Round barrow cemetery, Roman road and hollow ways 200m south west of Woolmer Cottages


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Ordnance survey map of Round barrow cemetery, Roman road and hollow ways 200m south west of Woolmer Cottages
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

East Hampshire (District Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SU 78467 31999

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.

Roman roads were artificially made up routes introduced to Britain by the Roman army from approximately AD 43. They facilitated the conquest of the province and its subsequent administration, and acted as commercial routes and foci for settlement and industry. Two main types of Roman road are distinguishable on the basis of construction technique. The first has widely spaced boundary ditches and a broad elaborate agger comprising several layers of graded materials. The second usually has drainage ditches and a narrow simple agger of two or three successive layers. With the exception of the extreme south west of the country, Roman roads are widely distributed throughout England and extend into Wales and lowland Scotland. They are highly representative of the period of Roman administration and provide important evidence of Roman civil engineering skills as well as the pattern of Roman conquest and settlement. A high proportion of examples exhibiting good survival are considered to be worthy of protection. Although some Roman roads fell out of use soon after the withdrawal of Rome from the province in the fifth century AD, many continued in use as trackways or roads down to the present day or served as property boundaries during the later Saxon and medieval periods. In this later use such trackways continued to provide communications between individual settlements and linked occupation areas with their fields and grazing grounds. They are often associated with the related form of the hollow way which formed droving routes for cattle and other stock and were also often used to mark the boundary between neighbouring estates. The prehistoric round barrow cemetery, the Roman road, and the series of medieval hollow ways situated 200m south west of Woolmer Cottages survive well and can be expected to retain archaeological potential relating to their construction and use.


The monument includes a round barrow cemetery of probable Bronze Age date (2000-700 BC), a 160m section of Roman road, and a series of hollow ways of probable medieval or post-medieval date situated on a low sandy ridge 200m south west of Woolmer Cottages. The ridge is oriented north east-south west alongside the Petersfield Road (A325), which marks the western edge of Woolmer Forest. The round barrow cemetery includes eleven bowl barrows, ten of which are arranged in a linear fashion along the crest of the ridge, bisected by the later Roman road and hollow ways. The eleventh barrow is situated part way down the slope at the southern end of the monument. They are all relatively closely spaced and include two adjoining pairs situated at each end of the ridge and a prominent group of three adjoining barrows situated at the centre. An additional barrow, situated approximately 200m to the north, formerly formed part of the monument but has now been removed by modern ploughing and no longer forms part of the scheduling. The barrows are all roughly circular or slightly oval in shape, ranging from 9m to 26m in diameter and from 0.6m to 2m in height. All are relatively steep-sided and flat-topped, although the central barrows have been lowered by later ploughing and the northern and southernmost barrows have been severely damaged by the modern excavation of military dugouts, in some cases with mortared brick foundations. There is no trace of a surrounding quarry ditch around any of the mounds, although such ditches, from which material would have been obtained for the mounds' construction, may survive as infilled features. Further buried remains associated with the original construction and use of the barrows, including burials, grave pits, burial goods, and the original ground surface can be expected to survive beneath the mounds. The later section of Roman road follows a straight course across the ridge, cut at each end by modern ploughing and modern road construction respectively. It includes a raised central agger, 7m-9m wide, flanked on both sides by V-shaped ditches, 5m wide and up to 2m deep, a distinctive characteristic of second class Roman roads. The surface of the agger is flat or slightly cambere in parts, but has been narrowed and damaged in places by later excavation. Similarly, the southern ditch is partly infilled towards the modern road by later excavation, probably related to the modern use of the area as a military training ground. The Roman road forms part of the Silchester to Chichester road, the route of which has been traced from aerial photographs by the Ordnance Survey, and which was partially excavated in 1956 where it extends across Chapel Common, 5km to the south east. The excavations revealed the agger was constructed from a thin layer of gravel metalling, placed upon a substantial cambered foundation layer. There is no firm dating evidence for the construction of the road, but it is likely to have been built within the first few decades of the Roman Conquest of AD 43, and will then have quickly fallen into disuse after AD 410 following the decline of Silchester at the close of the Roman period. The Roman road is flanked to the north by the later series of three, flat- bottomed hollow ways, all approximately 4m wide and 0.5m-1.2m in depth. They respect the course of the road, but diverge slightly from it towards the south east. This may represent the later use of the route as a droveway, fanning out slightly towards Woolmer Pond, and possibly connecting it with the medieval settlement at Blackmoor, approximately 1km to the north west. The modern shelter and fences located on the monument are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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.


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

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Books and journals
Clarke, A, 'Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club' in The Chichester - Silchester Romand Road, , Vol. 21, (1959), 83-97
Rankine, W F, 'Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club' in Mesolithic Research in East Hampshire, , Vol. 18, (1954), 179


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.

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