Bowl barrow on Copley Hill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017327

Date first listed: 01-Oct-1981

Date of most recent amendment: 06-Oct-2000


Ordnance survey map of Bowl barrow on Copley Hill
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cambridgeshire

District: South Cambridgeshire (District Authority)

Parish: Babraham

National Grid Reference: TL 50978 53097


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 bowl barrow on Copley Hill survives as a substantial earthwork with associated buried features. It is exceptionally well preserved and forms part of an extensive area of burial mounds scattered upon the chalk uplands of south Cambridgeshire and north Hertfordshire. This barrow provides substantial evidence for prehistoric activity in the region and is therefore a focus for the study of prehistoric society. As the barrow does not appear to have been excavated, archaeological deposits are expected to remain largely intact.


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


The monument includes a bowl barrow on Copley Hill. This natural hill, one of several chalk knolls along the Babraham Road (A1307), stands 17m high and is crowned by a small mound representing the remains of a Bronze Age barrow. The mound measures approximately 21m in diameter and is 2m high. Its north western slope merges with the natural hill, obscuring the precise dimensions of the mound. The surrounding ditch, from which earth was dug in the construction of the mound, has become infilled over the years, but will survive as a buried feature. It is believed to be approximately 3m wide.

Copley Hill lies within an area of archaeological activity on the junction of Mile Road, a Romanised prehistoric trackway, and the Roman Worsted Street. A flint tool found on Copley Hill further testifies to prehistoric activity on the hill. The Copley Hill bowl barrow lies within an extensive area of burial mounds scattered upon the chalk uplands of north Hertfordshire and south Cambridgeshire. Nearby, 2.1km to the west, is another bowl barrow, the subject of a separate scheduling on Little Trees Hill, one of the chalk knolls adjacent to Copley Hill.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 5 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: 33345

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing