Barrow cemetery 200m south of Whitecomb Plantation


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013054

Date first listed: 10-Mar-1925

Date of most recent amendment: 16-Jan-1991


Ordnance survey map of Barrow cemetery 200m south of Whitecomb Plantation
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Aldbourne

National Grid Reference: SU 24928 77295

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 partial excavation of the Whitecomb Plantation barrow cemetery, much of the monument remains intact and survives as an excellent example of a linear barrow cemetery with considerable archaeological potential. The importance of the site is further enhanced by the fact that numerous other barrow mounds as well as additional evidence for contemporary settlement survive in the area. This provides a clear indication of the extent to which the area was settled during the Bronze Age period.


The monument includes a linear barrow cemetery, orientated SE-NW, and comprising three adjoining bell barrows and a bowl barrow. The monument is aligned along the crest of a prominent ridge-top and on the opposite side of a dry valley from a second barrow cemetery. The bowl barrow is at the southern end of the cemetery (SU24957725). It stands to a height of 3m and is 29m in diameter. The mound has a flat top 6m across. Surrounding it is a ditch 5m wide and 0.5m deep on all but the eastern side where it survives as a buried feature. The southernmost bell barrow (SU24937730) is 3.5m high and 22m in diameter. Surrounding the barrow mound is a sloping berm 5m across and an outer ditch 5m wide and 0.7m deep. The central bell barrow (SU24917733) is 2m high and 18m in diameter. A berm c.4m wide surrounds the mound with an outer ditch 6m across and 0.7m deep surrounding the mound and abuting the ditch of the southern bell barrow. A central hollow 7m across represents early partial excavation of the site. The northern barrow mound (SU24887735) is 3m high and 22m in diameter, surrounded by a berm 4m wide. The ditch surrounding the monument is 4m wide and 0.7m deep. All of the barrow mounds were partially excavated by Canon Greenwell, a prolific excavator of barrows, between 1885 and 1890. Finds included cremation burials, amber beads, flint flakes, a grooved dagger and animal bones.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 12180

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
'Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine' in Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine:Volumes 70-71, , Vol. 70-71, (), 133
Greenwell, Canon, 'Archaeologia' in Archaeologia (Volume 52), , Vol. 52, (1890), 49
Greenwell, Canon, 'Archaeologia' in Archaeologia (Volume 52), , Vol. 52, (1890), 48-9
Greenwell, Canon, 'Archaeologia' in Archaeologia (Volume 52), , Vol. 52, (1890), 46-9

End of official listing