Long barrow on Sheep Down, 1km north of East Ilsley


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013056

Date first listed: 11-Jun-1969

Date of most recent amendment: 30-Aug-1990


Ordnance survey map of Long barrow on Sheep Down, 1km north of East Ilsley
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: West Berkshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: East Ilsley

National Grid Reference: SU 49224 82371


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

Reasons for Designation

Long barrows were constructed as earthen or drystone mounds with flanking ditches and acted as funerary monuments during the Early and Middle Neolithic periods (3400-2400 BC). They represent the burial places of Britain's early farming communities and, as such, are amongst the oldest field monuments surviving visibly in the present landscape. Where investigated, long barrows appear to have been used for communal burial, often with only parts of the human remains having been selected for interment. Certain sites provide evidence for several phases of funerary monument preceding the barrow and, consequently, it is probable that long barrows acted as important ritual sites for local communities over a considerable period of time. Some 500 long barrows are recorded in England. As one of the few types of Neolithic structure to survive as earthworks, and due to their comparative rarity, their considerable age and their longevity as a monument type, all long barrows are considered to be nationally important.

Only three long barrows are recorded in Berkshire. As such they represent outliers to the important cluster of similar monuments in Wiltshire and Dorset.


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


The monument includes a long barrow on Sheep Down, 1km north of East Ilsley. The mound is orientated east-west and situated in a field under arable/pasture rotation on a south facing slope at the head of a dry valley. It survives as a low earthwork 0.4m high with maximum dimensions of 40m by 24m including faint traces of a ditch to the north of the mound.

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: 12016

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Grinsell, LV, The Ancient Burial Mounds of England, (1956)
Grinsell, L V, 'Berkshire Archaeological Journal' in Berkshire Archaeological Journal (Volume 40), , Vol. 40, (1936)
Smith, C N, 'Oxoniensia' in Oxoniensia, , Vol. 10, (1945)

End of official listing