Five bowl barrows 590m north east of Bernersfield Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016808

Date first listed: 12-Nov-1962

Date of most recent amendment: 19-Mar-1999


Ordnance survey map of Five bowl barrows 590m north east of Bernersfield Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Suffolk

District: Forest Heath (District Authority)

Parish: Icklingham

National Grid Reference: TL 78731 75319, TL 78951 75298, TL 79089 75391


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.

Although three of the five barrows 590m north east of Bernersfield Farm have been the subject of limited investigation and a trackway cuts across the easternmost barrow mound, archaeological information concerning the construction and the manner of use of all five barrows and their stratigraphic and chronological relationship to one another will survive. Evidence for the local environment in the prehistoric period will also be preserved in the upstanding earthworks, in soils buried beneath the mounds and in the fills of the surrounding ditches. The proximity of these barrows to a number of other barrows in this part of the Breckland region, and in particular to a further five barrows within a 2km radius (three the subject of separate schedulings and two which are no longer visible), give them additional interest. Together these barrows give some evidence of the character, development and density of the prehistoric population in this area.


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


The monument, which is in three separate areas of protection, includes five bowl barrows situated in a roughly east-west alignment. The monument is known locally as the Icklingham barrow cemetery. The first area includes three barrows. The westernmost barrow is visible as a large earthen mound, which stands to a height of about 1m and covers a circular area of about 38m in diameter. A second bowl barrow stands approximately 36m to the WNW of the first, and survives as a circular mound, about 31m in diameter and 0.4m high. A third bowl barrow is situated approximately 20m to the south east of the second, and is visible as a roughly circular mound, with a diameter of about 38m and a height of about 0.5m. The second area includes a fourth bowl barrow, standing approximately 140m further to the east of the third barrow. It is visible as a circular mound, about 36m in diameter and 1m high. The third area includes a fifth barrow, standing a further 130m to the north east of the fourth barrow. It is visible as a roughly circular earthern mound with a diameter of about 41m and a height of 0.7m. It is thought that all five mounds are encircled by ditches from which earth was quarried during the construction of the barrows. Although these have now become completely infilled and are no longer visible, they will survive as buried features below the ground surface. Four barrows from this group are identified on Hodskinson's 1783 Map of Suffolk whilst the third, fourth and fifth barrows are recorded as having been investigated by Henry Prigg between 1866 and 1872. The five barrows are thought to be the survivors of a larger group of barrows including at least two other barrows, no longer visible, which are thought to have stood approximately 140m and 200m to the north of the group. It is believed that one of these two was investigated by Henry Prigg junior in 1873. The mound, which was constructed of sand, contained a central grave. The remains of five cremation burials were also recorded, and amongst the finds were two small vessels (a cinerary urn and a plain drinking cup) and several pieces of worked flint. A further barrow which is sited approximately 700m to the south of the monument is the subject of a separate scheduling. The pheasant pen which surrounds part of the first barrow and the fences to the south of the second and south west of the third barrow are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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: 31118

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Prigg, H, 'Journal British Archaeol. Assoc.' in The Icklingham Tumuli, , Vol. 30, (1874), 195-6
Title: Map of Suffolk Source Date: 1783 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Suff Rec Soc Reprint, 15, 1972

End of official listing