Two disc barrows 700m north-west of Heath Copse


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012279

Date first listed: 09-Oct-1981

Date of most recent amendment: 10-Jul-1991


Ordnance survey map of Two disc barrows 700m north-west of Heath Copse
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Grafton

National Grid Reference: SU 27094 56267


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

Reasons for Designation

Disc barrows, the most fragile type of round barrow, are funerary monuments of the early Bronze Age, with most examples dating to the period 1400-1200 bc. They occur either in isolation or in barrow cemeteries (closely-spaced groups of round barrows). Disc barrows were constructed as a circular or oval area of level ground defined by a bank and internal ditch and containing one or more centrally or eccentrically located small, low mounds covering burials, usually in pits. The burials, normally cremations, are frequently accompanied by pottery vessels, tools and personal ornaments. It has been suggested that disc barrows were normally used for the burial of women, although this remains unproven. However, it is likely that the individuals buried were of high status. Disc barrows are rare nationally, with about 250 known examples most of which are in Wessex. Their richness in terms of grave goods provides important evidence for chronological and cultural links amongst prehistoric communities over a wide area of southern England as well as providing an insight into their beliefs and social organisation. As a particularly rare and fragile form of round barrow, all identified disc barrows would normally be considered to be of national importance.

Despite partial excavation of the Heath Copse disc barrows, much of each of the monuments survives intact and they are a fine example of their class. Disc barrows have often been reduced by cultivation and it is unusual to find a pair in such a complete state of preservation. As a consequence, the site has considerable potential for the recovery of archaeological evidence for the nature and duration of use of the monument and the environment within which it was constructed. The importance of the site is further enhanced by the fact that numerous other round barrows survive in the area as well as additional evidence for contemporary settlement. Such evidence provides a clear indication of the extent to which the area was settled during the Bronze Age period.


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


The monument includes two conjoined disc barrows, aligned broadly north- south, set on a gentle west-facing slope above the floor of a dry valley. The northern barrow has a central mound 10m in diameter and 0.75m high surrounded by a berm 7.5m wide. A hollow on the mound measures 5m by 0.5m and suggests partial excavation of the site, probably in the 19th century. Surrounding the berm is a ditch 6m wide and 1m deep, from which material was quarried during construction of the monument, and a high outer bank on the west side of the mound, 6m wide and 1.5m high. The southern barrow comprises a central mound l2m across and 0.75m high surrounded by a level berm 10m across. A central hollow on the mound measures 6m in diameter and is 0.5m deep suggesting partial excavation of the monument, probably at the same time as the adjacent barrow mound. A ditch surrounds the central area except to the north where it abutts the southern part of the ditch surrounding the adjacent northern mound. This has been partly infilled over the years but survives as an earthwork 5m wide and 1m deep. An outer bank defines the maximum extent of the monument, at least on the downhill side where it stands 1.5m high and is 5m across.

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: 12266

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing