Bowl barrow and section of linear boundary earthwork on Winterbourne Stoke Down


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015023

Date first listed: 18-Apr-1955

Date of most recent amendment: 31-Jan-1997


Ordnance survey map of Bowl barrow and section of linear boundary earthwork on Winterbourne Stoke Down
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Winterbourne Stoke

National Grid Reference: SU 08694 42918


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

Reasons for Designation

The most complete and extensive survival of chalk downland archaeological remains in central southern England occurs on Salisbury Plain, particularly in those areas lying within the Salisbury Plain Training Area. These remains represent one of the few extant archaeological "landscapes" in Britain and are considered to be of special significance because they differ in character from those in other areas with comparable levels of preservation. Individual sites on Salisbury Plain are seen as being additionally important because the evidence of their direct association with each other survives so well.

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. Their considerable variation of form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the variety 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 on Winterbourne Stoke Down survives well and is known from part excavation to contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. 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 millenium from the Middle Bronze Age, although they may have been reused later. The scale of many linear boundaries has been taken to indicate that they were constructed by large social groups and were used to mark important boundaries in their landscape; their impressive scale displaying the corporate prestige of their builders. They would have been powerful symbols, often with religious associations, used to define and order the territorial holdings of those groups who constructed them. Linear earthworks 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. The section of linear boundary earthwork on Winterbourne Stoke Down survives comparatively well and demonstrates, in its proximity to the earlier round barrow, the close relationship between burial monuments and land division. Such relationships, in which prominent burial mounds are clearly utilised as sighting points for the layout of linear boundaries are not uncommon but it is unusual for both components to survive as upstanding earthworks. In addition, the boundary earthwork will contain within its buried deposits information about Bronze Age economy and environment.


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


The monument includes a bowl barrow located on the crest of a north-facing slope and a section of linear earthwork which runs down-slope and adjacent to the west side of the bowl barrow, on Winterbourne Stoke Down. The barrow mound is 0.5m high, 12m in diameter and is surrounded by a ditch from which material was quarried during its construction and which now survives as a slight depression 2m wide. Part excavation of the barrow in the 19th century produced a large interment of burnt bones. The section of linear boundary earthwork is part of a more extensive feature which extends to the north and south. It has been levelled to the south by cultivation and disturbed by military activity and this section is not included in the scheduling. The ditch of the boundary earthwork has a shallow profile and is more steep on its east side, and has a maximum depth of 0.4m and is 5m across at its widest point. At the bottom of the slope the ditch turns and runs eastwards towards the A360 Devizes to Salisbury road where it survives as a buried feature. All fence posts 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.


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

Legacy System number: 28929

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Hoare, R C, Ancient History of Wiltshire, (1812), 117

End of official listing