A bowl barrow and three bell barrows forming part of The Cursus round barrow cemetery

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012401

Date first listed: 10-Mar-1925

Date of most recent amendment: 01-May-1995

Map

Ordnance survey map of A bowl barrow and three bell barrows forming part of The Cursus round barrow cemetery
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1012401 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 12-Dec-2018 at 10:55:29.

Location

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

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Amesbury

National Grid Reference: SU 11786 42780

Summary

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

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.

Bell barrows, the most visually impressive form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating from 1600-1200 BC. They occur either in isolation or in round barrow cemeteries. They were constructed as single or multiple mounds covering burials often in pits and surrounded by an enclosure ditch. The burials in bell barrows appear to be those of aristocratic individuals and are also frequently accompanied by weapons, personal ornaments and pottery vessels. Bell barrows are rare nationally with only 250 examples known of which 30 are located within the Stonehenge area.

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.

The bowl barrow and three bell barrows situated south of the Cursus and forming the eastern part of the Cursus round barrow cemetery survive well and are known from partial excavation to contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed.

History

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

Details

The monument includes four round barrows forming part of the Cursus round barrow cemetery, situated south of the Cursus on an east west ridge with views across Stonehenge to Normanton Down. The Cursus round barrow cemetery contains 16 round barrows in all, including seven bowl barrows, six bell barrows, a twin bell barrow and a disc barrow. This monument contains one of the bowl barrows and three of the bell barrows. The western barrow is a bowl barrow 0.5m high and 43m in overall diameter including an outer bank which survives as a slight earthwork 4m wide and 0.2m high. Some 30m to the east is a pair of confluent bell barrows with overall diameters of 36m and 38m. The mounds are each 20m in diameter and 2m high, and positioned eccentrically. Some 10m further east is a large bell barrow, the mound of which is 28m in diameter and 3.5m high, surrounded by a berm and outer ditch and having an overall diameter of 56m. All four barrows were partially excavated in the 19th century, each revealing a primary cremation, one accompanied by a bronze dagger, another by beads of amber, stone and faience. 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: 10342

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 207
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 207
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 207
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 205
Hoare, R C, Ancient History of Wiltshire, (1812), 162-163
Hoare, R C, Ancient History of Wiltshire, (1812), 162

End of official listing