Ancient Monuments

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Bowl barrow and a disc barrow in Normanton Gorse, forming part of the Normanton Down round barrow cemetery

A Scheduled Monument in Wilsford cum Lake, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.172 / 51°10'19"N

Longitude: -1.8384 / 1°50'18"W

OS Eastings: 411395.988809

OS Northings: 141424.989489

OS Grid: SU113414

Mapcode National: GBR 3YP.J1H

Mapcode Global: VHB5B.2SZY

Entry Name: Bowl barrow and a disc barrow in Normanton Gorse, forming part of the Normanton Down round barrow cemetery

Scheduled Date: 10 March 1925

Last Amended: 3 April 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009617

English Heritage Legacy ID: 10316

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 two round barrows forming part of the Normanton Down
round barrow cemetery, situated in Normanton Gorse. Prior to the establishment
of the plantation the location had 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. This
monument includes one of the bowl barrows and one of the disc barrows.
The mound of the disc barrow is 10m in diameter and 0.4m high. It is
surrounded by a berm 19m wide, a ditch 5m wide and 0.5m deep and an outer
bank 4m wide and 0.6m high, giving an overall diameter of 66m. Located 25m to
the north east is a bowl barrow. Its mound is now difficult to identify on the
ground but is represented on the OS 25inch map of 1901 from which it is
calculated to be 26m in diameter. It is surrounded by a ditch which is also
difficult to identify, but is calculated to be c.2.5m wide, giving an overall
diameter of 31m. Partial excavation of both barrows in the 19th century
revealed that the disc barrow had been previously opened and that the bowl
barrow contained a primary cremation, a bone pin and fragments of an incense

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.

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.

The disc barrow and bowl barrow in Normanton Gorse form an integral part of
the Normanton Down round barrow cemetery, which is an outstanding example of
its class. Partial excavation has shown that these two barrows 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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