Bell barrow, bowl barrow and section of hollow way 600m NNW of Long Orchard
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1013983
Date first listed: 13-Mar-1996
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference: SU 22863 35375
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.
Bell barrows, the most visually impressive form of round barrow, are funerary
monuments dating to the Early and Middle Bronze Age, with most examples
belonging to the period 1500-1100 BC. They occur either in isolation or in
round barrow cemeteries and were constructed as single or multiple mounds
covering burials, often in pits, and surrounded by an enclosure ditch. The
burials are frequently accompanied by weapons, personal ornaments and pottery
and appear to be those of aristocratic individuals, usually men. Bell barrows
(particularly multiple barrows) are rare nationally, with less than 250 known
examples, most of which are in Wessex. Their richness in terms of grave goods
provides evidence for chronological and cultural links amongst early
prehistoric communities over most of southern England as well as providing an
insight into their beliefs and social organisation. As a particularly rare
form of round barrow, all identified bell barrows would normally be considered
to be of national importance.
The bell barrow 600m NNW of Long Orchard is an exceptionally large and well preserved example of its class. As a visually impressive barrow it formed the focus for the layout of later boundary earthworks and also, as demonstrated by part excavation, for richly furnished Saxon burial. As excavation has shown, the barrow contains archaeological remains providing evidence for Bronze Age and Saxon burial practices, economy and environment. The bowl barrow, although of a more common class of Bronze Age funerary monument than the bell barrow, is an unusually small and well preserved example which will also contain significant archaeological remains. The hollow way which runs between the two barrows is not itself considered to be of national importance. However, the section which lies between the barrows and within the area of the monument provides a sample of a wider communication network which may have utilised large prehistoric monuments as siting points.
The monument includes a bell barrow and a bowl barrow, part of the extensive
Winterslow Hut group of round barrows which lie between Porton Down and Easton
Down. Also included is a section 38m long of a hollow trackway.
The barrows, the line of which is orientated approximately north east-south
west, lie on a gentle south west facing slope close to the edge of a shallow
The bell barrow has a mound 30m in diameter and c.3.5m high, in the centre of
which are traces of disturbance, most probably resulting from the excavation
carried out by the Rev A B Hutchins in 1814. The mound is not placed centrally
within the ditched area as the width of the berm, which slopes gently in
places, varies from 9m to 12m. Surrounding the mound and berm and visible both
as an earthwork and, in places, as a vegetation mark, is a ditch 4m wide and a
maximum of 0.2m deep.
Hutchin's excavations revealed an intrusive pagan Saxon skeleton 2ft(0.6m)
below the top of the barrow. Buried with the skeleton were the iron boss and
handgrip of a shield, a spearhead, buckle and a bronze bound wooden bucket
which serve to date the burial to the 5th or 6th century AD. The excavation
was not carried on below 8ft(2.4m) from the top of the barrow and the primary
burial was consequently not reached.
The bowl barrow, an unusually small example which lies c.55m north east of the
centre of the bell barrow, has a mound 6.5m in diameter and 0.6m high.
The hollow way is the Old Idmiston Road which formerly led into the Salisbury
turnpike close to the Winterslow Hut Inn (now the Pheasant). At the point at
which it runs between the two barrows it is 6.5m wide with a flat base 2m
wide, and 1.2m deep.
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: 26759
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Cunnington, M E, 'Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine' in Wiltshire In Pagan Saxon Times, , Vol. Vol 46, (1932), 166
Stevens, F, Stone, J F S, 'Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine' in The Barrows of Winterslow, , Vol. Vol 48, (1937), 174 -82
Stevens, F, Stone, J F S, 'Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine' in The Barrows of Winterslow, , Vol. Vol 48, (1978), 174-82
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing