Round barrow cemetery on Magdalen Hill Down


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016746

Date first listed: 29-Mar-1949

Date of most recent amendment: 13-Oct-1999


Ordnance survey map of Round barrow cemetery on Magdalen Hill Down
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Hampshire

District: Winchester (District Authority)

Parish: Chilcomb

National Park: SOUTH DOWNS

National Grid Reference: SU 49990 29329


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

Reasons for Designation

Round barrow cemeteries date to the Bronze Age (c.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, occasionally associated with earlier long barrows. Where large scale investigation has been undertaken around them, contemporary or later "flat" burials between the barrow mounds have often been revealed. Round barrow cemeteries occur across most of lowland Britain, with a marked concentration in Wessex. In some cases, they are clustered around other important contemporary monuments such as henges. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape, whilst their diversity and their 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 or partly-surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

The round barrow cemetery on Magdalen Hill Down survives comparatively well. Partial excavation has indicated that it retains archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed.


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


The monument includes a round barrow cemetery of Late Neolithic to Bronze Age date prominently situated on the south facing slope of Magdalen Hill Down, overlooking Twyford Down and St Catherine's Hill to the south east and St Giles' Hill and Winchester to the west. It includes a linear arrangement of five bowl barrows extending over a distance of approximately 85m along a false crest on the down, with the ground sloping steeply below it to the south. All of the barrows are closely spaced, two of them overlapping slightly, with the remainder being separated by an average distance of 3m. The easternmost three barrows are the most substantial. They include steep sided, circular mounds, ranging in diameter from 16m to 20.5m and standing 1.5m-2m high to the north and 2.8m-3.5m high on the downslope, southern side. Of these, the central barrow has been disturbed by a shallow trench, 2m wide, which is indicative of later excavation. All three barrows include shallow, surrounding quarry ditches, up to 3.5m wide and 0.4m deep, which have now become substantially infilled and remain visible only as discontinuous sections on the downslope sides. The two westernmost barrows are smaller and less conspicuous. They include roughly circular mounds, 11m-12m in diameter, standing up to 0.5m high on the upslope, northern side but rising up to a metre high on the downslope side. Of these, the eastern barrow has been lowered almost to ground level on the upslope side by later excavation and is now only clearly defined as a cresent shaped scarp on the south side. It is probably the source of a number of finds displayed in 1940 in the Winchester office of the Hampshire Chronicle, which included animal teeth, pottery and a small chisel of possible Late Bronze Age date, reportedly found close to a human inhumation burial on the barrow site on Magdalen Hill. Both of these barrows would probably also formerly have included surrounding quarry ditches. These have now become infilled but will survive as buried features. The fence which crosses the monument on the north and east sides is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it 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: 32543

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Andrewes, AG, Chilcombe, (1906), 56
Andrewes, AG, Chilcombe, (1906), 56
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club' in Hampshire Barrows, , Vol. 14, (1940), 353
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club' in Hampshire Barrows, , Vol. 14, (1940), 353
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club' in Hampshire Barrows, , Vol. 14, (1940), 353
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club' in Hampshire Barrows, , Vol. 14, (1938), 196

End of official listing