Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Scotspoor barrow

A Scheduled Monument in Tidcombe and Fosbury, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.3032 / 51°18'11"N

Longitude: -1.5932 / 1°35'35"W

OS Eastings: 428453.923759

OS Northings: 156089.344671

OS Grid: SU284560

Mapcode National: GBR 604.6AM

Mapcode Global: VHC2B.BHLT

Entry Name: Scotspoor barrow

Scheduled Date: 10 April 1957

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004731

English Heritage Legacy ID: WI 597

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Tidcombe and Fosbury

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire


Oval barrow 600m north of New Zealand Farm.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 24 September 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

This monument includes an oval barrow situated on the summit of a wide, level ridge overlooking two large dry valleys. The oval barrow survives as an oval mound aligned north west to south east and measuring approximately 18m long, 13m wide and 0.5m high with buried quarry ditches from which the construction material was derived. The barrow has been cut to the north west by a track. It was excavated by Passmore in 1934 and at the centre a circular arrangement of human skulls had been placed on a flat stone with bundles of apparently originally tied long bones in the centre of the circle. To the south east was a second similar arrangement of skulls and bundled long bones with a broken flint arrowhead. To the south two secondary skeletal inhumations had also been interred. The barrow has been variously interpreted as a bowl barrow or long barrow.

Further archaeological remains survive in the immediate vicinity and are scheduled separately.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Oval barrows are funerary and ceremonial monuments of the Early to Middle Neolithic periods, with the majority of dated monuments belonging to the later part of the range. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds of roughly elliptical plan, usually delimited by quarry ditches. These ditches can vary from paired "banana-shaped" ditches flanking the mound to "U-shaped" or unbroken oval ditches nearly or wholly encircling it. Along with the long barrows, oval barrows represent the burial places of Britain's early farming communities and, as such, are amongst the oldest field monuments surviving visibly in the present landscape. Where investigated, oval barrows have produced two distinct types of burial rite: communal burials of groups of individuals, including adults and children, laid directly on the ground surface before the barrow was built; and burials of one or two adults interred in a grave pit centrally placed beneath the barrow mound. Certain sites provide evidence for several phases of funerary monument preceding the barrow and, consequently, it is probable that they may have acted as important ritual sites for local communities over a considerable period of time. Similarly, as the filling of the ditches around oval barrows often contains deliberately placed deposits of pottery, flint work and bone, periodic ceremonial activity may have taken place at the barrow subsequent to its construction. Oval barrows are very rare nationally, with less than 50 recorded examples in England. As one of the few types of Neolithic structure to survive as earthworks and due to their rarity, their considerable age and their longevity as a monument type, all oval barrows are considered to be important. Although much is already known about the oval barrow 600m north of New Zealand Farm it will retain further archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, longevity, territorial significance, social organisation, funerary and ritual practices and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England


PastScape 224193
Wiltshire HER SU25NE104

Source: Historic England

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