Three round barrows forming the core of a dispersed barrow cemetery on Idstone Down


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018655

Date first listed: 03-Jan-1963

Date of most recent amendment: 16-Nov-1998


Ordnance survey map of Three round barrows forming the core of a dispersed barrow cemetery on Idstone Down
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Oxfordshire

District: Vale of White Horse (District Authority)

Parish: Ashbury

National Grid Reference: SU 27499 81018


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.

These three barrows on Idstone Down survive well despite part excavation of two of the mounds. Archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the construction, function and landscape in which the barrows were built will survive buried within the mounds, beneath them and within the infilled ditches. The barrows form the focus of a wider group around which other prehistoric activity is believed to be concentrated.


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


The monument includes three Bronze Age round barrows which form the core of a dispersed linear barrow cemetery situated on the crest of Idstone Down. The three barrows forming this monument along with a further nine barrows, some of which are scheduled separately, run roughly north west to south east with this concentrated group lying roughly at the centre. All three barrows survive as upstanding earthworks and are located in a line oriented roughly east to west. The barrows' central mounds measure, from east to west, 18m, 18m and 16.5m in diameter and they stand 1.5m, 1.6m and 1.3m high respectively. The barrows all lie close together and would originally have been surrounded by interlocking ditches which have become infilled by past cultivation. These ditches will however survive buried below the modern ground level. The central and eastern barrows both have central depressions which are the result of antiquarian investigation, no details of which are known. More recent field recording in the area identified a large concentration of flint cores and tools numbering over 1400 items, situated in the field immediately west of the barrows.

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: 28147

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Tingle, , Gaffney, , 'British Archaeological Report' in The Maddle Farm Project, , Vol. 200, (1989), 29
PRN 7340, C.A.O., Barrow Group, (1989)

End of official listing