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. 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, normally 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 variety of burial practices. There are over
10,000 surviving bowl barrows recorded nationally and at least 320 in the
Stonehenge area. This group of monuments will provide important information
on the development of this area during the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age
Despite having been levelled by cultivation, the three bowl barrows 220m west
of Vespasian's Camp 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 ground surface will
survive beneath the area disturbed by cultivation.
The monument includes three levelled bowl barrows, aligned broadly north west
to south east, 220m west of Vespasian's Camp, south of the A303 and situated
on a gentle south east facing slope with views south to Coneybury Hill and
south east across the Avon valley. The barrow mounds are now difficult to
identify on the ground, but they are all 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 to
be 15m, 14m and 16m.
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.