A group of 11 round barrows forming part of a Bronze Age cemetery, and part of a field system east of Eaglehead Copse


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012762

Date first listed: 23-Oct-1995


Ordnance survey map of A group of 11 round barrows forming part of a Bronze Age 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 58186 87425


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 reduced or levelled by cultivation and one of the barrows possibly 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 will contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the cemetery, the field system and the landscape in which they were constructed.


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


The monument includes 11 closely spaced bowl barrows and part of a later field system situated on the top and west facing slope of a hill. The barrows form part of a wider cemetery on Middle West Down which includes at least 17 round barrows, five of which can be identified as visible earthworks. The area of field system is the main part of a system which covers the hilltop and west facing slope of Middle West Down. Three of the 11 barrows in this monument have recognisable mounds; the remainder of the group have been levelled. The mounds and areas of mounds have diameters of between 8m and 37m, and range in height up to c.0.7m. Surrounding each mound is a ditch from which material was quarried during its construction. These ditches have become infilled over the years and can no longer be seen at ground level, but survive as buried features c.2m to 5m wide, visible on aerial photographs. Two ploughed barrows in the field east of Eaglehead Copse were identified and one was opened by Captain J Thorpe in 1881. It is suggested that one of the upstanding barrows in this group is the barrow which Thorpe investigated. The partially excavated barrow contained 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.

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: 22048

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-16, 15./AP file,
CUC 1977/SZ5887-NN-15, 16, 17/AP file,
CUCAP 22.11.77/CEW 38/AP file,
CUCAP 22.11.77/SZ5887 CEW 038 and 040/AP file,
Grimwood, T., 1984/SZ5887-NN-19, 20/AP file,
NMR 1976./SZ5887-NN-14, 18/AP file,
NMR 1976./SZ5887-NN-14, 18/AP file,
NMR 1976/SZ5887-14.18/AP file,
NMR 1976/SZ5887-NN-14, 18/AP file,
NMR 26.07.76/SZ5887:2:313 and SZ5887:3:314/AP file,
O.S. Field Investigator, (1955)
SLIDES/018080-018083/AP file,

End of official listing