Six bowl barrows forming the greater part of a round barrow cemetery on Wilsford Down 350m north of Springbottom Farm buildings

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010880

Date first listed: 23-Feb-1995

Map

Ordnance survey map of Six bowl barrows forming the greater part of a round barrow cemetery on Wilsford Down 350m north of Springbottom Farm buildings
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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: Wilsford cum Lake

National Grid Reference: SU 12202 40483

Summary

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

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.

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. Despite the reduced height of the six bowl barrows which form the greater part of a round barrow cemetery north of Springbottom Farm buildings, they will contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. Aerial photographs have shown that the ditch fills survive undisturbed, while deposits located on the Bronze Age surface will survive beneath the area disturbed by cultivation.

History

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

Details

The monument includes six levelled bowl barrows forming the greater part of a round barrow cemetery located 350m north of Springbottom Farm buildings and occupying an east-facing slope with views across the Avon valley. The cemetery consists of eight bowl barrows in all. Five of the barrows in this monument are aligned broadly north east to south west and the sixth is just slightly apart to the east. None of the barrow mounds are now visible on the ground. All are surrounded by ditches from which material was quarried during their construction. These have become infilled over the years but survive as buried features and are visible on aerial photographs from which the overall diameters of the barrows are calculated. The smallest barrow is 10m diameter and the largest is oval shaped and is 12m by 20m. Field investigations in the 19th century revealed that two of the barrows had been partially excavated.

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: 10486

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

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
Hoare, R C, Ancient History of Wiltshire, (1812), 207
Hoare, R C, Ancient History of Wiltshire, (1812), 207
RCHME, , Stonehenge and its Environs, (1979), 3
Joare, R C, 'Ancient Wiltshire' in Ancient Wiltshire: No 181, , Vol. 1, (1812), 207
Other
2- AP Transcription and Analysis, John Samuals Archaeological Consultants, A 303 - Amesbury to Berwick Down, (1993)
2- AP Transcription and Analysis, John Samuals Archaeological Consultants, A 303 - Amesbury to Berwick Down, (1993)
2- AP Transcription and Analysis, John Samuals Archaeological Consultants, A 303 - Amesbury to Berwick Down, (1993)

End of official listing