Three bowl barrows on Chinnor Hill, two 150m and one 600m SW of Highlands


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016067

Date first listed: 15-Nov-1971

Date of most recent amendment: 11-Jul-1997


Ordnance survey map of Three bowl barrows on Chinnor Hill, two 150m and one 600m SW of Highlands
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Oxfordshire

District: South Oxfordshire (District Authority)

Parish: Chinnor

National Grid Reference: SP 76508 00270, SP 76764 00630


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.

The three bowl barrows on Chinnor Hill form part of a group of four barrows which run along the top of the hillslope overlooking the ancient Icknield Way. They survive well and are known from part excavation to contain archaeological evidence relating to their construction, the landscape in which they were built and their later use and significance in the Anglo-Saxon period.


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


The monument, which falls into two areas, includes a single bowl barrow and a pair of bowl barrows situated in a south west to north east line on Chinnor Hill. The barrows lie on a north west facing slope, overlooking the Upper Icknield Way and the Lower Icknield Way, between Chinnor and Bledlow. They are part of a larger group of four with the other lying further north east in Buckinghamshire. This is the subject of a separate scheduling (SM 19046). The single barrow lies 430m south west of the pair. It has a 20m diameter mound which stands up to 2m high on its downslope (north west) side. Surrounding this, but now partly infilled, is a 2m wide quarry ditch from which material was obtained during the construction of the mound. This is still visible on the uphill side of the barrow. The pair of barrows both have central mounds measuring between 23m and 24m in diameter. They both stand up to 1.2m high. The barrow mounds are surrounded by partly infilled quarry ditches which run together, forming a figure of eight in plan. These measure c.1.5m wide and are visible as low depressions c.0.3m deep. All three barrow mounds have circular indentations on their summits which show the location of shafts dug by 19th century antiquarian investigators. Finds of Bronze Age and Iron Age pottery and flint artefacts have been made in the vicinity and a labourer digging on the two barrows in 1899 found a secondary Anglo-Saxon inhumation burial. This had been cut into the mound and was accompanied by spear heads and a bronze chape. The burial probably belonged to a small settlement, situated between and to the north of the pair of barrows. This settlement was excavated in 1947, revealing it to be a small Anglo-Saxon homestead.

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: 28154

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing