Pair of round barrows and section of linear earthwork NE of the gallops on West Down

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014028

Date first listed: 07-May-1957

Date of most recent amendment: 24-Apr-1996

Map

Ordnance survey map of Pair of round barrows and section of linear earthwork NE of the gallops on West Down
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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Location

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

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Avebury

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Cherhill

National Grid Reference: SU 07248 69220

Summary

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.

Saucer barrows are funerary monuments of the Early Bronze Age. They occur either in isolation or in round barrow cemeteries and were constructed as a circular area of 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. Saucer barrows are one of the rarest recognised forms of round barrow, with about 60 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. 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. Often occupying prominent positions, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape. There are over 10,000 nationally and around 320 in the Avebury area. This group of monuments will provide important information on the development of the area during the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age periods. All surviving examples are considered worthy of protection. Linear boundaries are substantial earthwork features comprising single or multiple ditches and banks which may extend over distances varying between less than 1km to over 10km. They survive as earthworks or as linear features visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs or as a combination of both. The evidence of excavation and study of associated monuments demonstrate that their construction spans the millennium from the Middle Bronze Age, although they may have been reused later. They are of considerable importance for the analysis of settlement and land use in the Bronze Age; all well preserved examples will normally merit statutory protection. This group of two round barrows and a section of linear boundary all survive as good examples of their respective classes and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to their construction, functions and the development of the surrounding landscape from the Early Bronze Age through to the Late Iron Age.

History

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

Details

The monument includes two Bronze Age round barrows and a section of linear earthwork situated on a south-facing slope, north east of the gallops on West Down. The linear earthwork and the barrows are aligned roughly NNW-SSE. The western of the two barrows is a saucer barrow and has a mound 15m in diameter and 0.9m high. This is surrounded by a wide, shallow quarry ditch from which material was obtained during its construction. This is 3.5m wide and 0.3m deep. Beyond the ditch lies an outer bank 4m across and 0.2m high. This outer bank overlies the western edge of the adjacent bowl barrow, showing that it was built after its neighbour. The bowl barrow has a mound which measures 11m in diameter and stands up to 1.3m high. It is surrounded by a 2m wide quarry ditch which has become infilled over the years. However, it remains visible at ground level as a brighter ring of vegetation growth and is also clearly visible on aerial photographs. A 280m long section of linear earthwork aligned from NNW-SSE, lies to the north of the two barrows and runs across the north west edge of the saucer barrow's outer bank. The earthwork has a bank which measures from 6m to 7m wide and stands up to 1.2m high. To the north (upslope) is a ditch which measures from 4m to 5m across and although partially infilled, is still open to a depth of 1m in places. This section is part of a longer linear boundary system which runs for a distance of c.2.3km across the Downs and is believed to represent a Late Bronze Age or Early Iron Age ranch boundary.

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.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 21894

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Other
SU 06 NE 135, R.C.H.M.(E), Linear boundary bank and ditch, (1973)
SU 06 NE 135, R.C.H.M.(E), Linear boundary, (1973)
SU 06 NE 649 referenced by SMR, C.A.O., A17/219062,
SU 06 NE 649, C.A.O., Saucer barrow, (1973)
SU 06 NE 650, C.A.O., Ditched bowl barrow, (1973)
SU 06 NE 806, C.A.O., Linear bank & ditch, (1973)
SU06NE 649, C.A.O., Saucer barrow, (1973)
SU06NE 650, C.A.O., Ditched bowl barrow, (1973)
SU06NE 806, C.A.O., Linear ditch and bank, (1973)

End of official listing