Two bowl barrows: part of a barrow cemetery on Wash Common.


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013245

Date first listed: 09-Oct-1981

Date of most recent amendment: 10-Jul-1991


Ordnance survey map of Two bowl barrows: part of a barrow cemetery on Wash Common.
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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: Newbury

National Grid Reference: SU 45589 64773


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 more have already been destroyed), occurring across most of lowland Britain. Often occupying prominent locations, they are 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 organisations amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

The Wash Common barrows are of particular importance as, with no evidence of previous excavation, they survive well and have potential for the recovery of archaeological remains. Their significance is enhanced by their inclusion within a wider group of barrows. Such barrow cemeteries give an indication of the intensity with which areas were settled during prehistory and provide evidence for the range of beliefs and nature of social organisation in the Bronze Age.


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


The monument includes two bowl barrows aligned SW-NE, separated by a distance of some 40m and set on level ground on Wash Common, Newbury. The western barrow has a diameter of 24m and stands to a height of 1.5m. The eastern barrow survives to a height of 2m and has a maximum diameter of 24m. Both are surrounded by a ring of rich grassland which indicates the extent of the 3m wide ditches from which material was quarried during the construction of the monument. This has been infilled over the years but its survival as a buried feature is demonstrated by the improved grass cover which benefits from the additional moisture a buried ditch provides. The barrows are part of a wider barrow cemetery dispersed over an area of 150m. According to local tradition, the barrows are believed to cover the remains of soldiers killed in the first Battle of Newbury in 1643 fought nearby. Memorial stones to this effect are situated on the barrow mounds and are included as part of the scheduling.

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: 12235

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing