Round barrow cemetery on Ibsley Common, 800m south east of Blunts Barn Cottage


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019305

Date first listed: 25-Nov-1999

Date of most recent amendment: 07-Jul-2000


Ordnance survey map of Round barrow cemetery on Ibsley Common, 800m south east of Blunts Barn Cottage
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Hampshire

District: New Forest (District Authority)

Parish: Ellingham, Harbridge and Ibsley

National Park: NEW FOREST

National Grid Reference: SU 17013 10584, SU 17156 10633, SU 17387 10537, SU 17432 10530, SU 17620 10475, SU 17706 10570, SU 17763 10513


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.

The round barrow cemetery on Ibsley Common survives comparatively well despite some disturbance caused by later excavation and the modern use of the area as a World War II aerodrome. It contains nationally rare examples of disc and saucer barrows. The excavations have indicated that it retains important archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed.


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


The monument, which falls into seven areas of protection, includes a round barrow cemetery of Late Neolithic or Bronze Age date, prominently situated 250m west of Cuckoo Hill on a high gravel plateau on Ibsley Common, overlooking the low lying valley of the River Avon to the west. This flat plateau, which covers an area of approximately 240ha, was later used as the site of a World War II aerodrome for which some associated structural and earthwork remains survive. At least seven further round barrows are widely spaced across the common, all of which are situated around the upper edges of the central plateau or on subsidiary spurs. The monument includes a disc barrow, a saucer barrow, six bowl barrows and the site of a further bowl barrow, now levelled by the later use of the site as an aerodrome. Further elements, including flat graves and urnfields, are likely to survive as buried features between the barrows. The barrows are widely spaced, averaging approximately 110m apart, but follow a rough east-west alignment along the northern edge of Chibden bottom, a deep, steep-sided coombe which partly bisects the plateau. Most of the barrows are situated within 40m of the sharp edge of this coombe, although the two easternmost barrows are located 100m-150m back. The disc barrow, 19.5m in total diameter, is of a relatively unusual form, comprising a disc-shaped platform, raised 0.15m, surrounded by a low raised rim, and a shallow outer ditch. It is very prominently located at the intersection of two spurs at the western edge of the gravel plateau. The saucer barrow, located 480m to the ESE, at the head of Chibden Bottom, is 16m in total diameter and includes a small, saucer-shaped mound, also raised about 0.15m, surrounded by a ditch, about 0.25m deep, and a flat-topped outer bank,about 4m wide and 0.3m high. The remaining bowl barrows are all relatively small and indistinct, comprising round or slightly oval, flat- topped mounds which range from 4m to 11m in diameter and from 0.2m to 0.6m high. Of these, the westernmost bowl barrow has been deeply hollowed in the centre as a result of later excavation and stock poaching and is clipped by a modern path. The site of one additional round barrow, recorded by the Ordnance Survey is also included. This barrow is visible as an area of exposed flint gravel, 10m in diameter, and further buried remains are likely to survive. Excavations of the saucer barrow and the easternmost bowl barrow, conducted by Heywood Sumner in 1917, demonstrated that the saucer barrow was constructed from local sand and gravel, probably obtained from the surrounding ditch, whereas the bowl barrow was constructed of the same material overlying a core of white clayey sand and an encircling ramp of consolidated gravel flints, both of which would have been imported from some distance. At the centre of the bowl barrow Sumner found an irregular pit, 0.6m in diameter by 0.45m deep, filled with dark soil and charcoal but producing no other finds. At the centre of the saucer barrow Sumner found similar burnt material overlying a small cist cut into the underlying subsoil, 0.45m in diameter and 0.2m deep, which was floored with rammed pebbles and contained an inverted Bronze Age cinerary urn filled with fine soil and charcoal. Excavations of four other barrows on Ibsley Common by Sumner in 1917 and 1921 yielded similar results and produced two further Bronze Age urns, both of which contained burnt human bone. These urns and other finds from Sumner's excavations on Ibsley Common are now held at the Salisbury Museum. An octagonal brick structure, a brick bunker and the rectangular floor and foundations of a brick and concrete structure situated from 50m to 200m south of the monument are the result of the later use of the area as a World War II aerodrome and are not included in the scheduling.

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: 31178

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Sumner, H, 'Transactions of the Bournemouth Field Club and Arch. Society' in Excavation of barrows on Ibsley Common, , Vol. 14, (1922), 69-78
Sumner, H, Local Papers (Excavation of barrows on Ibsley Common), (1931)
Sumner, H, Local Papers (Excavation of barrows on Ibsley Common), (1931)
Sumner, H, Local Papers (Excavation of barrows on Ibsley Common), (1931)

End of official listing