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.
Despite cultivation on the western half of the site, the bowl barrow 200m
south of Windmill Hill survives as a recognisable earthwork and contains
archaeological deposits and environmental evidence relating both to the
monument and the landscape in which it was constructed.
The monument includes a bowl barrow situated on a gentle south-facing slope
overlooking the Kennet valley and Avebury village.
The barrow mound survives to a maximum diameter of 24m and is 0.4m high to the
east and 0.1m high to the west of the former fenceline which crosses the
monument from north to south. Surrounding the mound is a ditch from which
material was quarried during construction of the monument. This has become
infilled over the years but survives as a buried feature c.3m wide. It also
shows as an area of enhanced grass cover caused by increased moisture in the
soil fills of the ditch.
Excluded from the scheduling is the field boundary fence which crosses part of
the ditch, although the ground beneath this fence is included.
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.