Bowl barrow known as `Bush Barrow' and two disc barrows south east of Normanton Gorse forming part of Normanton Down round barrow cemetery


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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

Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
Wilsford cum Lake
National Grid Reference:
SU 11589 41266

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.

Disc barrows are funerary monuments dating from 1600-1200 BC. They occur either in isolation or in round barrow cemeteries. Disc barrows were constructed as a circular or oval area of level ground defined by a bank and internal ditch and containing one or more central or eccentrically located small, low mounds, covering burials, usually in pits. The burials are normally cremations and are frequently accompanied by pottery vessels, tools and personal ornaments. Disc barrows are rare nationally with only 250 examples known of which 29 are located within the Stonehenge area.

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, normally ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. Often superficially similar, although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form and a variety of burial practices. The burials, either inhumations or cremations, are sometimes accompanied by pottery vessels, tools and personal ornaments. There are over 10,000 surviving bowl barrows recorded nationally and at least 320 in the Stonehenge area.

The two disc barrows and the bowl barrow known as Bush Barrow south east of Normanton Gorse survive well and form an integral part of the Normanton Down round barrow cemetery, which is an outstanding example of its class. Partial excavation has shown that these three barrows contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed.


The monument includes three round barrows situated on Normanton Down, forming part of the Normanton Down round barrow cemetery. The location has extensive views to the south across Wilsford Down, and to the north across Stonehenge and the Cursus. The Normanton Down round barrow cemetery consists of 28 round barrows in all, including 17 bowl barrows, seven disc barrows, three bell barrows and a saucer barrow. Near the centre of the cemetery is a Neolithic long barrow. This monument includes Bush Barrow, one of the bowl barrows and two of the disc barrows.

The mound of the disc barrow situated north west of the track is 8m in diameter and 0.3m high. It is surrounded by a berm 15m wide, a ditch 8m wide and 0.5m deep and an outer bank 3m wide and 0.5m high, giving an overall diameter of 60m.

The mound of the disc barrow south east of the track is 8m in diameter and 0.3m high. It is surrounded by a berm 15m wide, which is in turn surrounded by a ditch 6m wide and 0.5m deep and an outer bank 4m wide and 0.5m high, giving an overall diameter of 58m. Some 20m east of the south east disc barrow is Bush Barrow. Its mound is 40m in diameter and 4m high. It is surrounded by a ditch, from which material was quarried during its construction. This is now difficult to identify on the ground, having become infilled over the years, but it is calculated to be 3m wide, giving an overall diameter of 46m. Partial excavation of the north west disc barrow in the 19th century revealed a primary cremation with beads of amber, shale and faience. There is also evidence of the insertion of a 20th century Druid cremation. Partial excavation of the south east disc barrow in the 19th century revealed a primary cremation and found that the mound had been opened previously, either by William Stukeley or the Earl of Pembroke. Partial excavation of Bush Barrow in the 19th century revealed a primary inhumation of an adult male with the remains of a possible helmet, an axe, two daggers, a perforated macehead and gold ornamental plates.

All fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath these features is included. The north east-south west track which crosses the south eastern edge of the more northerly disc barrow and the north western edge of the more southerly disc barrow is included in the scheduling.

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.

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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

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