Three bowl barrows 600m south-west of Knap Cottage


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013057

Date first listed: 23-Mar-1927

Date of most recent amendment: 17-Jan-1991


Ordnance survey map of Three bowl barrows 600m south-west of Knap Cottage
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Alton

National Grid Reference: SU 11345 63771


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

Reasons for Designation

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating from the late Neolithic period to the late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400 -1500 bc. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Often superficially similar, although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form and a diversity of burial practices. There are over 10,000 surviving bowl barrows recorded nationally (many mare have already been destroyed), occurring across most of lowland Britain. Their ubiquity and their tendency to occupy prominent locations makes them a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation of form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection. Despite partial excavation, much of each of the Knap Cottage bowl barrows survives intact and the group has significant archaeological potential. The presence of numerous other barrows and additional evidence for contemporary settlement on and around Bishop's Cannings Down provides a clear indication of the intensity with which the area was settled during the Bronze Age, further enhancing the significance of the monument.


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The monument includes three adjacent bowl barrows, orientated north- south, and set on gently sloping ground 400m north of a steep south- facing escarpment. The northern barrow stands to a height of 1m and is 20m in diameter. It was partially excavated by Thurnham in 1879, finds including traces of a cremation burial. The central mound is 0.5m high and 8m in diameter. Partial excavation by Thurnham in 1879 revealed traces of a cremation burial. The southern mound is 1m high and 13m in diameter. The site was partially excavated in 1853 although no records are known. Although no longer visible at ground level, all three mounds are surrounded by ditches from which the mound material was quarried. These have become infilled over the years but survive as buried features b.3m wide around the northern and southern mounds and as an earthwork 3m wide and 0.3m deep around the central mound.

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: 12187

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
'Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine' in Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine: Volume 6, , Vol. 6, (), 325

End of official listing