Ancient Monuments

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Seven bowl barrows and a pond barrow forming a round barrow cemetery 200m north of The Diamond on Wilsford Down

A Scheduled Monument in Winterbourne Stoke, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.1695 / 51°10'10"N

Longitude: -1.8507 / 1°51'2"W

OS Eastings: 410536.499266

OS Northings: 141146.231921

OS Grid: SU105411

Mapcode National: GBR 3YP.LXP

Mapcode Global: VHB59.VVZV

Entry Name: Seven bowl barrows and a pond barrow forming a round barrow cemetery 200m north of The Diamond on Wilsford Down

Scheduled Date: 23 June 1925

Last Amended: 21 March 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010834

English Heritage Legacy ID: 10480

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Winterbourne Stoke

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 seven levelled bowl barrows and a pond barrow forming a
round barrow cemetery 200m north of The Diamond on Wilsford Down. The location
is on the edge of a plateau overlooking Normanton Down to the east.
The bowl barrows are now difficult to identify on the ground, with only one
being visible as a slight earthwork, but all are visible on aerial
photographs. All were surrounded by ditches, from which material was quarried
during their construction, and have overall diameters ranging from 8m to 25m.
Partial excavation in the 19th century revealed that most contained simple
cremations, and two contained urn fragments.
The pond barrow is the most southerly barrow and is visible as a slight
depression c.12m in diameter. Aerial photographs indicate that it was
surrounded by a bank c.3m wide giving an overall diameter of c.18m.

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.

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.

Pond barrows are ceremonial or funerary monuments of the Early to Middle
Bronze Age, with most examples dating to between 1500 and 1000 BC. The term
`barrow' is something of a misnomer as, rather than a mound, they were
constructed as regular circular depressions with an embanked rim and
occasionally an outer ditch or entrance through the bank. They occur either
in isolation or within round barrow cemeteries. Pond barrows are the rarest
form of round barrow with about 60 examples recorded nationally and a
distribution largely confined to Wiltshire and Dorset, many of which are in
the Stonehenge area. As few examples have been excavated, they have a
particlularly high value for future study. Due to their rarity, all
identified pond barrows will normally be considered to be of national

Despite most having been levelled by cultivation, the seven bowl barrows and
pond barrow forming a round barrow cemetery 200m north of The Diamond on
Wilsford Down are known from partial excavation to contain archaeological
remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape
in which it was constructed. Aerial photographs have shown that the ditch
fills survive undisturbed, while deposits located on the Bronze Age ground
surface will survive beneath the area disturbed by cultivation.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 197
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 197
Hoare, R C, Ancient History of Wiltshire, (1812), 206

Source: Historic England

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