Beckhampton round barrow cemetery 150m north east of the `Waggon and Horses'


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 09237 69126

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 Beckhampton round barrow cemetery forms a nationally important monument within the Avebury landscape. Although eight of the ten barrows have been levelled by cultivation, they survive as buried features and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to their construction and the landscape in which the cemetery was built. In addition, the evidence of recent geophysical survey work has identified the survival of post structures in the areas between the barrows providing evidence of the wider use and form of such round barrow cemeteries.


The monument includes a Bronze Age round barrow cemetery containing ten individual barrows situated 150m north east of the `Waggon and Horses' public house. The cemetery occupies the top of a small hill with views south east towards Silbury Hill, north towards Windmill Hill and north east towards the Avebury henge monument. Two of the barrows survive as upstanding earthworks; eight have been levelled by cultivation but are visible as ring ditches on aerial photographs.

Individual barrows can be described as follows: (SU09156906) Bowl barrow situated at the western end of the cemetery. Its mound is visible as an upstanding earthwork with a diameter of 23.5m across and which stands up to 1.4m high. The barrow mound has seen disturbance at its centre, the spoil from which has been thrown downhill to the south, giving a slightly false profile to this side of the mound. A recent cutting c.1.5m east-west, c.0.6m north-south and up to 0.5m deep is present on the south side of the mound. Surrounding the mound, and just visible as a slight earthwork at ground level, is a quarry ditch from which material was taken during the construction of the monument. This will survive as a buried feature c.3m wide.

(SU09186908) Bowl barrow reduced by cultivation but which survives as a low mound c.30m in diameter and up to 0.2m high. The barrow mound has been spread across its surrounding quarry ditch from which material was obtained during its construction. This ditch will survive as a c.2m wide buried feature, beneath the edge of the mound.

(SU09196902) Ring ditch, no longer visible at ground level but which survives as a buried feature with an overall diameter of 25m, visible on aerial photographs. A flint flake and a flint scraper were observed on the surface of the plough soil in 1989. The barrow had been identified as a bowl barrow in the 1950's, before its mound was reduced to its present condition. The remaining seven barrows survive as ring ditches, all of which are visible on aerial photographs. They vary between 15m and 40m in diameter. Recent geophysical survey in the areas between the barrows, has revealed post structures which give an indication of the wider use of the monument.

Excluded from the scheduling are all fences and the carriageway of the Beckhampton Road (A4361), although the ground beneath these features is included where it occurs within the area of the scheduling.

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:


4/244 8.9.24 & 13.5.33, Allen, G.W.G., (1934)
St Joseph, J K,
SU 06 NE 76 A, RCHM(E), Avebury 19a, (1973)
SU 06 NE 76 D, RCHM(E), Soil marks, (1973)
SU 16 NW 699, CAO, Ring Ditch, (1989)
Title: Sheet 06 NE Source Date: 1961 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: 6" Edition
Title: Sheet SU 06 NE 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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