Bronze Age bowl barrow and a pair of Anglo-Saxon burial mounds 70m south of the White Horse on Whitehorse 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.

Vale of White Horse (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SU 30103 86529

Reasons for Designation

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Often superficially similar, although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form and a diversity of burial practices. There are over 10,000 surviving bowl barrows recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring across most of lowland Britain. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation of form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

The Bronze Age bowl barrow 70m south of the White Horse on Whitehorse Hill has survived despite being small in size. Our understanding of its form and function has been increased by recent partial excavation and geophysical survey. Hlaews are burial monuments of Anglo-Saxon or Viking date and comprise a hemispherical mound of earth and redeposited bedrock constructed over a primary burial or burials. These were usually inhumations, buried in a grave cut into the subsoil beneath the mound, but cremations placed on the old ground surface beneath the mound have also been found. Hlaews may occur in pairs or in small groups; a few have accompanying flat graves. Constructed during the pagan Saxon and Viking periods for individuals of high rank, they served as visible and ostentatious markers of their social position. Some were associated with territorial claims and appear to have been specifically located to mark boundaries. They often contain objects which give information on the range of technological skill and trading contacts of the period. Only between 50 and 60 hlaews have been positively identified in England. As a rare monument class all positively identified examples are considered worthy of preservation. The pair of hlaews forming part of this monument are situated in an area which includes archaeological remains relating to burial practice spanning the Neolithic, Bronze Age, Roman and Anglo-Saxon periods and as such are part of an unusual example of changing burial practices, within a discrete location.


The monument includes a small Bronze Age bowl barrow and two Anglo-Saxon hlaews (burial mounds), aligned south west to north east, and situated 70m south of the White Horse and c.100m north east of Uffington Castle on Whitehorse Hill, an area that is in the Guardianship of the Secretary of State. The barrows lie on the top of the hill and overlook a Neolithic long barrow and Romano British cemetery c.60m to the west. The Bronze Age barrow mound, which is situated at the south west end of the group, measures 11m in diameter and stands up to 0.15m high. Surrounding the mound is a quarry ditch from which material was obtained during the construction of the monument. This has become infilled over the years and is now only visible at ground level as a slight depression to the north and west of the barrow. Recent excavation has shown it to survive as a buried feature c.2m wide. The mound has been cut by later Roman features from which artefacts, including metal work, have been recovered. The two Anglo-Saxon hlaews are difficult to locate at ground level but they have been plotted by a recent geophysical survey as being c.11m apart and each having a diameter of 9m. Although the mounds have been levelled, the Saxon ground surface and all features cut into it, for example burial pits, will survive below the present ground level. These barrows did not have quarry ditches but were built from material collected from nearby.

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:


Ancient Monuments Laboratory, White Horse Hill Mounds, 1993, Unpublished plots
Ancient Monuments Laboratory, White Horse Hill Mounds, 1993, Unpublished plots
Excavation report, Palmer, S, Uffington White Horse Hill 1993, (1993)
Letter to P. Jeffery 16/08/1993, Palmer, S., Uffington White Horse Hill - MPP, (1993)
OXON PRN 10,730, C.A.O., Oblong Mound, (1983)
unpublished plots, Ancient Monuments Laboratory, Summary of Magnetic Susceptibility Tests, (1993)
With S. Palmer - interpretation, JEFFERY, P., DISCUSSION ON SITE, (1993)
With S. Palmer - interpretation, JEFFERY, P., On Site Discussion, (1993)


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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