Saucer barrow on North Down


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012627

Date first listed: 16-Jul-1956

Date of most recent amendment: 22-Apr-1991


Ordnance survey map of Saucer barrow on North Down
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Bishops Cannings

National Grid Reference: SU 05827 67971


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

Reasons for Designation

Saucer barrows are funerary monuments of the Early Bronze Age, most examples dating to between 1800 and l200 BC. They occur either in isolation or in barrow cemeteries (closely-spaced groups of round barrows). They were constructed as a circular area of level ground defined by a bank and internal ditch and largely occupied by a single low, squat mound covering one or more burials, usually in a pit. The burials, either inhumations or cremations, are sometimes accompanied by pottery vessels, tools and personal ornaments. Saucer barrows are one of the rarest recognised forms of round barrow, with about 60 known examples nationally, most of which are in Wessex. The presence of grave goods within the barrows 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 rare and fragile form of round barrow, all identified saucer barrows would normally be considered to be of national importance.

The significance of the North Down saucer barrow is considerably enhanced by the numerous barrows and additional evidence for contemporary settlement in the area of Bishop's Cannings Down which provide a clear indication of the intensity with which the area was settled during the Bronze Age period. Despite damage, caused by cultivation, the lack of evidence for any formal excavation indicates that the barrow's primary burial, old ground surface and ditch deposits are likely to survive intact. The monument therefore has considerable archaeological potential.


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


The monument includes a saucer barrow, surviving as a low earthwork, and set on the gentle south-facing slope of a dry valley. The barrow comprises a central mound c.15m in diameter and 0.1m high set on a level platform and surrounded by a ditch, no longer visible at ground level but surviving as a buried feature. Prior to cultivation, the barrow mound was recorded as being 0.8m high and the ditch was surrounded by an outer bank giving the barrow an overall diameter of c.32m.

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: 12163

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing