Long barrow and abutting bowl barrow 700m WSW of Beckhampton Buildings, forming the focus of a barrow cemetery on North Down


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013239

Date first listed: 10-Mar-1925

Date of most recent amendment: 13-Sep-1995


Ordnance survey map of Long barrow and abutting bowl barrow 700m WSW of Beckhampton Buildings, forming the focus of a barrow cemetery on North Down
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Bishops Cannings

National Grid Reference: SU 06652 67733


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

Reasons for Designation

A small number of areas in southern England appear to have acted as foci for ceremonial and ritual activity during the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age periods. Two of the best known and earliest recognised, with references in the 17th century, are around Avebury and Stonehenge, now jointly designated as a World Heritage Site. In the Avebury area, the henge monument itself, the West Kennet Avenue, the Sanctuary, West Kennet long barrow, Windmill Hill causewayed enclosure and the enigmatic Silbury Hill are well-known. Whilst the other Neolithic long barrows, the many Bronze Age round barrows and other associated sites are less well-known, together they define one of the most rich and varied areas of Neolithic and Bronze Age ceremonial and ritual monuments in the country. 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 it is probable that long barrows acted as important ritual sites for local communities over a considerable period of time. Some 500 long barrows and long cairns, their counterparts in the uplands, are recorded in England of which fifteen survive in the Avebury area. These represent an important group for understanding the historical context within which Avebury developed during the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age periods; all are considered to be worthy of protection.

Part excavation of the long barrow 700m WSW of Beckhampton Buildings has confirmed that it will contain archaeological and environmental remains relating to its construction, function and the earlier landscape on which it was built. As is often the case, the long barrow formed the focus for later Bronze Age funerary monuments, in this case a dispersed round barrow cemetery, dating to the Bronze Age (2000-700 BC). Barrow cemeteries 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 and occasionally associated with earlier long barrows. Where investigation beyond the round barrows has occurred, contemporary or later `flat' burials between the barrow mounds have often been revealed. Round barrow cemeteries occur across most of lowland England with a marked concentration in Wessex. In some cases they are clustered around other important contemporary monuments, as is the case both at Avebury and Stonehenge. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape, while their diversity and their longevity as a monument type provide important information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. The bowl barrow situated near the northern end of the long barrow is roughly central to the dispersed North Down cemetery. Despite reduction by cultivation part excavation has confirmed the survival of buried archaeological remains relating to its construction and the landscape in which it was built.


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


The monument includes a Neolithic long barrow and a Bronze Age bowl barrow situated 700m WSW of Beckhampton Buildings. The bowl barrow appears central to a wider dispersed round barrow cemetery which contains at least 24 barrows. The cemetery appears to have developed around the earlier long barrow. The long barrow has a mound orientated north east to south west which measures c.40m long and up to 10m wide and is no more than 0.2m above the present ground level. The mound is flanked by two parallel quarry ditches which are no longer visible at ground level but are known to survive as buried features. These measure 40m long and c.6m wide. Immediately north east of the long barrow, and partly overlapping with it, is a bowl barrow, the mound of which measures 18m across and is surrounded by a ditch c.2m wide. Both of these monuments were partly excavated in 1964 when three ox skulls were found in the long barrow as well as a wattle frame used in its construction. There was also evidence of agricultural and funerary activity on the site before the barrows were built.

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: 21861

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Ashbee, P, 'Proceedings' in Long Barrow, , Vol. 45, (), 228-250
Ashbee, P, 'Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society' in Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society: Volume 45, (), 228-250
Smith, I F, 'Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine' in Long Barrow North-East Of Shepherd's Shore On Bishops Canning Dn, , Vol. 60, (), 132
Smith, I F, 'Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine' in Long Barrow North-East Of Shepherd's Shore On Bishops Canning Dn, , Vol. 60, (), 63
SU06NE 108, C.A.O., Long barrow, (1980)
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:10000 Series Source Date: 1981 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: SU 06 NE

End of official listing