Bell barrow 300m south-east of Avebury Down Barn forming part of a Bronze Age round barrow cemetery on Avebury Down
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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This copy shows the entry on 03-Dec-2021 at 00:31:27.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- SU 11057 70927
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.
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 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.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
- Legacy System:
SU 17 SW 56, RCHM(E), SU11057093 Tumulus, (1975)
SU06NE640, CAO, Bell 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