Nine round barrows forming a round barrow cemetery 400m north of the eastern end of The Cursus

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009067

Date first listed: 17-Mar-1965

Date of most recent amendment: 27-Mar-1995

Map

Ordnance survey map of Nine round barrows forming a round barrow cemetery 400m north of the eastern end of The Cursus
© 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: Durrington

National Grid Reference: SU 13578 43610

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 Bronze Age periods. Two of the best known and earliest recognised areas are around Avebury and Stonehenge, now jointly designated as a World Heritage Site. The area of chalk downland which surrounds Stonehenge contains one of the densest and most varied groups of Neolithic and Bronze Age field monuments in Britain. Included within the area are Stonehenge itself, the Stonehenge cursus, the Durrington Walls henge, and a variety of burial monuments, many grouped into cemeteries. The area has been the subject of archaeological research since the 18th century when Stukeley recorded many of the monuments and partially excavated a number of the burial mounds. More recently, the collection of artefacts from the surfaces of ploughed fields has supplemented the evidence for ritual and burial by revealing the intensity of contemporary settlement and land-use. In view of the importance of the area, all ceremonial and sepulchral monuments of this period which retain significant archaeological remains are identified as nationally important. 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 Avebury. Often occupying prominent positions, 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.

Six of the bowl barrows in the cemetery situated 400m north of the eastern end of the Cursus survive well and two of these are confluent, a comparatively rare arrangement. The group also includes a pond barrow, the rarest form of round barrow, of which about 60 examples are recorded in a distribution largely confined to Dorset and Wiltshire; many of these are within the Stonehenge area. Despite the reduced height of two of the bowl barrows and the bank which surrounded the pond barrow, partial excavation has shown that all the barrows contain archaeological 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 round barrow cemetery containing nine round barrows which lie clustered in a broad crescent to the north of the eastern end of the Cursus and ESE of the Durrington Down Barn Destructor. The group is made up of eight bowl barrows and one pond barrow. The two bowl barrows situated at the top of the crescent are confluent. The pond barrow, which lies on the western edge of the curve, shows as a shallow depression with a central soilmark. The bank which surrounded this is now difficult to identify on the ground but is visible on aerial photographs as a 3m wide ring of lighter soil defining an area c.25m across. Of the eight bowl barrows in the group, seven are round, one (that immediately south of the pond barrow) is oval. The barrow mounds range in size between 10m and 28m in diameter and from being level to standing 1.3m high. All eight mounds are surrounded by ditches from which material was quarried during their construction. These are now difficult to identify on the ground having become infilled over the years, but they do survive as buried features 2m-3m wide. All eight bowl barrows were partially excavated in the 19th century. Six revealed primary cremations and one contained several skeletons. The post and wire fence that crosses the monument from north west to south east is excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath it is included.

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: 10246

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 171
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 171
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 171
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 171
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 171
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 225
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 171
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 171
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 171
Hoare, R C, Ancient History of Wiltshire, (1812), 168
Hoare, R C, Ancient History of Wiltshire, (1812), 168
Hoare, R C, Ancient History of Wiltshire, (1812), 168
Hoare, R C, Ancient History of Wiltshire, (1812), 168
Hoare, R C, Ancient History of Wiltshire, (1812), 168
Hoare, R C, Ancient History of Wiltshire, (1812), 168
Hoare, R C, Ancient History of Wiltshire, (1812), 168
Hoare, R C, Ancient History of Wiltshire, (1812), 168
Hoare, R C, Ancient History of Wiltshire, (1812), 168

End of official listing