Round barrow cemetery 400m south of Avebury henge monument on Waden Hill


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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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 10342 69309

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 forms a nationally important round barrow cemetery, situated in a central part of the Avebury prehistoric landscape. Despite having been largely levelled by cultivation, the base of the barrow mounds and surrounding quarry ditches will survive as buried features and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the construction of the cemetery and the landscape in which it was built.


The monument includes a round barrow cemetery containing nine individual barrows, situated 400m south of Avebury henge monument on Waden Hill. The cemetery occupies the crest of Waden Hill and the upper east-facing slope which overlooks the Avenue linking the Avebury henge and the Sanctuary. One of the nine barrows is a bowl barrow and survives as an upstanding earthwork; it has a mound 16m in diameter and 0.3m high. Surrounding the mound, but no longer visible at ground level, is a quarry ditch from which material was obtained during the construction of the monument. This has been infilled by cultivation but survives as a buried feature c.3m wide. The remaining eight barrows have been levelled over the years and are no longer visible at ground level. Buried features will survive, however, and these levelled barrows, known as ring ditches, are visible on aerial photographs and vary between 15m and 34m in diameter. Excluded from the scheduling are the boundary fences running across the site, although the ground beneath these features is included.

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:


St Joseph, J K,
SU 06 NE 142, RCHM(E), Bowl barrow, (1973)
SU 16 NW 25 B, RCHM(E), Concentric Ring ditches, (1975)
SU 16 NW 27 C, RCHM(E), Ring Ditch, (1978)
SU 16 NW 699, CAO, Ring Ditch, (1989)
SU06NE651, CAO, Bowl barrow, (1983)
Title: Sheet 16 NW Source Date: 1961 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: 6" Edition
Title: Sheet SU 16 NW Source Date: 1961 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: 6" Edition


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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