Ancient Monuments

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Disc barrow forming part of the Normanton Down round barrow cemetery

A Scheduled Monument in Wilsford cum Lake, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.1695 / 51°10'10"N

Longitude: -1.8235 / 1°49'24"W

OS Eastings: 412433.035622

OS Northings: 141152.27673

OS Grid: SU124411

Mapcode National: GBR 501.MS9

Mapcode Global: VHB5B.BVTV

Entry Name: Disc barrow forming part of the Normanton Down round barrow cemetery

Scheduled Date: 17 March 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009615

English Heritage Legacy ID: 10471

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


The monument includes a disc barrow, forming an outlier to the Normanton Down
round barrow cemetery. 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. Near the centre of the cemetery is a Neolithic long barrow.
The disc barrow is now difficult to identify on the ground, having been
levelled by cultivation, although the inner slope of its outer bank is visible
as a slight earthwork c.0.3m high. It is, however, represented on a 19th
century plan, from which it is calculated that the mound is c.15m in diameter
and was surrounded by a berm c.12m wide. Aerial photographs reveal that the
berm is surrounded by a ditch and outer bank each c.4m wide, giving an overall
diameter of c.55m. Partial excavation in the 19th century revealed that the
mound had been opened previously.
All fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath these
features 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

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.

Disc barrows 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. Disc barrows are rare nationally with only 250
examples known, of which 29 are located within the Stonehenge area.
The disc barrow on Normanton Down forms an integral part of the Normanton Down
round barrow cemetery, which is an outstanding example of its class. Despite
levelling by cultivation and partial excavation the barrow will contain
archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and
the landscape in which it was constructed.

Source: Historic England

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