Two bowl barrows: part of the round barrow cemetery on Therfield Heath


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010432

Date first listed: 10-Aug-1923

Date of most recent amendment: 16-Jul-1992


Ordnance survey map of Two bowl barrows: part of the round barrow cemetery on Therfield Heath
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This copy shows the entry on 22-Jan-2019 at 12:31:25.


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

County: Hertfordshire

District: North Hertfordshire (District Authority)

Parish: Therfield

National Grid Reference: TL 34743 40072


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

Reasons for Designation

Round barrow cemeteries date to the Bronze Age (c.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, occasionally associated with earlier long barrows. Where large scale investigation has been undertaken around them, contemporary or later "flat" burials between the barrow mounds have often been revealed. Round barrow cemeteries occur across most of lowland Britain, with a marked concentration in Wessex. In some cases, they are clustered around other important contemporary monuments such as henges. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape, whilst their diversity and their longevity as a monument type provide important information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving or partly-surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

The round barrow cemetery on Therfield Heath is the largest known example of its type in Hertfordshire. Despite evidence for partial excavation these two bowl barrows survive in good condition providing archaeological information on the development of the cemetery and environmental evidence relating to the landscape in which it was constructed.


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


The monument includes two bowl barrows situated on Therfie1d Heath. They represent outliers to a wider round barrow cemetery and are located about 500m ESE of a Neolithic long barrow. The eastern-most barrow comprises a hemispherical earth mound measuring 20m in diameter and c.2.5m in height. Approximately 25m west of this is another barrow mound which measures 20m in diameter and c.2m in height. On the summit of this barrow are the concrete footings of a park bench. Both barrows were partially excavated in 1855 by E B Nunn and the more westerly of the two was found to contain a cremation in a wooden structure. Although no longer visible at ground level, ditches, from which material was quarried during the construction of the mounds, surround each barrow. These have become infilled over the years but survive as buried features c.2m wide. The ground between the two barrows is included in the scheduling as it is considered likely to retain evidence for flat burials and contemporary settlement. The concrete footings of the bench are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath 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.


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

Legacy System number: 20631

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing