Two bowl barrows and a pond barrow, 720m and 760m NE of Wood Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017707

Date first listed: 17-Sep-1955

Date of most recent amendment: 19-Mar-1998


Ordnance survey map of Two bowl barrows and a pond barrow, 720m and 760m NE of Wood 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: Mere

National Grid Reference: ST 80819 34188, ST 80829 34251


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 barrows 720m and 760m north east of Wood Farm are, despite limited excavation, comparatively well preserved examples of their class. Pond barrows are ceremonial or funerary monuments of the Early to Middle Bronze Age, most examples dating to between 1500 and 1000 BC. The term 'barrow' is something of a misnomer as, rather than a mound, they were constructed as regular circular depressions with an embanked rim and, occasionally, an outer ditch or entrance through the bank. Where excavation has taken place, single or multiple pits or cists, sometimes containing human remains, have occasionally been found within the central depression, whilst in one example a well-like shaft was discovered. Pond barrows occur either singly or, more frequently, within round barrow cemeteries (closely spaced groups of barrows). The function and role of pond barrows is not fully understood but their close association with other types of barrow and the limited but repeated occurrence of human remains from excavated examples supports their identification as ceremonial monuments involved in funerary ritual. Pond barrows are the rarest form of round barrow, with about 60 examples recorded nationally and a distribution largely confined to Wiltshire and Dorset. They are representative of their period and, as few examples have been excavated, they have a particularly high value for future study with the potential to provide important evidence on the nature and variety of beliefs amongst prehistoric communities. Due to their rarity, all identified pond barrows would normally be considered to be of national importance. The pond barrow 710m north east of Wood Farm is a well preserved example of its class. All three of the barrows will contain archaeological deposits providing information about Bronze Age beliefs, economy and environment and they form an integral part of the formalised later prehistoric landscape on White Sheet Hill.


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


The monument, which lies within two areas, includes two bowl barrows and a pond barrow. The barrows, which are aligned north-south, lie on a south west facing spur 720m and 760m north east of Wood Farm. The southern bowl barrow has a mound, 12m in diameter and 0.8m high. A backfilled trench running north west-south east across the mound, 8.5m long and 1m wide, is most probably the site of the early 19th century excavation by Colt Hoare, who recorded a primary cist with fragments of a large urn. The second bowl barrow lies 34m to the north. This has a mound, 11m in diameter and 0.4m high, in the centre of which is a small hollow. Each of the bowl barrow mounds is surrounded by a quarry ditch, visible at least in part as a depression 2m wide, from which material was excavated during its construction. The pond barrow, which lies 10m to the south west of the southern bowl barrow, has a hollow central area, 7m in diameter and 0.8m deep, surrounded by a bank, 3.5m wide and 0.10m high.

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: 26861

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 182,225
Hoare, R C, Ancient History of Wiltshire, (1812), 44

End of official listing