Ancient Monuments

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Three bell barrows 300m north-east of New Barn, Earl's Farm Down

A Scheduled Monument in Amesbury, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.1801 / 51°10'48"N

Longitude: -1.7502 / 1°45'0"W

OS Eastings: 417558.345432

OS Northings: 142344.984736

OS Grid: SU175423

Mapcode National: GBR 4ZY.VQX

Mapcode Global: VHB5C.ML3Q

Entry Name: Three bell barrows 300m north-east of New Barn, Earl's Farm Down

Scheduled Date: 25 February 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009572

English Heritage Legacy ID: 12202

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Amesbury

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: Amesbury St Mary and St Melor

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes three bell barrows, aligned north-south, and set
on a gentle south-facing slope in an area of undulating chalk downland.
The northern barrow mound is 37m in diameter and 2m high. The central
mound is 10m south of the northern mound. It is 38m in diameter and 2m
high. To the south of, and contiguous to, the central mound is a third
barrow 27m across and 1m high. The two contiguous barrow mounds measure
c.45m from north to south. All three barrow mounds have been reduced by
cultivation and the berms and outer banks are no longer visible at
ground level. Air photographs suggest that all three mounds are
surrounded by a single ditch. This is visible at ground level as a dark
soil mark, c.5m wide.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Bell barrows, the most visually impressive form of round barrow, are
funerary monuments dating to the early and middle Bronze Age, with most
examples belonging to the period 1600-1300 BC. They occur either in
isolation or in round barrow cemeteries and were constructed as single
or multiple mounds covering burials, often in pits, and surrounded by
an enclosure ditch. The burials are frequently accompanied by weapons,
personal ornaments and pottery and appear to be those of aristocratic
individuals, usually men. Bell barrows (particularly multiple barrows)
are rare nationally, with less than 250 known examples, most of which
are in Wessex. Their richness in terms of grave goods provides
evidence for chronological and cultural links amongst early prehistoric
communities over most of southern and eastern England, as well as
providing an insight into their beliefs and social organisation. As a
particularly rare form of round barrow, all identified bell barrows
would normally be considered to be of national importance.

The Earl's Farm Down bell barrows survive particularly well and, as
there is no evidence of formal excavation on the site, have
considerable archaeological potential. The importance of the site is
further enhanced by its incorporation within a barrow cemetery. Such
cemeteries provide valuable information on the variety of beliefs and
social organisation amongst Bronze Age communities. Individual barrows
within such cemeteries are central to their interpretation and
therefore of considerable importance.

Source: Historic England

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