Ten round barrows forming the Lake Down round barrow cemetery and a section of linear boundary crossing Lake Down


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010875

Date first listed: 21-Apr-1925

Date of most recent amendment: 01-Mar-1995


Ordnance survey map of Ten round barrows forming the Lake Down round barrow cemetery and a section of linear boundary crossing Lake Down
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Wilsford cum Lake

National Grid Reference: SU 11846 39056

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.

Pond barrows are ceremonial or funerary monuments of the Early to Middle Bronze Age, most examples dating to between 1500 and 1000 BC. The term `barrow' is something of a misnomer as, rather than a mound, they were constructed as regular circular depressions with an embanked rim and, occasionally an outer ditch or an entrance through the bank. Pond barrows are the rarest form of round barrow, with about 60 examples recorded nationally and a distribution largely confined to Wiltshire and Dorset, many of which are in the Stonehenge area. As few examples have been excavated, they have a particularly high value for future study. Due to their rarity, all identified pond barrows will normally be considered to be of national importance. Disc barrows are funerary monuments dating from 1600-1200 BC. They were constructed as a circular or oval area of level ground defined by a bank and internal ditch and containing one or more central or eccentrically located small, low mounds, covering burials, usually in pits. The burials are normally cremations and are frequently accompanied by pottery vessels, tools and personal ornaments. Disc barrows are rare nationally with only 250 examples known of which 29 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 around 260 in the Stonehenge area. All three barrow types occur either in isolation or in round barrow cemeteries. Linear boundaries are substantial earthwork features comprising single or multiple ditches and banks which may extend over distances varying between less than 1km to more than 10km. They survive as earthworks or as linear features visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs or as a combination of both, as in the present case. The evidence of excavation and study of associated monuments demonstrate that their construction spans the millenium from the Middle Bronze Age, although they may have been reused later. The scale of many linear boundaries has been taken to indicate that they were constructed by large social groups and were used to mark important boundaries in the landscape, their impressive scale displaying the corporate prestige of their builders. They would have been powerful symbols, often with religious associations, used to define and order the territorial holdings of those groups which constructed them. Linear earthworks are of considerable importance for the analysis of settlement and land use in the Bronze Age. All well preserved examples will normally merit statutory protection. The round barrow cemetery and section of linear boundary on Lake Down survive well. Both are outstanding examples of their type. The cemetery is unusual in containing four pond barrows. In addition, partial excavation of the round barrows has shown that they contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. The linear boundary will also contain archaeological remains, and is abutted by a field system in its south east sector, which indicates that it was an important element in the development of the prehistoric landscape.


The monument includes five bowl barrows, four pond barrows and a disc barrow forming a round barrow cemetery on Lake Down, together with a section of linear boundary which crosses Lake Down on the south side of the round barrow cemetery. The cemetery occupies a broad, flat ledge on an east-facing slope which overlooks the Avon valley. Three of the pond barrows are located at the centre of the cemetery and the fourth is located 70m to the north east at the edge. All have central depressions still visible, ranging from 11m to 16m in diameter, and from 0.3m to 1.75m deep. Outer banks surround the depressions, visible in three cases as earthworks up to 4m wide and 0.75m high. Overall diameters range from 19m to 23m. All were partially excavated in the 19th century and one produced a cremation. The disc barrow is located near the southern margin of the cemetery. It has a mound 10m in diameter and 0.75m high, surrounded by a berm 10m wide, a ditch 6m wide by 0.75m deep and an outer bank 5m wide by 1m high, giving an overall diameter of 52m. Partial excavation in the 19th century revealed a primary cremation in an urn. The five bowl barrows have mounds which range in diameter from 10m to 20m and in height from 0.7m to 2.5m. All are surrounded by ditches from which material was quarried during their construction. These are now difficult to identify on the ground, having become infilled over the years, but survive as buried features ranging in width from 1m to 4m. The two bowl barrows forming the north west corner of the cemetery were partially excavated in the 19th century and each produced a primary cremation. The linear boundary runs from a point 100m north east of Westfield Farm on Lake Down to Rox Hill, crossing the north west-south east ledge on the southern margin of the cemetery. This monument is part of a complex of boundary earthworks which extend for over 4km from west of Winterbourne Stoke Crossroads to Rox Hill in the south east, with extensions north east beyond Normanton Gorse. The section of linear boundary is c.900m in length and consists of a ditch 4m wide and up to 1m deep, flanked on its north east side by a bank 3.5m wide and 0.5m high and on its south west side by a similar bank 5m wide and 0.7m high. Aerial photographs reveal that it extends as a buried feature c.1100m further north west to connect to a visible section of similar earthworks near the Lake round barrow cemetery. This section of the boundary has been reduced by cultivation and is now difficult to identify on the ground. It has therefore been excluded from the scheduling. A similar earthwork runs parallel to this monument 300m to the north. The Lake Down round barrow cemetery occupies part of the land between the two earthworks. Further south east the intervening strip is occupied by a prehistoric field system which abuts the north side of the boundary earthwork north of Rox Hill, and a similar field system abuts it on the south side in this area. The field systems are difficult to identify on the ground. The parallel earthwork to the north is the subject of a separate scheduling. All fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath these features 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: 10357

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 199
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 199
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 199
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 199
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 225
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 225
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 225
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 199
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 220
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 199
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 259
RCHME, , Stonehenge and its Environs, (1979), 26
'Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine.CHECK RAC!!' in Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine.CHECK RAC!!, , Vol. 79, ()

End of official listing