Giant's Cave: a chambered long barrow 750m south west of Allengrove Farm

Overview

Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
1010394
Date first listed:
10-Mar-1925
Date of most recent amendment:
10-Feb-1992

Map

Ordnance survey map of Giant's Cave: a chambered long barrow 750m south west of Allengrove Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. 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:
Luckington
National Grid Reference:
ST 82001 82965

Reasons for Designation

Long barrows were constructed as earthen or drystone mounds with flanking ditches and acted as funerary monuments during the Early and Middle Neolithic periods (3400-2400 BC). They represent the burial places of Britain's early farming communities and, as such, are amongst the oldest field monuments surviving visibly in the present landscape. Where investigated, long barrows appear to have been used for communal burial, often with only parts of the human remains having been selected for interment. Certain sites provide evidence for several phases of funerary monument preceding the barrow and, consequently, it is probable that long barrows acted as important ritual sites for local communities over a considerable period of time. Some 500 long barrows are recorded in England. As one of the few types of Neolithic structure to survive as earthworks, and due to their comparative rarity, their considerable age and their longevity as a monument type, all long barrows are considered to be nationally important.

The 180 long barrows of Hampshire, Wiltshire and Dorset form the densest and one of the most significant concentrations of monuments of this type in the country. The Giant's Cave long barrow is important as, despite early exploration of the site, it survives comparatively well and has potential for the recovery of further archaeological remains in addition to environmental evidence relating to the period in which the monument was constructed. The importance of the site is enhanced by the survival of an additional long barrow 150m to the south-east. Such pairs are rare and give an indication of the density or length of time during which some areas were populated in the Neolithic period.

Details

The monument includes a chambered long barrow set on the floor of a valley immediately north of a tributary of the River Avon. The barrow mound is orientated east-west and is trapezoidal in plan. It has maximum dimensions of 56m in length, is 26m wide and 2.5m high. Limestone slabs on the surface of the mound at the eastern end represent the chambers of what was a laterally chambered tomb of the Cotswold-Severn group. Hollows and a spoil heap towards the centre of the mound represent an early exploration of the site although no details are known. Although no longer visible at ground level, quarry ditches run parallel to the north and south sides of the barrow mound. These have become infilled over the years but survive as buried features c.3m wide.

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:
12286
Legacy System:
RSM

Sources

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

Legal

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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