Long barrow on King's Play Hill, 430m north west of Hill Cottage


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013360

Date first listed: 20-Aug-1924

Date of most recent amendment: 08-Apr-1997


Ordnance survey map of Long barrow on King's Play Hill, 430m north west of Hill Cottage
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Heddington

National Grid Reference: SU 01062 65982

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 examples of long barrows and long cairns, their counterparts in the uplands, are recorded nationally. 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. Despite cultivation and part excavation in the 19th century, the King's Play Hill long barrow survives comparatively well and has potential for the recovery of both archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the period in which the monument was constructed.


The monument includes a long barrow set just below the crest of a prominent hill-top with extensive views of the Vale of Pewsey to the south and east. It is orientated north east-south west and appears ovate in plan. The barrow mound is 30m long, 8m wide and stands to a height of 1m. Flanking the barrow mound to the south east and north west are ditches from which material was quarried during construction of the monument. These have become infilled over the years but survive as buried features c.3m wide. The site was partly excavated by Cunnington in the 19th century. Finds included a crouched skeleton and 19 flint flakes.

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: 12327

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing