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A bell barrow and two bowl barrows east of The Avenue on Countess Farm: part of a linear round barrow cemetery

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: A bell barrow and two bowl barrows east of The Avenue on Countess Farm: part of a linear round barrow cemetery

List entry Number: 1010331

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County:

District: Wiltshire

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Amesbury

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 09-Apr-1948

Date of most recent amendment: 04-May-1995

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 10441

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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.

Bell barrows, the most visually impressive form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating from 1600-1200 BC. They occur either in isolation or in round barrow cemeteries. They were constructed as single or multiple mounds covering burials often in pits and surrounded by an enclosure ditch. The burials in bell barrows appear to be those of aristocratic individuals and are also frequently accompanied by weapons, personal ornaments and pottery vessels. Bell barrows are rare nationally with only 250 examples known of which thirty 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. Despite the reduced height of the bell barrow and despite the two bowl barrows having been levelled by cultivation, partial excavation has demonstrated that archaeological remains survive. These three barrows east of The Avenue form an integral part of the linear round barrow cemetery which crosses the eastern section of The Avenue.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a bell barrow and two levelled bowl barrows forming part of a linear round barrow cemetery which is aligned east-west and crosses the course of The Avenue. These barrows are located east of The Avenue on a south facing slope which gradually declines towards the A303. The mounds of the levelled bowl barrows are now difficult to identify on the ground, having been levelled by cultivation. They are, however, surrounded by ditches from which material was quarried during their construction. These have become infilled over the years but survive as buried features and are visible on aerial photographs from which the overall diameters of the bowl barrows are calculated to be 20m in the case of the westernmost barrow and 18m in the case of the central barrow. The bell barrow is located 15m east of the central barrow and has an overall diameter of c.30m including the mound, which survives as a slight earthwork 0.2m high, the berm and surrounding quarry ditch which survives as a buried feature c.3m wide. This barrow and the central bowl barrow were partially excavated in 1959. A pit located off centre containing Neolithic pottery was found in the bowl barrow and two primary cremations contained in inverted urns were found in the bell barrow.

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.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
'Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine' in Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine, , Vol. 57, (1958), 394
Other

National Grid Reference: SU 13977 42272

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2017. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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This copy shows the entry on 14-Dec-2017 at 01:20:46.

End of official listing