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
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
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
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
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing