Bell barrow 300m south-east of Avebury Down Barn forming part of a Bronze Age round barrow cemetery on Avebury Down

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1008365

Date first listed: 17-Feb-1927

Date of most recent amendment: 04-Feb-1994

Map

Ordnance survey map of Bell barrow 300m south-east of Avebury Down Barn forming part of a Bronze Age round barrow cemetery on Avebury Down
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Location

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

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Avebury

National Grid Reference: SU 11057 70927

Summary

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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 bell barrow 300m south-east of Avebury Down Barn is a well preserved example of a rare class of monument, forming part of a nationally important round barrow cemetery. The barrow is unusual in the Avebury area as it does not appear to have been excavated in the past. Undisturbed archaeological and environmental evidence will survive, relating to the construction of the barrow and the landscape in which it was built.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

The monument includes a bell barrow 300m south-east of Avebury Down Barn which forms an outlier of a Bronze Age round barrow cemetery, the other four barrows of which are located to the east. The barrow is situated on a spur overlooking the Kennet valley and facing the Windmill Hill round barrow cemetery 2km to the west. The barrow survives as an upstanding monument, the mound of which measures 24m in diameter and stands up to 2.4m high. There is a slight depression in the summit of the mound made by animal burrowing rather than by previous excavations. The mound is surrounded by a narrow berm or platform c.0.5m wide, and beyond that a quarry ditch from which material was obtained during the construction of the monument. This is no longer visible at ground level having become infilled over the years due to cultivation. However, it will survive as a buried feature c.3m wide.

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.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 21749

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Other
SU 17 SW 56, RCHM(E), SU11057093 Tumulus, (1975)
SU06NE640, CAO, Bell barrow, (1989)

End of official listing