Bowl barrow and pill box 450m north west of Sheep Drift Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1008730

Date first listed: 14-Dec-1960

Date of most recent amendment: 12-May-1994


Ordnance survey map of Bowl barrow and pill box 450m north west of Sheep Drift Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Suffolk

District: Suffolk Coastal (District Authority)

Parish: Martlesham

National Grid Reference: TM 24953 44596

Reasons for Designation

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Often superficially similar, although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form and a diversity of burial practices. There are over 10,000 surviving bowl barrows recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring across most of lowland Britain. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation of form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Evaluation has shown that the barrow 450m north west of Sheep Drift Farm retains important archaeological information, despite the construction on it of a pill box and associated military trenches and the removal of material from the west, north and eastern sides of the mound. Evidence of the construction of the barrow, of the manner and duration of its use, and of the environment, at and prior to the time of its construction, will be contained in the mound and in the soils preserved beneath it. The barrow is one of a large group recorded on and around Martlesham Heath, including five within a radius of 6O0m, and together these will provide evidence of the nature and extent of Bronze Age activities in the area. The pill box is well-preserved and of importance as an example of military works constructed in the area during World War II. The use of a prehistoric barrow for this purpose is also of interest.


The monument includes a bowl barrow and a superimposed World War II pill box with associated trenches. It is situated immediately to the south east of what was formerly Martlesham Heath Airfield. The barrow is visible as an earthen mound which survives to a maximum height of 1.7m. The mound is now incomplete, but is known originally to have covered an area approximately 17m in diameter. On it is a hexagonal pill box, constructed of brick and concrete and occupying an area of approximately 10 square metres, and around this are the remains of a gun emplacement and slit trenches with brick retaining walls. A survey and limited excavation were carried out on the site in July 1991, in order to ascertain the extent of surviving archaeological deposits in the barrow. This showed that the mound survives to a height of approximately 0.9m beneath the floor of the pill box and that, even in areas which have been substantially levelled, parts of the base of the mound and underlying soils remain intact. One sherd of Bronze Age pottery was found in the yellow sand of which the mound is composed.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 4 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: 21267

Legacy System: RSM


SMR No 94c; Typescript in SMR file, Martin E, Round Barrow at Brightwell, Suffolk. SMR No BGL 008; SAM 94c, (1991)

End of official listing