Two bowl barrows on Massingham Common: 900m and 930m south west of Field Barn


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020938

Date first listed: 22-Dec-1927

Date of most recent amendment: 08-Sep-2003


Ordnance survey map of Two bowl barrows on Massingham Common: 900m and 930m south west of Field Barn
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Norfolk

District: King's Lynn and West Norfolk (District Authority)

Parish: Great Massingham

National Grid Reference: TF 80457 20781, TF 80583 20730


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

Reasons for Designation

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Often superficially similar, although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form and a diversity of burial practices. There are over 10,000 surviving bowl barrows recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring across most of lowland Britain. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation of form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

The bowl barrows on Massingham Common 900m and 930m south west of Field Barn survive well as a series of earthwork and buried remains. Although both have undergone some disturbance, the barrows will preserve archaeological information concerning their construction and date. Evidence for the local environment at the time of construction will be contained in buried soils beneath the mounds and in the fill of the ditches. As one of several groups of barrows in this part of Norfolk they provide evidence for the character and development of the prehistoric landscape.


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


The monument, which is in two separate areas of protection, includes the remains of two bowl barrows located at the northern edge of Massingham Common. The barrows are situated on former heathland at the western edge of the Good Sands upland region of north west Norfolk.

The easternmost barrow is visible as a sub-circular, slightly raised mound measuring approximately 28m in diameter, surrounded by a ditch with an external bank. The ditch, which has become partly infilled, is marked by a hollow 3m wide and up to 0.3m deep, except for a length on the south side where it lies adjacent to a modern quarry pit. The external bank, measuring 1.5m wide and 0.15m high, is visible around the outer edge of the north east portion of the ditch.

The westernmost barrow, approximately 140m to the north west, is visible as a mound which stands to a height of 0.5m. This was originally circular in plan, although it has been partly levelled on the north and south sides and now covers an area measuring 24m east-west by 5m. A cropmark (line of differential crop growth) indicates that the original area of the mound is encircled by a ditch about 3m wide, which has become infilled but which survives as a buried feature. The diameter of the barrow, including the original area of the mound and the ditch, is approximately 30m.

All fence posts 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: 35069

Legacy System: RSM


Norfolk SMR, NF3666, (2002)
Norfolk SMR, NF3667, (2002)
Norfolk SMR, NF3668, (2002)

End of official listing