Two bowl barrows 330m south of Dairy Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015589

Date first listed: 17-Apr-1997


Ordnance survey map of Two bowl barrows 330m south of Dairy Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Bedford (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Renhold

National Grid Reference: TL1119650905


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

Reasons for Designation

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 organisations amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Despite the damage caused by ploughing, the two barrows to the south of Dairy Farm will retain significant archaeological information. The areas within the encircling ditches will contain buried deposits relating to funerary activities, including burials. The fills of the buried ditches will retain artefactual evidence both for the date of construction and the duration of the monument's use, and environmental evidence illustrating the appearance of the landscape in which the barrows were set. The area between the barrows is of particular interest, since excavations at comparable sites have demonstrated the likelihood of further burials in such locations. The gravel terraces of the Great River Ouse are known to have provided the focus for burial and ritual activities in the Neolithic period and Bronze Age. These barrows form part of a particularly interesting group of funerary and ritual monuments, which is considered to be an outlying component of the larger complex of mortuary monuments to the WSW. The study of these sites will provide valuable information regarding the continuity and evolution of prehistoric funerary practices in the area, and contribute to research into the distribution of prehistoric settlement.


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


The monument includes the buried remains of two Bronze Age bowl barrows located on the low lying gravel terrace on the north side of the Gadsey Brook, a tributary of the River Great Ouse which flows into the main river some 400m further east. The barrows have been reduced by ploughing, and the earthwork remains are now barely perceptible. However, cropmarks generated by the fills of the buried ditches regularly appear, visible at ground level and recorded from the air on several occasions since 1970. The barrows are separated by a distance of c.30m. The ditch surrounding the western barrow is slightly oval in plan, measuring approximately 25m north east to south west and 19m north west to south east. The eastern barrow is circular, measuring c.18m in diameter (measured from the outer edge of the surrounding ditch). Archaeological studies of the gravel terraces in the Great Ouse Valley have provided considerable evidence for Late Neolithic and Bronze Age settlement and ritual activity. These barrows form part of a complex of prehistoric features, also revealed by aerial photography. These features (the subject of separate schedulings) include a ritual enclosure known as a hengi-form monument located c.140m to the south, a henge (a larger form of enclosure) and two further barrows located approximately 250m to the east. This group is thought to be associated with a larger cropmark complex located some 1.6km to the WSW, which contains a range of mortuary enclosures and other funerary monuments (also the subjects of separate schedulings).

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: 27193

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Clarke, R, Dawson, M, 'Chiltern Archaeology: Recent Work' in The Prehistoric and Romano-British landscape in Bedfordshire, (1995), 57
Woodward, P J, 'Arch J' in Bronze Age Settlement Patterns in the Great Ouse Valley, , Vol. 135, (1978), 32-56
MPP Schedule entries 20745-9, Wild, S, Neolithic and Bronze Age Mortuary Complex North West of Octagon Farm, (1993)
MPP schedule entry: 27116, Went, D, Oval Barrow East of Ranworth Walk, Biddenham, (1994)
Simco, A, 594: Compilation of AP evidence, (1987)

End of official listing