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Long barrow and 18 round barrows, forming the greater part of Normanton Down round barrow cemetery

A Scheduled Monument in Wilsford cum Lake, Wiltshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.1703 / 51°10'13"N

Longitude: -1.8296 / 1°49'46"W

OS Eastings: 412006.77444

OS Northings: 141240.366859

OS Grid: SU120412

Mapcode National: GBR 501.D8N

Mapcode Global: VHB5B.7VL7

Entry Name: Long barrow and 18 round barrows, forming the greater part of Normanton Down round barrow cemetery

Scheduled Date: 10 March 1925

Last Amended: 3 April 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009614

English Heritage Legacy ID: 10470

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Wilsford cum Lake

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: Woodford Valley with Archers Gate

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury

Details

The monument includes a long barrow and 18 round barrows, forming the greater
part of the Normanton Down round barrow cemetery, situated on Normanton Down.
The location has extensive views to the south across Wilsford Down, and to the
north across Stonehenge and the Cursus. The Normanton Down round barrow
cemetery consists of 28 round barrows in all, including 17 bowl barrows, seven
disc barrows, three bell barrows and a saucer barrow. The Neolithic long
barrow is located near the centre of the cemetery. This monument includes the
long barrow, 11 of the bowl barrows, three of the disc barrows, three of the
bell barrows and the saucer barrow.

At the western end of the monument are two adjoining bowl barrows, the mounds
1.75m and 3m high; each barrow is 38m in overall diameter. A third bowl barrow
30m to the east is now difficult to identify on the ground but from field
observations is known to have an overall diameter of 21m. A bell barrow
located 50m north of the bowl barrows has an overall diameter of 40m and a
mound 2.75m high; 15m to the east of this is a bowl barrow 1m high with an
overall diameter of 22m.

The long barrow is situated 35m to the south east. The barrow mound is 16m in
length, 8m wide and 1m high. It is flanked on its east and west sides by
ditches from which material was quarried during its construction. The western
ditch is no longer visible on the ground, but the eastern ditch is visible as
a slight earthwork 4m wide and 0.5m deep. Representation on the OS 25inch map
of 1972 indicates that the ditches partially surround the north and south ends
of the mound. The overall size of the long barrow is therefore 24m north-south
and 16m east-west.

East of the long barrow are three round barrows forming a north-south
alignment. At the northern end is a bowl barrow with an overall diameter of 9m
and a mound 0.25m high. In the centre is a bowl barrow with an overall
diameter of 42m and a mound 3m high. This barrow overlaps a disc barrow
forming the southern end of the alignment. The disc barrow has a mound 10m in
diameter, surrounded by a berm, ditch and outer bank, giving an overall
diameter of 64m. To the north east, between the disc barrow and a north-south
track is a bowl barrow. This has an overall diameter of 12m and a mound 0.4m
high.

East of the track are eight barrows aligned WNW-ESE along the crest of a
ridge. The most westerly is a twin bell barrow 62m in overall length and 42m
wide. The ditch which surrounds it is confluent with the ditch of a bell
barrow to the east. This has an overall diameter of 59m and a mound 3m high.
On the east side its ditch overlaps that of a bowl barrow, which has an
overall diameter of 30m and a mound 0.7m high. Another bowl barrow lies 30m to
the east. This has an overall diameter of 38m and a mound 1.1m high. Some 10m
further east is the first of two disc barrows. These have overall diameters of
45m and 41m and central mounds 9m and 7m in diameter respectively. The outer
bank of the eastern disc barrow overlaps the outer bank of a saucer barrow.
This has an overall diameter of 41m and its mound is 0.3m high. East of the
saucer barrow is a bowl barrow which forms the eastern end of the alignment.
It has an overall diameter of 31m and a mound 1m high. To the south of the
saucer barrow is another bowl barrow, also 31m in overall diameter but with a
mound 2.6m high.

