Reasons for Designation
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 and eastern 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 in Graffridge Wood survives as a substantial and impressive
example of this rare class of monument. Although it may have been somewhat
disturbed by excavation, valuable archaeological deposits, including funerary
remains, will survive within the mound, berm and ditch and will provide
evidence for the date, method of construction, duration of use and ritual
beliefs of the barrow builders. Environmental evidence preserved within the
same features will help to illustrate the nature of the landscape in which the
monument was set.
The monument is situated some 250m south east of a Bronze Age bowl barrow and
a Roman burial mound, the subjects of a separate scheduling (27906),
indicating the continuing ritual significance of the area from the prehistoric
The monument includes a substantial Bronze Age bell barrow situated in
Graffridge Wood, 400m south east of Keepers Cottage.
The circular barrow mound is c.25m in diameter and approximately 2.5m high.
The berm (platform) on which the mound stands is some 31m wide, sloping
slightly down to the encircling ditch. Upcast from this ditch would have been
used in the construction of the mound. Although the ditch is partly infilled,
it can still be traced as a shallow depression c.0.4m deep and 4m wide.
The mound is rounded with a depression some 3m deep in the summit. While this
may have resulted from a limited archaeological investigation, probably during
the 19th century, no records of this have been traced. It is possible that
this depression and a smaller one next to it were caused by the uprooting of
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.