Round barrow cemetery 320m south east of Down Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016779

Date first listed: 15-May-1925

Date of most recent amendment: 14-Jul-1999


Ordnance survey map of Round barrow cemetery 320m south east of Down Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Pewsey

National Grid Reference: SU 18700 56624


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.

Five of the round barrows in the cemetery 320m south east of Down Farm are comparatively well preserved examples which, despite erosion caused by cultivation, still exhibit a recognisable profile. Saucer barrows are one of the rarest recognised forms of round barrow, with about 60 known examples nationally. All of the barrows in this group will contain archaeological remains providing information about Bronze Age beliefs, economy and environment.


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


The monument includes a cemetery of eight round barrows which occupies a prominent position, below the crest of a south west facing spur, on the northern edge of Salisbury Plain, 320m south east of Down Farm. Three of the barrows survive as substantial upstanding earthworks. Of these the most northerly example is a bell barrow with a mound 16m in diameter and a sloping berm 5m wide. Surrounding the berm is a ditch which, although no longer visible on the surface, will survive as a buried feature 3m wide. In the centre of the mound, which reaches a height of 3m, are traces of disturbance, most probably resulting from an excavation by Sir Richard Colt Hoare in the early 19th century which uncovered two burials of cremated bones. South of the bell barrow is a bowl barrow which has a mound 20m in diameter and reaches a height of 2.25m. Surrounding the mound is a ditch which is still just visible on the west side and will survive as a buried feature 3m wide elsewhere. The most southerly barrow of the group is also a bowl barrow. It has a mound 30m in diameter and 2.5m high. Surrounding the mound is a ditch, traces of which can still be seen on the east side and which will survive as a buried feature 3m wide elsewhere. In a line between this barrow and the bell barrow to the north east are a further two bowl barrows. These have been greatly reduced by cultivation but are still visible as low mounds approximately 20m in diameter. They were partially excavated in 1958 by Faith de Mallet Vatcher who found the remains of a wooden coffin and a disarticulated burial in the northernmost barrow and an empty grave in the other. Neither of these barrows would appear to have had a surrounding ditch. The monument also includes the sites of a further three barrows. These are no longer visible on the surface but were also examined by Vatcher who identified them as saucer barrows. Each had a central area of approximately 18m diameter, surrounded by a 3m wide ditch, which will survive as a buried feature, and evidence for an outer bank. The site of a further possible barrow is thought to lie in the north east corner of the group. This cannot be confirmed, however, and is not included in the scheduling. The telegraph pole and concrete water trough south west of the northernmost barrow and the fence that surrounds the southernmost barrow are excluded from the scheduling, although 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: 31192

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing