The Giant's Grave round barrow cemetery


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020537

Date first listed: 10-Mar-1925

Date of most recent amendment: 11-Oct-2001


Ordnance survey map of The Giant's Grave round barrow cemetery
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 18-Dec-2018 at 23:28:38.


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

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Aldbourne

National Grid Reference: SU 24324 76433, SU 24552 76418


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 Giant's Grave round barrow cemetery survives well and can be expected to retain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to each barrow's construction and use and the landscape in which the cemetery developed. The cemetery is a substantial example of its kind and contains examples of two barrow types, of which bell barrows are particularly rare nationally. Finds recovered from individual barrows during the 19th century excavations will also add considerably to knowledge of the cemetery.


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


The monument, which lies within two separate areas of protection, includes four bowl barrows and a bell barrow aligned approximately east to west along the spine of a chalk ridge. The bell barrow, the most easterly in the group and known as the Giant's Grave, has a mound 19.5m in diameter and 2m in height. The base of the mound is surrounded by a berm up to 4.6m in width, with an external ditch 3.7m in width and 0.3m in depth. A depression in the mound 4m in diameter and 0.3m in depth is probably the site of a late 19th century excavation by Canon Greenwell, who recorded an adult cremation, two bone pins and a fragment of a barbed and tanged arrowhead. A bowl barrow with a mound up to 0.7m in height abuts the western side of the Giant's Grave. The mound is 18m in diameter, mutilated on its eastern side, and abutted in turn on its western side by a second bowl barrow. The second bowl barrow has a mound 17m in diameter, 0.8m in height and is surrounded by traces of a ditch up to 0.3m in depth and 3m in width.

The third and fourth bowl barrows are protected within a separate area lying 250m to the west of the Giant's Grave. The eastern bowl barrow of this pair has a mound 24m in diameter and 1.2m in height. It was excavated by Canon Greenwell who found an adult cremation situated within a circular cist, together with a bone pin, bone tweezers, a wrist guard and pendant. The western bowl barrow has a mound 15m in width and 0.7m high. It was also partially excavated by Canon Greenwell and was found to contain an adult cremation situated within a circular cist. Grave goods buried with the cremation included pottery, and beads made of shale, bone and shell. Ditches, from which material was excavated for the monument's construction, surround both mounds. These have become infilled over the years but survive as buried features approximately 2m wide.

All fences and trackways 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.

Legacy System number: 30275

Legacy System: RSM


RCHME, NMR: SU 27 NW 029,
RCHME, NMR: SU 27 NW 030,
Wiltshire County Council, SU 27 NW 609,
Wiltshire County Council, SU 27 NW 610,
Wiltshire County Council, SU 27 NW 619,
Wiltshire County Council, SU 27 NW 620,
Wiltshire County Council, SU 32 NW 618,

End of official listing