The bell barrows and bowl barrows are all surrounded by ditches, from which
material was quarried during their construction. These are mostly visible as
earthworks ranging in width from 4m to 8m and c.0.75m deep. The ditches
surrounding five of the bowl barrows are now difficult to identify on the
ground, having become infilled over the years, but are calculated to range
from 1m to 3m in width. The mounds of the three disc barrows are surrounded by
berms ranging from 8m to 16m in width. Surrounding the berms are ditches
ranging from 5m to 6m in width and 0.3m to 0.5m in depth, and outer banks 4m
to 5m wide and 0.3m to 0.5m high.

All of the round barrows have been the subject of partial excavation in the
18th and 19th centuries. Most have revealed evidence of burial, both
cremations and inhumations having been found. A variety of grave goods
accompanied the burials, including pottery vessels, bronze daggers and amber
beads. Objects of gold were recovered from the westernmost bell barrow.

All fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath these
features is included. The north-south track which crosses the western edge of
the twin bell barrow is included in the scheduling.

MAP EXTRACT
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 Bronze Age periods.
Two of the best known and earliest recognised areas are around Avebury and
Stonehenge, now jointly designated as a World Heritage Site.
The area of chalk downland which surrounds Stonehenge contains one of the
densest and most varied groups of Neolithic and Bronze Age field monuments in
Britain. Included within the area are Stonehenge itself, the Stonehenge
cursus, the Durrington Walls henge, and a variety of burial monuments, many
grouped into cemeteries.
The area has been the subject of archaeological research since the 18th
century when Stukeley recorded many of the monuments and partially excavated a
number of the burial mounds. More recently, the collection of artefacts from
the surfaces of ploughed fields has supplemented the evidence for ritual and
burial by revealing the intensity of contemporary settlement and land-use. In
view of the importance of the area, all ceremonial and sepulchral monuments of
this period which retain significant archaeological remains are identified as
nationally important.
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 Avebury. Often occupying prominent positions, 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.

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments
dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age. They were
constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, normally ditched, which covered
single or multiple burials. Often superficially similar, although differing
widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form and a variety of
burial practices. The burials, either inhumations or cremations, are sometimes
accompanied by pottery vessels, tools and personal ornaments. There are over
10,000 surviving bowl barrows recorded nationally and at least 320 in the
Stonehenge area. Saucer barrows are one of the rarest recognised forms of
round barrow, with about 60 examples nationally, at least ten of which are
known from the Stonehenge area.

Disc barrows and bell barrows, the most visually impressive form of round
barrow, are funerary monuments dating from 1600-1200 BC. They occur either
in isolation or in round barrow cemeteries. Disc barrows were constructed as
a circular or oval area of level ground defined by a bank and internal ditch
and containing one or more central or eccentrically located small, low
mounds, covering burials, usually in pits. The burials are normally
cremations and are frequently accompanied by pottery vessels, tools and
personal ornaments. The bell barrows were constructed as single or multiple
mounds covering burials often in pits and surrounded by an enclosure ditch.
The burials in bell barrows appear to be those of aristocratic individuals
and are also frequently accompanied by weapons, personal ornaments and
pottery vessels. Both types of barrow are rare nationally with only 250
examples of disc barrow known of which 29 are located within the Stonehenge
area, and 250 examples of bell barrow known nationally of which 30 are located
within the Stonehenge area.

In the centre of the monument is a long barrow, one of at least nine which
survive in the Stonehenge area. Long barrows were constructed as earthen or
drystone mounds often with flanking ditches and acted as funerary monuments
during the Early and Middle Neolithic periods (3400-2400 BC). They 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, long barrows appear to have been used for communal burial,
often with only parts of the human remains having been selected for interment.
Certain sites provide evidence for several phases of funerary monument
preceding the barrow and it is probable that long barrows acted as important
ritual sites for local communities over a considerable period of time. Some
500 long barrows are recorded in England.

The Normanton Down round barrow cemetery, together with its associated long
barrow, survives as an outstanding example of its class, exhibiting fine
examples of all the major barrow types. Partial excavation has shown that the
barrows forming this monument, the greater part of the cemetery, contain
archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and
the landscape in which it was constructed.

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments

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