Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Round barrow forming part of the Fox Covert round barrow cemetery on West Down

A Scheduled Monument in Bishops Cannings, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.4164 / 51°24'58"N

Longitude: -1.8929 / 1°53'34"W

OS Eastings: 407544.553801

OS Northings: 168598.482072

OS Grid: SU075685

Mapcode National: GBR 3VQ.28H

Mapcode Global: VHB44.4NNL

Entry Name: Round barrow forming part of the Fox Covert round barrow cemetery on West Down

Scheduled Date: 4 February 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008285

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21753

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Bishops Cannings

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire


The monument includes a round barrow which forms part of the Fox Covert round
barrow cemetry on West Down.
The barrow has been levelled by cultivation and is no longer visible at ground
level. However, it survives within and buried beneath the modern ploughsoil
as a circular chalk spread with a diameter of 17m, visible on aerial
photographs. This spread represents the remains of the mound which was
originally 12m across and which now covers the surrounding quarry ditch, from
which material was obtained for the monument's construction. The ditch
survives below the spread with a width of c.2.5m.

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 and ritual
monuments in the country. Round barrow cemeteries date to the Bronze Age
(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 and occasionally associated
with earlier long barrows. Where investigation beyond the round barrows has
occurred, contemporary or later `flat' burials between the barrow mounds have
often been revealed. Round barrow cemeteries occur across most of lowland
England with a marked concentration in Wessex. In some cases they are
clustered around other important contemporary monuments, as is the case both
here and at Stonehenge. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major
historic element in the modern landscape, while their diversity and their
longevity as a monument type provide important information on the variety of
beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. All
examples are considered worthy of protection.

Despite having been reduced by cultivation, this barrow survives as a buried
feature forming an integral part of a nationally important Bronze Age round
barrow cemetery, and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence
relating to its construction and the landscape in which it was built.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Colt Hoare, R, History of Ancient Wiltshire: Volume II, (1821)
Grinsell, L V, 'A History Of Wiltshire' in A History Of Wiltshire, , Vol. 1 pt 1, (1885)
SU 06 NE 58, RCHME, (1973)
Title: Barrows On West Down
Source Date: 1956
6 inch hand annotated
Title: Circular Spread Of Chalk & Round Barrow Shown On Hoare's Map
Source Date: 1989
SU06NE644 & 645

Source: Historic England

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