Horslip long barrow, 450m north-west of Horslip Bridge.
- 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 08606 70503
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 most
rich and varied areas of Neolithic and Bronze Age ceremonial and ritual
monuments in the country. Long barrows were constructed as earthen or drystone
mounds with flanking ditches and acted as funerary monuments during the Early
and Middle Neolithic periods (3400-2400 BC). They represent the burial places
of Britain's early farming communities and, as such, are amongst the oldest
field monuments surviving visibly in the present landscape. Where
investigated, long barrows appear to have been used for communal burial, often
with only parts of the human remains having been selected for interment.
Certain sites provide evidence for several phases of funerary monument
preceding the barrow and it is probable that long barrows acted as important
ritual sites for local communities over a considerable period of time. Some
500 long barrows are recorded in England of which fifteen survive in the
Avebury area. These represent an important group for understanding the
historical context within which Avebury developed during the Late Neolithic
and Early Bronze Age periods; all are considered to be worthy of protection.
Horslip long barrow survives as a visible earthwork although it has been reduced over the years by cultivation. Excavation has enhanced our understanding of this site and has also established that it is contemporary with the occupation of the nearby causewayed enclosure on Windmill Hill. Despite this excavation, however, much of the mound and the flanking ditches survive undisturbed and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the Avebury landscape in which it was built.
Horslip long barrow is a Neolithic burial mound situated on a south-facing
spur of Windmill Hill with views towards Beckhampton c.1.5km to the south,
across a culverted former tributary of the River Kennet.
The mound is aligned north-west - south-east and measures 58m long, up to 34m
wide and stands 0.6m high. The mound was constructed of chalk and earth with
wattle fences used to add stability to the structure and to guide the dumping
of construction materials.
To each side of the mound are quarry ditches c.60m in length and c.5m wide
located c.6m out from the edge of the barrow mound. These ditches have become
infilled over the years but survive as features below the present ground
The barrow was partially excavated by Ashbee and Smith in 1959 and finds
included flint implements as well as Neolithic and Bronze Age pottery in the
fill of the ditches. The excavations also showed that the mound preserved
evidence of the earlier land-use of the site including a series of pits.
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:
Books and journals
Pugh, RB (ed), The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume II, (1957), 138
Ashbee, P, Smith, I, 'Antiquity Journal' in Excavation Of Horslip Long Barrow 1959, , Vol. 34, (1960), 297-9
NAR SU 07 SE 6, RCHM(E), Long barrow Avebury 47, (1973)
SU07SE104, CAO, Horslip Long 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