Bowl barrow east of Arbor Low


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011089

Date first listed: 15-Apr-1994


Ordnance survey map of Bowl barrow east of Arbor Low
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This copy shows the entry on 15-Dec-2018 at 07:41:27.


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

County: Derbyshire

District: Derbyshire Dales (District Authority)

Parish: Middleton and Smerrill

National Park: PEAK DISTRICT

National Grid Reference: SK 16113 63520


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

Reasons for Designation

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Often superficially similar, although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form and a diversity of burial practices. There are over 10,000 surviving bowl barrows recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring across most of lowland Britain. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation of form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Superficially similar in form to prehistoric bowl barrows are hlaews of Anglo- Saxon or Viking date. These burial monuments were constructed during the pagan Saxon and Viking periods, for high-ranking individuals, and are much rarer than prehistoric bowl barrows, with only 50 to 60 recognised examples in the country. They served as visible and ostentatious markers of the social position of the people buried within them and some appear to have been specifically located to mark territorial boundaries. The barrow east of Arbor Low is a reasonably well-preserved example of either a hlaew or a bowl barrow which, although it has been partially excavated, retains significant archaeological remains which include evidence of the barrow's origins. It is most likely to have originated as a bowl barrow and is located in a rich and varied prehistoric landscape.


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


The monument is a roughly circular bowl barrow situated 30m east of the henge at Arbor Low in the central uplands of the limestone plateau of Derbyshire. It includes a mound with a diameter of 11.5m by 10.5m and a height of c.0.75m. A partial excavation was carried out by Thomas Bateman in 1844 when a corroded piece of iron was found in a rock cut grave and interpreted as a spear socket. The item indicates the use of the barrow in the Romano-British or Anglian periods but it has not been confirmed that the barrow was built at this time. Its close proximity to Arbor Low henge and stone circle, and to other Prehistoric barrows, suggests it may have originated in the Bronze Age.

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: 12503

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Barnatt, J, The Peak District Barrow Survey (1989), (1989)
Barnatt, J, The Peak District Barrow Survey (1989), (1989)
Bateman, T, Vestiges of the Antiquities of Derbyshire, (1849)
Barnatt, J, 'Sheffield Arch. Monograph 1' in The Henges, Stone Circles and Ringcairns of the Peak District, (1990)

End of official listing