Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Long barrow on Smay Down, 300m east of The Hassock

A Scheduled Monument in Shalbourne, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.3315 / 51°19'53"N

Longitude: -1.5561 / 1°33'21"W

OS Eastings: 431025.341917

OS Northings: 159248.537742

OS Grid: SU310592

Mapcode National: GBR 5ZS.HDG

Mapcode Global: VHC24.ZS7N

Entry Name: Long barrow on Smay Down, 300m east of The Hassock

Scheduled Date: 3 April 1925

Last Amended: 14 February 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010467

English Heritage Legacy ID: 12308

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Shalbourne

Traditional County: Berkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire


The monument includes a long barrow set on a gentle south-facing slope in an
area of undulating chalk downland. It survives as a low earthwork orientated
NW-SE and is rectangular in plan. The barrow mound is 60m long, 28m wide and
stands to a height of 0.6m. Flanking ditches, from which material was
quarried during the construction of the monument, run parallel to the NE and
SW sides of the mound. These have become infilled over the years although the
ditch to the NE of the mound remains visible as a slight earthwork while that
to the SW survives as a buried feature. Both are c.3m wide.
The track surface which crosses the south end of the barrow mound is excluded
from the scheduling, though 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

Long barrows were constructed as earthen or drystone mounds 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,
consequently, 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. As one of the few types of Neolithic
structure to survive as earthworks, and due to their comparative rarity, their
considerable age and their longevity as a monument type, all long barrows are
considered to be nationally important.

The 180 long barrows of Hampshire, Wiltshire and Dorset form the densest and
one of the most significant concentrations of monuments of this type in the
country. The Smay Down barrow is important as, despite cultivation, it
survives comparatively well and has potential for the recovery of
archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the landscape in
which the monument was constructed.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
'Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine' in Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine, , Vol. 49, (1958)

Source: Historic England

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