Ancient Monuments

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Two bowl barrows: part of the round barrow cemetery on Therfield Heath

A Scheduled Monument in Royston, Hertfordshire

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Latitude: 52.0427 / 52°2'33"N

Longitude: -0.0368 / 0°2'12"W

OS Eastings: 534743.330334

OS Northings: 240071.811389

OS Grid: TL347400

Mapcode National: GBR K7P.X39

Mapcode Global: VHGNB.9XXG

Entry Name: Two bowl barrows: part of the round barrow cemetery on Therfield Heath

Scheduled Date: 10 August 1923

Last Amended: 16 July 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010432

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20631

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 two bowl barrows situated on Therfie1d Heath. They
represent outliers to a wider round barrow cemetery and are located about 500m
ESE of a Neolithic long barrow. The eastern-most barrow comprises a
hemispherical earth mound measuring 20m in diameter and c.2.5m in height.
Approximately 25m west of this is another barrow mound which measures 20m in
diameter and c.2m in height. On the summit of this barrow are the concrete
footings of a park bench. Both barrows were partially excavated in 1855 by
E B Nunn and the more westerly of the two was found to contain a cremation in
a wooden structure. Although no longer visible at ground level, ditches, from
which material was quarried during the construction of the mounds, surround
each barrow. These have become infilled over the years but survive as buried
features c.2m wide. The ground between the two barrows is included in the
scheduling as it is considered likely to retain evidence for flat burials and
contemporary settlement. The concrete footings of the bench are excluded from
the scheduling although the ground beneath 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

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. Despite evidence for partial excavation these two
bowl barrows survive in good condition providing archaeological information on
the development of the cemetery and environmental evidence relating to the
landscape in which it was constructed.

Source: Historic England

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