Bowl barrow 535m SSW of the southern corner of Moll Harris's Clump: one of a group of round barrows on Porton Down

Overview

Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
1014093
Date first listed:
05-Mar-1996

Map

Ordnance survey map of Bowl barrow 535m SSW of the southern corner of Moll Harris's Clump: one of a group of round barrows on Porton Down
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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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:
Idmiston
National Grid Reference:
SU 21865 35235

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 bowl barrow 535m SSW of the southern corner of Moll Harris's Clump is a well preserved example of its class which, despite some erosion caused by burrowing animals, exhibits a largely original profile. Small scale excavation has served to confirm the dating of the barrow and has provided evidence of a complex burial history. Within its remaining buried deposits, the barrow will contain archaeological remains providing information about Bronze Age beliefs, economy and environment.

Details

The monument includes a ditched bowl barrow, one of a group of at least seven round barrows which straddles a shallow coombe on Porton Down. The barrow, which lies on a shallow south facing slope, has a flat topped mound 17m in diameter and 0.7m high. An irregular area of disturbance in the centre of the mound may have resulted from the excavation of a burial carried out by J F S Stone c.1930. Surrounding the mound is a ditch, most clearly visible on the west side where it is 2m wide and 0.3m deep. On the east side of the barrow, beyond the ditch, traces of a low bank c.3m wide and 0.3m high are visible. Stone's part excavation provided information concerning the later burial history of the barrow. A Late Bronze Age urn was found to have been inserted into the mound and was, in itself, disturbed by the later insertion of a contracted skeleton.

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:
26755
Legacy System:
RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Stone, J F S, 'Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine' in Skeleton Found in a Barrow at Idmiston, , Vol. Vol 46, (1934), 387-388

Legal

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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