Two bowl barrows forming part of a Bronze Age barrow cemetery, and part of a field system east of Eaglehead Copse


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012761

Date first listed: 23-Oct-1967

Date of most recent amendment: 02-Nov-1995


Ordnance survey map of Two bowl barrows forming part of a Bronze Age barrow cemetery, and part of a field system east of Eaglehead Copse
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Isle of Wight (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Brading

National Grid Reference: SZ 58331 87504


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

Reasons for Designation

Round barrow cemeteries date to the Bronze Age (c.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, occasionally associated with earlier long barrows. Where large scale investigation has been undertaken around them, contemporary or later "flat" burials between the barrow mounds have often been revealed. Round barrow cemeteries occur across most of lowland Britain, with a marked concentration in Wessex. In some cases, they are clustered around other important contemporary monuments such as henges. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape, whilst their diversity and their longevity as a monument type provide important information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving or partly-surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Despite having been ploughed and one of the barrows having been partially excavated, the bowl barrows and part of the field system east of Eaglehead Copse are integral to the Middle West Down cemetery and the subsequent use of the area for agricultural practices. All three features will contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed.


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


The monument includes two bowl barrows and part of a later field system on a north facing slope just below the crest of the hill. The barrows form part of a wider cemetery on Middle West Down which includes at least 17 barrows, five of which can be identified as visible earthworks. These two barrows are aligned north east-south west. The barrow which lies to the north east has a mound which measures 27m in diameter and is 0.7m high. Surrounding the mound is a ditch from which material was quarried during its construction. This has become infilled over the years and can no longer be seen at ground level, but survives as a buried feature c.5m wide visible on aerial photographs. The barrow which lies to the south west no longer has a recognisable mound, but survives as a circular ditch identified from aerial photographs. The area of the mound has a diameter of c.12m; the surrounding ditch is c.2m wide. Two ploughed barrows in the field east of Eaglehead Copse were identified and one was opened by Captain J Thorpe in 1881. It is reputed that the north eastern barrow is the barrow which Thorpe investigated. Excavation revealed a contracted skeleton accompanied by a food vessel. Also found in the barrow were a large hammerstone, worked flints and pottery sherds of Neolithic and Bronze Age date. Later in date than the barrows is the field system. This takes the form of a series of linear banks up to c.20m wide defining individual fields within the system and covering a total area of c.370m east-west and c.250m north-south. The portion of the field system which falls within the monument turns through a right angle at the south western barrow and overlies it.

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: 22047

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Isle of Wight archaeological index, (1979)
Grinsell, , Sherwin, , 'Proceedings of the I.O.W. Nat History and Archaeological Soc' in Procedings of the I.O.W. Nat History and Archaeological Soc, , Vol. 3, (1940), 209
CUC 1977/SZ5887-NN-15, 16, 17/AP file,
CUCAP 22.11.77/SZ5887 CEW 038 and 042/AP file,
CUCAP 22.11.77/SZ5887 CEW 038 and 042/AP file,
NMR 1976/SZ5887-NN-14, 18/AP file,
NMR 27.7.76/SZ5887:2:313 and SZ5887:3:314/AP file,

End of official listing