Bell barrow 25m east of Finger Post Plantation: part of Great Bircham barrow group

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010562

Date first listed: 12-Apr-1926

Date of most recent amendment: 27-Jan-1995

Map

Ordnance survey map of Bell barrow 25m east of Finger Post Plantation: part of Great Bircham barrow group
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Location

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

County: Norfolk

District: King's Lynn and West Norfolk (District Authority)

Parish: Bircham

National Grid Reference: TF 77476 31501

Summary

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

Reasons for Designation

Bell barrows, the most visually impressive form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating to the Early and Middle Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 1500-1100 BC. They occur either in isolation or in round barrow cemeteries and were constructed as single or multiple mounds covering burials, often in pits, and surrounded by an enclosure ditch. The burials are frequently accompanied by weapons, personal ornaments and pottery and appear to be those of aristocratic individuals, usually men. Bell barrows (particularly multiple barrows) are rare nationally, with less than 250 known examples, most of which are in Wessex. Their richness in terms of grave goods provides evidence for chronological and cultural links amongst early prehistoric communities over most of southern and eastern England as well as providing an insight into their beliefs and social organisation. As a particularly rare form of round barrow, all identified bell barrows would normally be considered to be of national importance.

The bell barrow east of Finger Post Plantation survives well. The antiquarian excavation into the mound was limited in extent in relation to the monument as a whole and archaeological information concerning the construction of the barrow and the manner and duration of its use, as well as evidence for the local environment at that time, will be retained in the mound, in the buried soils beneath the mound and in the fill of the ditch. The barrow is the most northerly of a group of four, including another bell barrow, which survive as upstanding earthworks within a distance of 700m, and has additional interest and importance in that context.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a bell barrow located on a slight, south west facing slope on what was formerly heathland. The site is near the western edge of the Good Sands region of upland north west Norfolk. The barrow is visible as an earthen mound which stands to a height of c.1.7m and covers a circular area c.27m in diameter, surrounded by a sloping berm c.3.5m wide and a ditch up to 4m wide. The ditch, from which earth was dug and used in the construction of the mound, has become largely infilled but survives as a buried feature, marked by a slight hollow, c.0.25m deep, in the ground surface. The mound was investigated in 1842 by F C Lukis and others who dug a square shaft down to the buried ground surface beneath the mound and recovered a fragment of prehistoric pottery. The posts of a fence around the central mound are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 21349

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Lukis, F C, A Brief Account of the Barrows near Bircham Magna, Norfolk, (1843)
Other
1705: West Norfolk, Bircham,

End of official listing