Saucer barrow: part of a barrow cemetery west of Barbury Castle


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010468

Date first listed: 03-Mar-1927

Date of most recent amendment: 24-Sep-1992


Ordnance survey map of Saucer barrow: part of a barrow cemetery west of Barbury Castle
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Swindon (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Wroughton

National Grid Reference: SU 14680 76343


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

Reasons for Designation

Saucer barrows are funerary monuments of the Early Bronze Age, most examples dating to between 1800 and l200 BC. They occur either in isolation or in barrow cemeteries (closely-spaced groups of round barrows). They were constructed as a circular area of level ground defined by a bank and internal ditch and largely occupied by a single low, squat mound covering one or more burials, usually in a pit. The burials, either inhumations or cremations, are sometimes accompanied by pottery vessels, tools and personal ornaments. Saucer barrows are one of the rarest recognised forms of round barrow, with about 60 known examples nationally, most of which are in Wessex. The presence of grave goods within the barrows provides important evidence for chronological and cultural links amongst prehistoric communities over a wide area of southern England as well as providing an insight into their beliefs and social organisation. As a rare and fragile form of round barrow, all identified saucer barrows would normally be considered to be of national importance.

The importance of the Barbury Castle saucer barrow is enhanced by the fact that it occurs within a barrow cemetery. These comprise closely-spaced groups of up to 30 round barrows which often developed over a considerable period of time. They generally occupy prominent locations, as in this case, making them a major historic element in the modern landscape whilst their diversity and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst early Prehistoric communities.


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


The monument includes a saucer barrow set on a prominent ridge-top in an area of undulating chalk downland. The barrow mound is 21m across and 0.2m high surrounded by a ditch and outer bank. The ditch, from which material was quarried during construction of the monument, has become partly infilled over the years but survives as an earthwork 3m wide and 0.4m deep. The bank is 3m wide and 0.5m high from the downhill side. The monument forms part of the barrow cemetery comprising five barrows within 300m of each other, one of which abuts Barbury Castle.

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: 12310

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing