Bell barrow, bowl barrow and regular aggregate field system immediately east of Ganderdown Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Winchester (District Authority)
Winchester (District Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SU 55993 27284

Reasons for Designation

Regular aggregate field systems date from the Bronze Age (2000-700 BC) to the end of the fifth century AD. They usually cover areas of up to 100ha and comprise a discrete block of fields orientated in roughly the same direction, with the field boundaries laid out along two axes set at right angles to one another. Individual fields generally fall within the 0.1ha-3.2ha range and can be square, rectangular, long and narrow, triangular or polygonal in shape. The field boundaries can take various forms (including drystone walls or reaves, orthostats, earth and rubble banks, pit alignments, ditches, fences and lynchets) and follow straight or sinuous courses. Component features common to most systems include entrances and trackways, and the settlements or farmsteads from which people utilised the fields over the years have been identified in some cases. These are usually situated close to or within the field system. The development of field systems is seen as a response to the competition for land which began during the later prehistoric period. The majority are thought to have been used mainly for crop production, evidenced by the common occurrence of lynchets resulting from frequent ploughing, although rotation may also have been practised in a mixed farming economy. Regular aggregate field systems occur widely and have been recorded in south western and south eastern England, East Anglia, Cheshire, Cumbria, Nottinghamshire, North and South Yorkshire and Durham. They represent a coherent economic unit often utilised for long periods of time and can thus provide important information about developments in agricultural practices in a particular location and broader patterns of social, cultural and environmental change over several centuries. Those which survive well and/or which can be positively linked to associated settlements are considered to merit protection.

Bowl barrows are the most numerous form of round barrows and date from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. Bell barrows, the most visually impressive form of round barrow, date to the Early and Middle Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 1500-1100 BC. They are rare nationally with less than 250 examples, most of which are in Wessex. The bell barrow, bowl barrow and regular aggregate field system immediately east of Ganderdown Farm survive well with comparatively little disturbance and can be expected to retain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the various components of the monument and the environment in which they were constructed. Their association with one another and with a later series of hollow ways demonstrates the importance of the monument for a wide variety of uses from the prehistoric to the later Saxon and medieval periods.


The monument includes a bell barrow, a probable bowl barrow and a regular aggregate field system situated on the western slope of a broad spur projecting north from Gander Down. The two barrows are of Late Neolithic or Bronze Age date (2400-1100 BC), while the later field system is of probable Iron Age Date (sixth century BC to the mid-first century AD), although it may have continued in use through the Romano-British period. The two barrows are prominently situated within the field system along the brow of a subsidiary spur, commanding extensive views of the South Downs to the south and west. The bell barrow is the most impressive and includes a flat topped, oval shaped mound, 1m high, surrounded to the north and east by a narrow berm and a semicircular section of ditch, 6m wide. Both the ditch and berm would originally have surrounded the barrow, but they have been partly destroyed by a lynchet of the later field system that has been cut hard against the southern side of the mound, and buried by spoil from a modern trench that has been excavated through the centre of the barrow. The other barrow is a probable bowl barrow, situated 70m to the west within the fork of two later hollow ways which join at the end of the spur. It is indicated by a low, roughly circular mound, approximately 12m in diameter, although this may be the result of spoil thrown from the hollow ways. Buried remains associated with the original use of both barrows, including burials, grave pits and burial goods, can be expected to survive beneath the mounds. The later field system is a conspicuous and well preserved example of its kind covering an area of approximately 14ha on slopes of up to 12 degrees. It includes a series of relatively narrow, rectangular fields oriented along two axes set at right angles. This grid has been imposed onto the landscape so that, although in many places the fields follow the contour, elsewhere they are arranged diagonally to the slope. The individual fields range in size from 0.6ha to 1.2ha and average 60m in width. The field boundaries are formed principally by negative earthwork lynchets which form steep banks ranging from 1.2m to 3m in height. They are best preserved over the northern half of the monument where they are frequently capped by positive lynchets, typically 4m wide and 0.25m high. Both negative and positive lynchets are created by ancient ploughing techniques on sloping ground. The disturbed soil will tend to slip downhill leaving a well marked scarp known as a negative lynchet. Positive lynchets are created by downhill build up of soil on a field boundary. Where field boundaries meet the combination of positive lynchet lying above a negative lynchet produces the characteristic bank indicative of fields of ancient date. The most northerly fields are slightly staggered, with trackways leading between them where they overlap. Aerial photographs indicate that the monument is the remnant of a more extensive system, further traces of which survive but are not included in the scheduling. More recent use of the monument is indicated by the series of hollow ways which fan out over the site, the most substantial of which crosses from north west to south east and forms the modern route of the South Downs Way. It may originally have formed part of a major ridgeway leading to the south east from Winchester. This route is recorded in Saxon charters and remained in use during the medieval period. The fence posts, gates, water troughs, pipes and associated fittings situated on the monument 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.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Sawyer, P H, Anglo-Saxon Charters. An Annotated List and Bibliography, (1968)
Grundy, G B, 'Archaeological Journal' in The Saxon Land Charters of Hampshire, , Vol. 81, (1924), 109-116
Moffat, A J, 'Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club' in The Distribution Of Celtic Fields On The East Hampshire Chalks, , Vol. 44, (1988), 11-23


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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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