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Winterbourne Stoke West round barrow cemetery, The Coniger enclosure and section of linear boundary earthwork

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Winterbourne Stoke West round barrow cemetery, The Coniger enclosure and section of linear boundary earthwork

List entry Number: 1015019

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County:

District: Wiltshire

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Winterbourne Stoke

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 10-Mar-1925

Date of most recent amendment: 13-Nov-1996

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 28921

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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 Bronze Age periods. Two of the best known and earliest recognised areas are around Avebury and Stonehenge, now jointly designated as a World Heritage Site. The area of chalk downland which surrounds Stonehenge contains one of the densest and most varied groups of Neolithic and Bronze Age field monuments in Britain. Included within the area are Stonehenge itself, the Stonehenge cursus, the Durrington Walls henge, and a variety of burial monuments, many grouped into cemeteries. The area has been the subject of archaeological research since the 18th century when Stukeley recorded many of the monuments and partially excavated a number of the burial mounds. More recently, the collection of artefacts from the surfaces of ploughed fields has supplemented the evidence for ritual and burial by revealing the intensity of contemporary settlement and land-use. In view of the importance of the area, all ceremonial and sepulchral monuments of this period which retain significant archaeological remains are identified as nationally important. Round barrow cemeteries date to the Bronze Age (2000-700 BC). They comprise closely spaced groups of up to 30 round barrows - rubble or earthen mounds covering single or multiple burials. Most cemeteries developed over a considerable period of time, often many centuries, and in some cases acted as a focus for burials as late as the early medieval period. They exhibit considerable diversity of burial rite, plan and form, frequently including several different types of round barrow and occasionally associated with earlier long barrows. Where investigation beyond the round barrows has occurred, contemporary or later `flat' burials between the barrow mounds have often been revealed. Round barrow cemeteries occur across most of lowland England with a marked concentration in Wessex. In some cases they are clustered around other important contemporary monuments, as is the case both here and at Avebury. Often occupying prominent positions, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape, while their diversity and their longevity as a monument type provide important information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities.

The Winterbourne Stoke West round barrow cemetery contains well preserved examples of the majority of identified types of round barrow. Part excavation of some of the barrows has demonstrated that they contain archaeological remains providing evidence of Bronze Age burial practices, economy and environment. The section of linear boundary earthwork, aligned on the barrow cemetery, demonstrates the importance of such landscape features in the definition of prehistoric territorial holdings. At a later date part of the barrow cemetery was incorporated within an earthwork enclosure. This may reflect the use of the barrows as part of a warren and may provide evidence relating to the importance of rabbits in a medieval and post-medieval agricultural economy. These later earthwork features will also contain archaeological deposits providing evidence of later prehistoric and historic economy and environmental change.

History

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

Details

The monument includes the 14 round barrows of the Winterbourne Stoke West barrow cemetery, a short section of linear boundary earthwork and The Coniger, an irregular earthwork enclosure which encloses most of the round barrow cemetery. All are located on the eastern slope of High Down north of Winterbourne Stoke, overlooking the valley of the River Till. The nucleated cemetery includes eight bowl barrows, three disc barrows, two pond barrows and a saucer barrow, all of which survive as earthworks. Six are arranged on a north to south alignment with a disc barrow the northernmost, a pond barrow the southernmost and four bowl barrows in the middle. The saucer barrow, the second pond barrow and a further bowl barrow are located to the east of the north-south alignment and all of these barrows are contained within the earthwork enclosure. Two disc barrows and two bowl barrows, aligned roughly north west to south east, are located to the east of the south eastern side of the enclosure. One of the bowl barrows lies partly within the enclosure and has been cut by it on its north east side and therefore pre-dates it. It is likely that The Coniger enclosure was constructed around most of the barrows in order to utilise them as part of a rabbit warren. The bowl barrow mounds range from 16m to 28m in diameter and are all surrounded by ditches up to 2.5m wide from which material was quarried during their construction. Two of the bowl barrows are oval shaped. One of these is situated between two bowl barrows in the north-south alignment; its mound measures 21m by 14m and is surrounded by a quarry ditch 2.5m wide. This barrow has in the past been recorded as two confluent bowl barrows. The other oval shaped barrow, which has not been previously recorded, is located to the north east of the largest bowl barrow and overlies its ditch. The mound is 8.5m by 4.5m with a ditch visible as a slight dip on its south side. Two of the disc barrows are located outside and to the south east of the enclosure. The most southerly of them is 50m south east of its eastern ditch. The northern section of the disc barrow is composed of a low central mound enclosed by a buried ditch and an external bank 5m wide. The southern section has been levelled and survives as a buried ditch. A second disc barrow, located c.40m north west of the former, has a central mound 9.5m in diameter and 0.7m high. This is surrounded by a platform 6m wide, a ditch 2m wide and the whole is enclosed by an outer bank 5m wide. The third disc barrow, which is located within the earthwork enclosure, has a central mound 11m in diameter and 0.5m high. This is surrounded by a platform 6m wide, a ditch 3m wide and finally by an outer bank 4m wide. Both pond barrows are located within the enclosure. The larger of the two is the most southerly barrow of the north south alignment. The depression of the pond is 8m across and 0.3m deep. It is surrounded by a bank 0.2m high and 4m wide, giving the barrow an overall diameter of 16m. The other pond barrow has not been previously recorded as such although it is represented as a circular hollow on the OS 1:2500 map (1977). The depression of the pond is 5m across and 0.4m deep, and is surrounded by a bank 3m wide. The saucer barrow is situated in the centre of the earthwork enclosure. It has a low central mound 6m across and is surrounded by a ditch 2m wide and 0.5m deep and by a low outer bank 3m wide. The monument also includes an earthwork enclosure known as The Coniger, a bank and ditch which encloses an area of 1.8ha. The ditch is 4m across at its widest point and up to 0.8m deep. The bank has a maximum width of 5m and a maximum height of 0.7m. It is likely that the enclosure, as its name suggests, was constructed around the barrows in order to use them as a rabbit warren. Also included in the monument is a length of boundary ditch, or hollow way, which runs from east to west and is located to the east of the enclosure. It crosses the eastern half of a disc barrow at which point it is no longer visible on the ground. It is 3m wide and there are traces of a low bank on its northern side. Nearly all of the barrows have been partly excavated in the 19th century with the exception of the saucer barrow, the two pond barrows and a single bowl barrow. Most have revealed evidence of burial, both cremations and inhumations, and a variety of grave goods including bronze daggers, pottery and clay beads. Two of the cremations were wrapped in cloth and a late, probably Saxon burial with an iron knife had been inserted into a disc barrow. All fence posts and cattle troughs are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath these features 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.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 271
Hoare, R C, Ancient History of Wiltshire, (1812), 114-115
Hoare, R C, Ancient History of Wiltshire, (1812), 113-5
Hoare, R C, Ancient History of Wiltshire, (1812), 114
Hoare, R C, Ancient History of Wiltshire, (1812), 113
Hoare, R C, Ancient History of Wiltshire, (1812), 114
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society' in Disc Barrows, , Vol. 40, (1974), 108
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society' in Disc Barrows, , Vol. 40, (1974), 108
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society' in Disc Barrows, , Vol. 40, (1974), 108
Other
1449, Wiltshire County Council AER collection, (1989)
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 Source Date: 1977 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

National Grid Reference: SU 07727 41971

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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End of official listing