Five bowl barrows and two saucer barrows forming a round barrow cemetery on Winterbourne Stoke Down

Overview

Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
1011047
Date first listed:
09-Jul-1923
Date of most recent amendment:
13-Apr-1995

Map

Ordnance survey map of Five bowl barrows and two saucer barrows forming a round barrow cemetery on Winterbourne Stoke Down
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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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:
Winterbourne Stoke
National Grid Reference:
SU 09971 41856

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 at least 320 in the Stonehenge area.

Saucer barrows are funerary monuments of the Early Bronze Age. They occur either in isolation or, as in this case, in round barrow cemeteries. 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 examples nationally, most of which are in Wessex. At least ten examples are known from the Stonehenge area.

The round barrow cemetery on Winterbourne Stoke Down survives well and is an outstanding example of its type. The five bowl barrows and two saucer barrows are known from partial excavation to contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed.

Details

The monument includes five bowl barrows and two saucer barrows forming a round barrow cemetery on Winterbourne Stoke Down. The monument is situated some 300m north west of the Winterbourne Stoke crossroads round barrow cemetery, on a high plateau. The two saucer barrows form the northern limit of the cemetery. Each has a mound 15m in diameter, surrounded by a ditch and outer bank, with overall diameters of 30m for the western barrow and 31m for the eastern. The five bowl barrows have mounds which range from 8m to 20m in diameter and from 0.4m to 2.25m in height. The mounds are surrounded by ditches, from which material was quarried during their construction. These have mostly become infilled over the years and survive as buried features, but the ditch of the southernmost bowl barrow is visible as an earthwork 3m wide and 0.4m deep. All the barrows were partially excavated in the 19th century. Six of the mounds produced primary cremations, two with pottery vessels, and the seventh barrow, the most south easterly, produced primary and secondary inhumations. The track, now little used - which crosses the monument is included in the scheduling. The eastern grass verge of the A360 is included in the 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.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number:
10483
Legacy System:
RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 201
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 224
Hoare, R C, Ancient History of Wiltshire, (1812), 121

Legal

This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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