Ancient Monuments

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Pair of bowl barrows on West Down, 550m east of Witch Plantation

A Scheduled Monument in Bishops Cannings, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.4203 / 51°25'13"N

Longitude: -1.9078 / 1°54'28"W

OS Eastings: 406503.904501

OS Northings: 169037.984438

OS Grid: SU065690

Mapcode National: GBR 3VH.Y74

Mapcode Global: VHB43.WK8J

Entry Name: Pair of bowl barrows on West Down, 550m east of Witch Plantation

Scheduled Date: 7 May 1957

Last Amended: 10 August 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007492

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21766

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Bishops Cannings

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire


The monument includes two well preserved Bronze Age bowl barrows aligned
north east/south west and located on West Down, 550m east of Witch Plantation.
The barrows are situated on the edge of a wide terrace on a north east facing
slope, about halfway down the hill on which Oldbury hillfort is situated. The
north eastern barrow has a mound 21m in diameter and up to 1.8m high. The
summit of this mound contains an oval depression c.9m long and 0.3m deep which
is probably the result of 19th century excavation. Surrounding the mound is a
quarry ditch from which material was obtained during its construction. This
survives as a visible earthwork c.4m wide and up to 0.5m deep, except on the
south east side where it lies buried under a farm track. A sarsen stone was
situated on the monument as recently as 1924 when it appeared marked as a
'boulder' on the Ordnance Survey 25" map. However, this stone has since been
The south west bowl barrow has a mound 14.5m in diameter and up to 1m high.
Surrounding the mound is a quarry ditch 3m wide and 0.5m deep. This is most
clearly visible on the west side of the monument.

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.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

A small number of areas in southern England appear to have acted as foci for
ceremonial and ritual activity during the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age
periods. Two of the best known and earliest recognised, with references in the
17th century, are around Avebury and Stonehenge, now jointly designated as a
World Heritage Site. In the Avebury area, the henge monument itself, the West
Kennet Avenue, the Sanctuary, West Kennet long barrow, Windmill Hill
causewayed enclosure and the enigmatic Silbury Hill are well-known. Whilst the
other Neolithic long barrows, the many Bronze Age round barrows and other
associated sites are less well-known, together they define one of the richest
and most varied areas of Neolithic and Bronze Age ceremonial monuments in the
country. 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, normally 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 and around 320 in the Avebury area. This group of
monuments will provide important information on the development of this area
during the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age periods. All surviving examples are
considered worthy of protection.

Despite the fact that one of the two bowl barrows 550m east of Witch
Plantation has been partially excavated, they both survive well and will
contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to their
construction and the landscape in which they were built. They represent two of
the best preserved and visually striking examples in the Avebury area.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire, (1957), 153
Field Visit report AM 107, Williams, S., Wilts 556/a; 556/b, (1983)
SU 06 NE 73 A, RCHM(E), Avebury 1, ditched, (1970)
SU 06 NE 73 B, RCHM(E), Avebury 2, Ditched bowl barrow, (1970)
SU06NE646, CAO, Well preserved ditched bowl barrow, (1983)
SU06NE647, CAO, Ditched bowl barrow, (1983)
Title: Boulder
Source Date: 1924
25" Map depiction

Source: Historic England

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