West Kennet bell barrow, 160m north-west of West Kennet long barrow
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1008465
Date first listed: 04-Jun-1957
Date of most recent amendment: 13-May-1994
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This copy shows the entry on 26-Mar-2019 at 08:24:48.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference: SU 10261 67870
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.
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
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: 21718
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Smith, I F, 'Wilts. Arch. and Natural History Society Magazine 1965' in West Kennet Round Barrow, , Vol. 60, (1965), 24-46
SU 16 NW 60, RCHM(E), Avebury 55, (1973)
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