Three bowl barrows 200m east of Manor Farm: part of a group of round barrows on Porton Down


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013972

Date first listed: 11-Mar-1996


Ordnance survey map of Three bowl barrows 200m east of Manor Farm: part of a group of round barrows on Porton 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: Idmiston

National Grid Reference: SU 20686 36105


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 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 barrows and round barrows, flint mines, and evidence for settlement, land division and agriculture. 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 organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

The three bowl barrows 200m east of Manor Farm, although not within the area of uncultivated downland, are comparatively well preserved examples of their class. Despite some erosion caused by cultivation, they still exhibit largely original profiles and 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 three bowl barrows, the most westerly of a group of at least six round barrows which lie on the gentle south facing side of a dry valley on Porton Down. The largest, most southerly barrow has a flat topped mound 30m north-south by 28m, and 1.4m high. The slightly elongated profile of the mound has been caused by cultivation and there are indications of disturbance to the south and south east of its summit. Surrounding the mound, and clearly visible on the south east side, is a ditch 4m wide and a maximum of 0.2m deep. Where not visible on the surface the ditch will survive as a buried feature. Beyond this, and corresponding with the best preserved section of ditch on the south east side, are traces of a bank, 3m wide and 0.1m high. To the NNE of the largest barrow is a smaller example with a mound 22m in diameter and 0.8m high. To the east of this the third barrow has a low and somewhat irregular mound 18m in diameter and 0.5m high. No trace of the ditches surrounding these two mounds is visible but they will survive as buried features c.3m wide. Excluded from the scheduling are all archaeological site markers, 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: 26775

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing