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
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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
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.
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)
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