Ancient Monuments

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Two bowl barrows in Spratt's Plantation.

A Scheduled Monument in Martlesham, Suffolk

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Latitude: 52.0606 / 52°3'38"N

Longitude: 1.2887 / 1°17'19"E

OS Eastings: 625541.380063

OS Northings: 245350.235444

OS Grid: TM255453

Mapcode National: GBR VP6.W2L

Mapcode Global: VHLBW.9G5P

Entry Name: Two bowl barrows in Spratt's Plantation.

Scheduled Date: 14 December 1960

Last Amended: 12 May 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008731

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21268

County: Suffolk

Civil Parish: Martlesham

Built-Up Area: Kesgrave

Traditional County: Suffolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Suffolk

Church of England Parish: Martlesham St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: St.Edmundsbury and Ipswich


The monument includes two bowl barrows situated in the south eastern corner
of a plantation on the east side of Martlesham Heath. The barrows are
approximately 33m apart in an east-west alignment and each is visible as an
earthen mound encircled by a ditch. The mound of the eastern barrow stands to
a maximum height of 1.84m and covers a circular area approximately 25m in
diameter. On its surface is a slight, linear hollow, marking the site of a
trench dug from the western side towards the centre during World War II. A
limited excavation, carried out in 1974, established that this trench was not
deep enough to have penetrated the base of the mound or the surface which
underlies it. The mound itself was not investigated but three sherds of
pottery were found, including one of prehistoric type. The surrounding
ditch, from which earth was dug and used during construction of the mound, has
become largely filled but it is still visible on the western side of the
mound as a slight depression in the ground surface, approximately 3m wide and
0.1m deep. The mound of the western barrow stands to a maximum height of
1.4m and covers a circular area approximately 19m in diameter. Parts of the
southern and western sides have been dug away, leaving an irregular profile in
all except the north eastern quadrant. The surrounding ditch is visible on
the eastern side of the mound as a slight hollow in the ground surface,
approximately 3m wide and 0.15m deep. Excavation of the sites of two
adjacent barrows, which no longer survive as visible monuments, discovered
extensive evidence of Early Bronze Age occupation on the soil surfaces which
had been preserved beneath their mounds.

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

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

The greater part of the western of the two bowl barrows in Spratt's Plantation
survives well. Investigation of the wartime trench dug into the mound has
demonstrated that the scale of this disturbance is small in relation to the
monument as a whole and has not affected the base of the mound or the surface
beneath it. Approximately half of the eastern mound also survives, with the
whole of the encircling ditch. Evidence of the construction of the barrows
and of the manner and duration of their use, as well as of the local
environment at that time, will be contained in the mounds, in the soils
preserved beneath them, and in the fill of the surrounding ditches. The two
barrows originally formed part of a cluster of four and are within a much
larger group of barrows, others of which survive as visible monuments on and
around Martlesham Heath; together these will provide evidence of the nature
and extent of Bronze Age activities in the area.

Source: Historic England


1974, Martin, A, The Excavation of Barrows II, III and IV, Martlesham Heath, 1974, (1974)

Source: Historic England

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