Saucer barrow 400m north east of the sports ground: one of a group of round barrows north west of Idmiston Down


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013970

Date first listed: 11-Mar-1996


Ordnance survey map of Saucer barrow 400m north east of the sports ground: one of a group of round barrows north west of Idmiston Down
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This copy shows the entry on 13-Dec-2018 at 12:50:15.


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

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Idmiston

National Grid Reference: SU 21794 37248


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

Reasons for Designation

Since 1916 the Porton Down Range has been used for military purposes. As on the Salisbury Plain Training Area, this has meant that much of it has not been subject to the intensive arable farming seen elsewhere on the Wessex chalk. Porton, as a result, is one of very few surviving areas of uncultivated chalk downland in England and contains a range of well-preserved archaeological sites, many of Neolithic or Bronze Age date. These include long and round barrows, flint mines, and evidence for settlement, land division and agriculture. Saucer barrows are funerary monuments of the early Bronze Age, most examples dating to between 1800 and 1200 BC. They occur either in isolation or in barrow cemeteries (closely-spaced groups of round barrows). They were constructed as a circular area of level ground defined by a bank and internal ditch and largely occupied by a single low, squat mound covering one or more burials, usually in a pit. The burials, either inhumations or cremations, are sometimes accompanied by pottery vessels, tools and personal ornaments. Saucer barrows are one of the rarest recognised forms of round barrow, with about 60 known examples nationally, most of which are in Wessex. The presence of grave goods within the barrows provides important evidence for chronological and cultural links amongst prehistoric communities over a wide area of southern England as well as providing an insight into their beliefs and social organisation. As a rare and fragile form of round barrow, all identified saucer barrows would normally be considered to be of national importance. The saucer barrow 400m north east of the sports ground, although not within the area of uncultivated downland, is a comparatively well preserved example of its class. Despite erosion caused by cultivation and building works, it will contain archaeological remains providing information about Bronze Age beliefs, economy and environment.


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


The monument includes a saucer barrow, the most southerly of a group of round barrows which lie on a flat ridge top to the north west of Idmiston Down. The profile of the barrow, which lies on the north edge of the ridge on a gentle north facing slope, has been spread by cultivation, but in 1957 was recorded by Grinsell as having a mound 16.5m in diameter. This is now 0.5m high and is surrounded by a ditch, now only visible in places as a shallow depression, and an external bank. In 1957 each was recorded as being 3.5m wide. The ditch and external bank on the north side of the barrow have been further levelled by construction work. Excluded from the scheduling are all fence posts and underground service cables and pipes, although the ground beneath them is included.

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: 26773

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire, (1957), 223

End of official listing