This browser is not fully supported by Historic England. Please update your browser to the latest version so that you get the best from our website.

Round barrow cemetery at Battle Gore immediately west of North Road

List Entry Summary

This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Round barrow cemetery at Battle Gore immediately west of North Road

List entry Number: 1019032

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Somerset

District: West Somerset

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Williton

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 15-May-1934

Date of most recent amendment: 14-Mar-2000

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 33704

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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.

Despite cultivation which has reduced the heights of the barrow mounds, and disturbance of the northernmost bowl barrow due to antiquarian excavation and drainage works, the prehistoric round barrow cemetery at Battle Gore immediately west of North Road survives well and is known from partial excavation to contain archaeological deposits and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. Its importance is further enhanced by the presence of the burial chamber, a comparatively rare feature probably of Neolithic date, which can be included among the oldest visible monuments to survive in the area.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a prehistoric round barrow cemetery known as Battle Gore located on the north western outskirts of Williton. It includes five barrows, three of which survive as earthworks and two as ring ditches. All the barrows are of Late Neolithic to Bronze Age date. The monument also includes a burial chamber of probable Neolithic date. The cemetery is linear in plan, broadly following a north to south alignment. The three round barrows which survive as earthworks are bowl barrows and have mounds varying between 30m-34m in diameter and 0.4m-1.75m in height. All three mounds are surrounded by ditches from which material was quarried during their construction. These have become infilled over the years and now survive as buried features which are visible on aerial photographs from which they can be calculated to be approximately 3m wide. A partial excavation in 1931 of the northernmost barrow revealed that any primary interment in the centre of the mound would have been removed during an earlier unrecorded antiquarian excavation. However, a secondary cremation of a woman or youth in a large pottery urn with an oak cover was found about 6m east of centre in a small stone cist; flint implements were discovered among the burnt bone. Further flint implements and prehistoric pottery were recovered during the course of the excavation from the mound material. The two barrows which survive as ring ditches are located in the southern part of the cemetery, one 70m to the south west of the southernmost bowl barrow and the other 85m to its north. The ditches represent the ditches from which material for the construction of the barrow mounds was quarried. They are no longer clearly discernible on the ground but survive as buried features which are visible on aerial photographs and from which their diameters are calculated to be 14m and 18m respectively. The burial chamber located in the northern part of the cemetery is represented by a group of large stones lying in a shallow depression; the stones have been identified as local New Red Sandstone. Two of the stones are partly buried and the whole of a third stone is recumbent above ground. The excavation programme of 1931 investigated the burial chamber and this revealed evidence that the two partly buried stones, one 1.5m long 0.6m wide and one 1.2m long 0.9m wide, were set into socket holes, and it was concluded that these two stones probably formed the upright components of a dolmen-like burial chamber and that the third, now recumbent stone, 2.1m long and 1m wide, formed the cap stone of the chamber. The burial chamber is thought to have been the central component within a Neolithic chambered tomb which may at one stage have comprised a mound of smaller stones placed over and around the burial chamber; these may have become dispersed in antiquity as a result of cultivation. Aerial photographs show an enclosing quarry ditch, now infilled and approximately 30m in diameter. The chambered tomb may have provided a focus for the Bronze Age burials which came later. The name Battle Gore is derived from a reference in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicals citing a Danish raid in AD 918. The ensuing battle is traditionally held to have taken place in the vicinity of the barrows. The tithe map of 1841 shows that some of the fields in which the barrows lie are called Graborough (Grave Barrow) and antiquarian discoveries of burials and socketed bronze weapons (now known to be Bronze Age) during the 19th century may have strengthened the case for a battle at this location. All pylons, and fence and gateposts 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.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Gray, H St, 'Proceedings Somerset Archaeological & Natural History Society' in Battlegore, Williton, (1931), 19-21
Gray, H St, 'Proceedings Somerset Archaeological & Natural History Society' in Battlegore, Williton, (1931), 9 - 36
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of Somerset Archaelogical & Natural History Society' in Somerset Barrows, , Vol. 113 pt 1, (1969), 41
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of Somerset Archaelogical & Natural History Society' in Somerset Barrows, , Vol. 113 pt 1, (1969), 41
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of Somerset Archaelogical & Natural History Society' in Somerset Barrows, , Vol. 113 pt 1, (1969), 41
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of Somerset Archaelogical & Natural History Society' in Somerset Barrows, , Vol. 113 pt 1, (1969), 41

National Grid Reference: ST 07444 41392

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2017. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1019032 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 21-Nov-2017 at 03:04:28.

End of official listing