Tow Barrow: a long barrow on Wexcombe Down

Overview

Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
1013219
Date first listed:
10-Mar-1925
Date of most recent amendment:
10-Jul-1991

Map

Ordnance survey map of Tow Barrow:  a long barrow on Wexcombe Down
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District:
Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
Parish:
Grafton
National Grid Reference:
SU 27424 57745

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.

The 180 long barrows of Hampshire, Wiltshire and Dorset form the densest and one of the most significant concentrations of monuments of this type in the country. Tow Barrow is important as, despite partial excavation in 1914, it survives particularly well and has potential for the recovery of archaeological evidence for the nature and duration of use of the monument and the environment within which it was constructed. The importance of the monument is further enhanced by the fact that several other long barrows and additional evidence for contemporary settlement survive in the area. This illustrates the intensity with which this part of east Wiltshire was settled during the Neolithic period.

Details

The monument includes Tow Barrow, a long barrow set below the crest of a west- facing slope in an area of undulating chalk downland. It survives as an earthwork orientated SSW-NNE and is rectangular in plan. The barrow mound is 30m long, 22m wide and stands to a height of 1.5m. Flanking ditches, from which material used to construct the mound was quarried, run parallel to the north and south sides of the mound. These have partly infilled over the years but survive as earthworks 5m wide and 1m deep on the south side and 6m wide and 1.5m deep to the north. The site was partially excavated by Crawford and Hooton in 1914 and Neolithic pottery was recovered.

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.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number:
12274
Legacy System:
RSM

Sources

Books and journals
'Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine' in Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine Volume 43, , Vol. 43, ()
'Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine' in Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine: Volume 41, ()
'Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine' in Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine: Volume No 38, , Vol. No 38, ()

Legal

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

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