Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Bank Top oval barrow

A Scheduled Monument in Bradbourne, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.0623 / 53°3'44"N

Longitude: -1.6789 / 1°40'44"W

OS Eastings: 421614.705917

OS Northings: 351725.213644

OS Grid: SK216517

Mapcode National: GBR 59Q.2C1

Mapcode Global: WHCF0.59S5

Entry Name: Bank Top oval barrow

Scheduled Date: 21 December 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008937

English Heritage Legacy ID: 13340

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Bradbourne

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Kniveton St Michael and All Angels

Church of England Diocese: Derby


Bank Top oval barrow is situated c.50m south of Bank Top bowl barrow in the
southern fringes of the limestone plateau of Derbyshire. The monument
includes a mound, slightly elliptical in shape, orientated west to east and
measuring 15m x 6m x between c.0.3 and c.0.5m high. Highest at the western
end, the monument tails away downslope to the east. A slight depression in
the top of the mound suggests that a small-scale archaeological exploration
has been made in the past but there is no recorded excavation. The overall
appearance and dimensions of the monument, and its location below the crest of
a hill, indicate that it is a Neolithic burial mound of the type known as an
oval barrow. Excluded from the scheduling is the field wall crossing the top
of the mound but the ground underneath is included.

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

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, flintwork 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 nationally

Bank Top oval barrow is a small but well preserved example which has suffered
only minimal disturbance and will therefore contain largely intact
archaeological remains.

Source: Historic England


PRN 2026, Wildgoose, Martin, Bank Top Farm Barrow, (1986)

Source: Historic England

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