West Kennet bell barrow, 160m north-west of West Kennet long barrow

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1008465

Date first listed: 04-Jun-1957

Date of most recent amendment: 13-May-1994

Map

Ordnance survey map of West Kennet bell barrow, 160m north-west of West Kennet long barrow
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Avebury

National Grid Reference: SU 10261 67870

Summary

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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. Bell barrows, the most visually impressive form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating to the Early and Middle Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 1600-1300 BC. They occur either in isolation or in round barrow cemeteries and were constructed as single or multiple mounds covering burials, often in pits, and surrounded by an enclosure ditch. The burials are frequently accompanied by weapons, personal ornaments and pottery and appear to be those of aristocratic individuals, usually men. Bell barrows are rare nationally, with less than 250 known examples, most of which are in Wessex. All examples are considered worthy of protection.

Despite partial excavation and disturbance caused by cultivation, the bell barrow 160m north-west of West Kennet long barrow survives as a slight earthwork with buried features which contain archaeologial remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

The monument includes a bell barrow, located on the edge of a north facing slope, overlooking the River Kennet and the Neolithic monumental mound of Silbury Hill. The barrow mound has been reduced by cultivation and excavation but survives as an earthwork 18m across and up to 0.4m high. Surrounding the mound, but no longer visible at ground level, is a berm or platform c.2m wide and an outer quarry ditch from which material was taken during the construction of the mound. This survives as a buried feature c.2m wide. The barrow was excavated in 1964 by Smith and finds included a disturbed primary cremation burial, a bronze awl, an incense cup and a sherd of a collared urn. The excavation also discovered evidence of earlier pits containing fragments of pottery and human remains preserved beneath the burial mound.

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.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 21718

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Smith, I F, 'Wilts. Arch. and Natural History Society Magazine 1965' in West Kennet Round Barrow, , Vol. 60, (1965), 24-46
Other
SU 16 NW 60, RCHM(E), Avebury 55, (1973)

End of official listing