Bowl barrow: part of a barrow cemetery in Holden's Firs


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012427

Date first listed: 08-Nov-1928

Date of most recent amendment: 21-Jun-1991


Ordnance survey map of Bowl barrow: part of a barrow cemetery in Holden's Firs
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: West Berkshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Stratfield Mortimer

National Grid Reference: SU 64450 65138


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. Their ubiquity and their tendency to occupy prominent locations makes them 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.

The Holden'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. The significance of the site is considerably enhanced by its inclusion within a dispersed barrow cemetery. Such monuments give an indication of the intensity with which areas were settled during prehistory and provide evidence for the range of beliefs and nature of social organisation in the Bronze Age.


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


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 25m in diameter and is 1m high. Surrounding the barrow mound is a ditch, from which mound material was quarried. This survives as a low earthwork 4m wide and 0.3m deep to the south-west of the mound, and as a buried feature elsewhere. The monument is an outlier to a barrow cemetery located in and around Holden's Firs.

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: 12231

Legacy System: RSM


Berkshire SMR, 1020.07,

End of official listing