Ancient Monuments

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Bell barrow 25m east of Finger Post Plantation: part of Great Bircham barrow group

A Scheduled Monument in Bircham, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.8518 / 52°51'6"N

Longitude: 0.6343 / 0°38'3"E

OS Eastings: 577475.813261

OS Northings: 331501.265636

OS Grid: TF774315

Mapcode National: GBR Q5J.C4G

Mapcode Global: WHKPW.QL74

Entry Name: Bell barrow 25m east of Finger Post Plantation: part of Great Bircham barrow group

Scheduled Date: 12 April 1926

Last Amended: 27 January 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010562

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21349

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: Bircham

Built-Up Area: Great Bircham

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: The Birchams and Bagthorpe

Church of England Diocese: Norwich


The monument includes a bell barrow located on a slight, south west facing
slope on what was formerly heathland. The site is near the western edge of
the Good Sands region of upland north west Norfolk. The barrow is visible as
an earthen mound which stands to a height of c.1.7m and covers a circular area
c.27m in diameter, surrounded by a sloping berm c.3.5m wide and a ditch up to
4m wide. The ditch, from which earth was dug and used in the construction of
the mound, has become largely infilled but survives as a buried feature,
marked by a slight hollow, c.0.25m deep, in the ground surface. The mound was
investigated in 1842 by F C Lukis and others who dug a square shaft down to
the buried ground surface beneath the mound and recovered a fragment of
prehistoric pottery.
The posts of a fence around the central mound are excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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

Bell barrows, the most visually impressive form of round barrow, are funerary
monuments dating to the Early and Middle Bronze Age, with most examples
belonging to the period 1500-1100 BC. They occur either in isolation or in
round barrow cemeteries and were constructed as single or multiple mounds
covering burials, often in pits, and surrounded by an enclosure ditch. The
burials are frequently accompanied by weapons, personal ornaments and pottery
and appear to be those of aristocratic individuals, usually men. Bell barrows
(particularly multiple barrows) are rare nationally, with less than 250 known
examples, most of which are in Wessex. Their richness in terms of grave goods
provides evidence for chronological and cultural links amongst early
prehistoric communities over most of southern and eastern England as well as
providing an insight into their beliefs and social organisation. As a
particularly rare form of round barrow, all identified bell barrows would
normally be considered to be of national importance.

The bell barrow east of Finger Post Plantation survives well. The antiquarian
excavation into the mound was limited in extent in relation to the monument as
a whole and archaeological information concerning the construction of the
barrow and the manner and duration of its use, as well as evidence for the
local environment at that time, will be retained in the mound, in the buried
soils beneath the mound and in the fill of the ditch. The barrow is the most
northerly of a group of four, including another bell barrow, which survive as
upstanding earthworks within a distance of 700m, and has additional interest
and importance in that context.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Lukis, F C, A Brief Account of the Barrows near Bircham Magna, Norfolk, (1843)
1705: West Norfolk, Bircham,

Source: Historic England

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