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 partial excavation the monument survives well as a fine example of
its class. The barrow is well documented as one of the Anglo-Saxon `Seofon
beorgas' and is part of the nationally important Overton Hill round barrow
The monument includes a bowl barrow situated 50m south-east of the `Sanctuary'
on a south facing spur, overlooking the Kennet valley to the south. The barrow
mound measures 23m in diameter and stands up to 3.5m high.
Surrounding the mound is a ditch from which material was quarried during the
construction of the monument. The ditch has been filled in over the years by
cultivation but survives as a buried feature c.3m wide.
The barrow was partly excavated in the early 1800s by Colt Hoare who found a
well preserved crouched inhumation burial. This was accompanied by a flat
bronze dagger, a small flat bronze axe, a crutch-headed pin and all were
contained in a hollowed-out tree trunk coffin.
The barrow is located at the southern end of a line of seven Bronze Age
barrows located on the southern end of Overton Hill. The site is known locally
as `Sevenbarrow Hill' and was called `Seofon beorgas' (Seven barrows) in
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.