Ancient Monuments

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Bowl barrow and pill box 450m north west of Sheep Drift Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Martlesham, Suffolk

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Latitude: 52.0541 / 52°3'14"N

Longitude: 1.2797 / 1°16'46"E

OS Eastings: 624952.801141

OS Northings: 244596.339791

OS Grid: TM249445

Mapcode National: GBR VPD.0D0

Mapcode Global: VHLBW.4MCQ

Entry Name: Bowl barrow and pill box 450m north west of Sheep Drift Farm

Scheduled Date: 14 December 1960

Last Amended: 12 May 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008730

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21267

County: Suffolk

Civil Parish: Martlesham

Built-Up Area: Kesgrave

Traditional County: Suffolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Suffolk

Church of England Parish: Brightwell St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: St.Edmundsbury and Ipswich


The monument includes a bowl barrow and a superimposed World War II pill box
with associated trenches. It is situated immediately to the south east of
what was formerly Martlesham Heath Airfield. The barrow is visible as an
earthen mound which survives to a maximum height of 1.7m. The mound is now
incomplete, but is known originally to have covered an area approximately 17m
in diameter. On it is a hexagonal pill box, constructed of brick and concrete
and occupying an area of approximately 10 square metres, and around this are
the remains of a gun emplacement and slit trenches with brick retaining walls.
A survey and limited excavation were carried out on the site in July 1991,
in order to ascertain the extent of surviving archaeological deposits in the
barrow. This showed that the mound survives to a height of approximately
0.9m beneath the floor of the pill box and that, even in areas which have
been substantially levelled, parts of the base of the mound and underlying
soils remain intact. One sherd of Bronze Age pottery was found in the yellow
sand of which the mound is composed.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 4 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

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

Evaluation has shown that the barrow 450m north west of Sheep Drift Farm
retains important archaeological information, despite the construction on it
of a pill box and associated military trenches and the removal of material
from the west, north and eastern sides of the mound. Evidence of the
construction of the barrow, of the manner and duration of its use, and of the
environment, at and prior to the time of its construction, will be contained
in the mound and in the soils preserved beneath it. The barrow is one of a
large group recorded on and around Martlesham Heath, including five within a
radius of 6O0m, and together these will provide evidence of the nature and
extent of Bronze Age activities in the area.
The pill box is well-preserved and of importance as an example of military
works constructed in the area during World War II. The use of a prehistoric
barrow for this purpose is also of interest.

Source: Historic England


SMR No 94c; Typescript in SMR file, Martin E, Round Barrow at Brightwell, Suffolk. SMR No BGL 008; SAM 94c, (1991)

Source: Historic England

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