Bowl barrow in Stephen's Firs: an outlier to a barrow cemetery in Holden's Firs
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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This copy shows the entry on 21-Jul-2019 at 10:16:04.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- West Berkshire (Unitary Authority)
- Stratfield Mortimer
- National Grid Reference:
- SU 64512 64654
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
The Stephen's Firs barrow is important as it survives comparatively well and, despite disturbance to the barrow mound by afforestation, has potential for the recovery of archaeological and environmental evidence, especially in the area of the ditch and from the old ground surface beneath the barrow mound. The significance of the site is considerably enhanced by its proximity to a linear barrow cemetery in Holden's Firs. Barrow cemeteries can give an indication of the intensity with which an area was settled during prehistory and provide evidence for the range of beliefs and nature of social organisation present within Bronze Age society.
The monument includes a bowl barrow set on high level ground between the
River Kennet to the north and Foudry Brook to the south. The barrow mound is
28m in diameter and stands to a height of between 1.5m and 2m. Although no
longer visible at ground level, a ditch from which material was quarried
during the construction of the monument, surrounds the mound. This has been
infilled over the years and survives as a buried feature c.3m wide. The
monument is an outlier to a barrow cemetery located some 300m to the north
west in Holden's Firs. The road surface immediately east of the barrow mound
is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it 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.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
- Legacy System:
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