Bell barrow and bowl barrow 500m NNW of Long Orchard


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of Bell barrow and bowl barrow 500m NNW of Long Orchard
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SU 22959 35308

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 500m NNW west of Long Orchard is a well preserved example of its class with, as demonstrated by part excavation, a long and rich burial history. Despite the disturbance caused by excavation, the barrow will contain archaeological remains providing evidence for Bronze Age and later burial practices, economy and environment. The bowl barrow, although of a more common class of Bronze Age funerary monument than the bell barrow, is a well preserved example which will also contain important archaeological remains.


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. The barrows, the line of which is orientated approximately north-south lie on a gentle south facing slope. The bell barrow, the more southerly of the two barrows, has a central area c.30m in diameter which rises to a height of 1.2m. Within this central area there are no clear indications of the edge of the mound and its junction with the sloping berm. Surrounding the mound and visible to the north and east is a ditch 2.5m wide which, where not visible on the surface, will survive as a buried feature. Traces of a bank lying outside the ditch were noted by Stevens and Stone in the 1930s but are no longer visible. This barrow is the `bell barrow of chalk' excavated by the Rev A B Hutchins in 1814 and found to contain an early Beaker period burial in a chalk-cut grave. The skeleton, thought to be of a male, was accompanied by a copper dagger, a beaker, a slate wristguard and two barbed and tanged flint arrowheads. Considerable evidence for secondary burial was also found. On the south side of the barrow, 18 inches(0.5m) below the surface was a cairn of flints within which lay an inverted collared urn covering a cremation. With the bones, which appeared to have been wrapped in cloth, were a bronze awl and razor, 27 amber beads and a substance later identified as eyebrow hair. Within the same cairn of flints was a smaller collared urn containing only bones and flints. Later accounts of the excavation refer to an additional burial in the centre of the mound; a cremation with `a mixed metal spearhead..four iron arrowheads and a small circular earthen vase'. It is possible that the iron arrowheads represent grave goods from a later inserted burial, wrongly associated with Bronze Age material due to the methods of excavation employed at this time. The bowl barrow, which lies immediately to the north of the bell barrow, has a mound 19m in diameter and 0.7m high. The ditch surrounding the mound is not visible on the surface but will survive as a buried feature 2m 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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Clarke, D L, The Beaker Pottery of Great Britain and Ireland, (1970), 297
Stevens, F, Stone, J F S, 'Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine' in The Barrows of Winterslow, (1937), 174-82
Stevens, F, Stone, J F S, 'Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine' in The Barrows of Winterslow, (1937), 174-82
Stoves, J L, 'Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine' in Report On Hair From The Barrows Of Winterslow, , Vol. Vol 52, (1947), 126-7


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

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