Ancient Monuments

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Bowl barrow: part of the round barrow cemetery on Therfield Heath

A Scheduled Monument in Royston, Hertfordshire

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Latitude: 52.0446 / 52°2'40"N

Longitude: -0.0448 / 0°2'41"W

OS Eastings: 534188.782224

OS Northings: 240274.709532

OS Grid: TL341402

Mapcode National: GBR K7P.TR7

Mapcode Global: VHGNB.5VPY

Entry Name: Bowl barrow: part of the round barrow cemetery on Therfield Heath

Scheduled Date: 14 July 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009757

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20641

County: Hertfordshire

Civil Parish: Royston

Built-Up Area: Royston

Traditional County: Hertfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Hertfordshire

Church of England Parish: Therfield

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans


The monument includes a bowl barrow forming part of the round barrow cemetery
situated on Therfield Heath on a spur of the Chiltern Hills. This bowl barrow
lies about 50m east of the main group of barrows which form the focus of the
cemetery. It includes a hemispherical earth mound 27m in diameter and c.0.4m
in height. Although no longer visible at ground level, a ditch, from which
material was quarried during the construction of the monument, surrounds the
barrow mound. This has become infilled over the years but survives as a
buried feature c.2m wide. The barrow was partially excavated by E B Nunn in
1855 and was found to contain a cremation burial.

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

Round barrow cemeteries date to the Bronze Age (c.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, occasionally associated with earlier
long barrows. Where large scale investigation has been undertaken around them,
contemporary or later "flat" burials between the barrow mounds have often been
revealed. Round barrow cemeteries occur across most of lowland Britain, with a
marked concentration in Wessex. In some cases, they are clustered around other
important contemporary monuments such as henges. Often occupying prominent
locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape, whilst
their diversity and their longevity as a monument type provide important
information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst early
prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period
and a substantial proportion of surviving or partly-surviving examples are
considered worthy of protection.

The round barrow cemetery on Therfield Heath is the largest known example of
its type in Hertfordshire, and is unusual in that it includes an example of a
rarer barrow type known as a bell barrow. Despite evidence for partial
excavation this bowl barrow retains archaeological evidence and environmental
remains relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was

Source: Historic England


NAR No TL 63 SE 9, Information from NAR,

Source: Historic England

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