Eleven round barrows 1000m north of Baltic Farm forming part of a barrow cemetery, and a probable enclosed Iron Age farmstead on North Down


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013773

Date first listed: 10-Nov-1964

Date of most recent amendment: 11-Jan-1996


Ordnance survey map of Eleven round barrows 1000m north of Baltic Farm forming part of a barrow cemetery, and a probable enclosed Iron Age farmstead 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 04267 67680


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 richest and most varied areas of Neolithic and Bronze Age ceremonial and ritual monuments in the country. Round barrow cemeteries date to the Bronze Age (2000-700 BC). They 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 here and at 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. All examples are considered worthy of protection.

The three bell barrows and two bowl barrows which remain upstanding survive well as good examples of their class. The remaining, levelled barrows, are known from aerial photographs to retain archaeological deposits. Part excavation of some of the barrows in the 19th century confirmed the survival of archaeological remains within the cemetery. The size and form of Iron Age enclosed settlements vary considerably from single farmsteads up to large semi-urban oppida. Farmsteads are generally represented by enclosures containing evidence of a small group of circular domestic buildings and associated agricultural structures. Where excavated, these sites are also found to contain storage pits for grain and other produce, evidence of an organised and efficient farming system. The surrounding enclosures would have provided protection against cattle rustling and tribal raiding. In central southern England, most enclosed Iron Age farmsteads are situated in areas which are now under intensive arable cultivation. As a result, although some examples survive with upstanding earthworks, the majority have been recorded as crop- and soil-marks appearing on aerial photographs. The enclosed Iron Age farmstead forming part of this monument survives as an earthwork despite having been partly levelled by cultivation. It will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, occupation, the economy of its inhabitants and the earlier funerary landscape in which it was built.


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


The monument includes a total of 11 round barrows and a probable enclosed Iron Age farmstead situated 1000m north of Baltic Farm on North Down. The round barrrows form part of a round barrow cemetery which includes a total of 18 barrows. This is one of a number of cemeteries located on the Downs. The group presently contains three upstanding bell barrows, two bowl barrows and six levelled barrows which survive as ring ditches. The bell barrows all have central mounds which measure from 16.4m to 27.4m in diameter and stand between 1.5m and 3m high. Their level berms vary from 2.4m to 4.9m wide and are enclosed by surrounding quarry ditches, from which material was obtained during the construction of the mounds. These measure between 4.3m and 6.6m wide and up to 0.6m deep. The bell barrow at the western end of the group also has an outer bank 4.3m wide and 0.3m high. The two upstanding bowl barrows have mounds which measure from 8.4m to 19m in diameter and stand 0.3m and 2.1m high. These are both surrounded by 2m wide quarry ditches which have become infilled over the years but which survive as buried features, visible on aerial photographs. The six ring ditches are the remains of barrows, only two of which are still visible at ground level due to the mounds having been spread by cultivation. However, the quarry ditches can be seen as buried features visible on aerial photographs. They enclose areas measuring between 12m and 25m in diameter. A number of the barrows were partly excavated in 1804 and then again in 1857. At least one urn containing burnt bone was recovered from one of the bell barrows but records of the work are poor and tell us little else. A rhomboid- shaped enclosure considered to be Iron Age in date lies immediately north of the barrows. This earthwork has been reduced by cultivation but survives as a slight scarp representing the bank enclosing an area 62m from south west to north east by 58m from south east to north west. The bank is 4m wide and has been reduced by cultivation to less than 0.1m high. This is surrounded by a 3m wide ditch clearly visible on aerial photographs. An original entrance is located on the north east side, facing away from the barrow mounds. Further features representing the pits and structures of a farmstead show up within the enclosure as darker areas on the aerial photographs. The enclosure lies within what appears to be a contemporary field system which includes the earlier cemetery. The earthworks have been ploughed level but traces remain visible on aerial photographs. The ploughsoil in the enclosure has produced pottery of Iron Age and Romano-British date. Some later medieval pottery has also been found although it is not of sufficient quantity to suggest any continued occupation. Excluded from the scheduling are the bollard posts around a number of the mounds and the north to south boundary fence on the eastern edge of the monument, although the ground beneath is included.

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: 21886

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire, (1957), 215
Grinsell, L V, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire, (1957), 157
Grinsell, LV, 'A History of Wiltshire' in A History of Wiltshire, , Vol. 1,1, (1957), 208
Grinsell, LV, 'A History of Wiltshire' in A History of Wiltshire, , Vol. 1,1, (1957), 208
Grinsell, LV, 'A History of Wiltshire' in A History of Wiltshire, , Vol. 1,1, (1957), 157
Grinsell, LV, 'A History of Wiltshire' in A History of Wiltshire, , Vol. 1,1, (1957), 157
Grinsell, LV, 'A History of Wiltshire' in A History of Wiltshire, , Vol. 1,1, (1957), 157
Wiltshire Archaeological And Nat Hist Society, , 'Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine' in Barrow Excavations, , Vol. vi, (), 319-20
Report of works by Cunnington, Wiltshire Archaeological And National History Society, Cunnington,
SU 06 NW 059, R.C.H.M.(E), Rhomboid enclosure, (1973)
SU06NW 631, C.A.O., Bell barrow, (1993)
SU06NW 632, C.A.O., Bell barrow, (1993)
SU06NW 633, C.A.O., Bell barrow, (1993)
SU06NW 634, C.A.O., Bowl barrow, (1993)
SU06NW 635, C.A.O., Site of Bowl barrow, (1968)
SU06NW 636, C.A.O., Site of possible bowl barrow, (1991)
SU06NW 637, C.A.O., Site of possible bowl barrow, (1991)
SU06NW 654, C.A.O., Undated Rhomboid enclosure, (1968)
SU06NW 654, C.A.O., Undated Rhomboid enclosure, (1991)
SU06NW 677, C.A.O., Four circular cropmarks, (1991)

End of official listing