despite partial excavation, the Cow Common long barrow survives well and is known to contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. This barrow is representative of a group of long barrows known as the Cotswold-Severn group, named after the region in which they occur. It constitutes a rare instance of a Cotswold Severn long barrow situated within and, therefore, acting as a focus for, a later round barrow cemetery.


The monument includes a long barrow situated 400m north-east of Chalk Hill Cottage on Cow Common, a gently sloping plateau situated in the northern Cotswold Hills with views to the south and east. The monument is composed of small stones and is orientated broadly east-west. The mound is visible as an upstanding and grass covered earthwork 38m long, 20m wide and c.1.5m high, which extends into a cultivated field where it survives as a low earthwork c.0.35m high. The long barrow was partially excavated by D.Royce in 1867-8 and by Greenwell and Rolleston in 1874. These revealed that the barrow had a forecourt or recess at the eastern end, flanked by extensions of the mound on either side. The central area of the mound adjacent to the forecourt contained a `false entrance` which was never attached to an inner chamber and could not have provided access into the interior of the monument. Instead, the `false entrance` is likely to have been constructed at the same time as the forecourt with which it is associated. The material blocking the `false entrance` was found to contain Peterborough and Beaker styles of later Neolithic pottery. The mound was retained by a dry-stone wall and two chambers were identified within the mound. The north-eastern example contained the remains of three human skeletons and five more were found just outside. The second chamber was identified 10m from the eastern end and was found to contain the remains of two adult humans and one infant along with two flint flakes. The western area of the mound contained fragments of Neolithic pottery and a Roman coin of Constantine, suggesting later re-use of the monument. Flanking the mound on either side are ditches from which material was quarried during the construction of the monument. These have become infilled over the years, but survive as buried features c.5m wide. The long barrow was the earliest monument to be constructed at Cow Common, but became the focus for a group of ten bowl barrows which formed a later round barrow cemetery.

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:


Books and journals
O`Neil, H E, Grinsell, L V, 'Proc of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Arch Soc' in Gloucestershire Barrows, , Vol. 179, (1960), 90
O`Neil, H E, Grinsell, L V, 'Proc of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Arch Soc' in Gloucestershire Barrows, , Vol. 179, (1960), 90
O`Neil, H E, Grinsell, L V, 'Proc of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Arch Soc' in Gloucestershire Barrows, , Vol. 179, (1960), 90
O`Neil, H E, Grinsell, L V, 'Proc of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Arch Soc' in Gloucestershire Barrows, , Vol. 179, (1960), 90


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

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].