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Ten bowl barrows, five disc barrows, a bell barrow, a pond barrow and a saucer barrow forming the Wilsford round barrow cemetery

A Scheduled Monument in Wilsford cum Lake, Wiltshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.1572 / 51°9'26"N

Longitude: -1.8309 / 1°49'51"W

OS Eastings: 411921.788048

OS Northings: 139790.029239

OS Grid: SU119397

Mapcode National: GBR 3YW.CXG

Mapcode Global: VHB5J.65YP

Entry Name: Ten bowl barrows, five disc barrows, a bell barrow, a pond barrow and a saucer barrow forming the Wilsford round barrow cemetery

Scheduled Date: 23 June 1925

Last Amended: 1 March 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010874

English Heritage Legacy ID: 10356

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Wilsford cum Lake

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: Woodford Valley with Archers Gate

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury

Details

The monument includes 18 round barrows forming the Wilsford round barrow
cemetery, a cemetery aligned broadly east-west and occupying an east facing
slope north of Westfield Farm with views eastwards across the Avon valley and
northwards towards Normanton Down and Coneybury Hill. The cemetery consists of
ten bowl barrows, five disc barrows, a bell barrow, a pond barrow and a saucer
barrow.
The bell barrow forms the western end of the cemetery, and has a mound 20m in
diameter and 2m high, surrounded by a raised berm 5m wide and a ditch 6m wide
by 0.75m deep, giving an overall diameter of 42m. Partial excavation in the
19th century revealed a primary cremation with various objects including a
battle axe and a flanged axe.
The saucer barrow is located c.60m north of the mid-point of the cemetery, and
has a mound c.17m in diameter and 0.4m high, surrounded by a ditch c.2m wide
which has become infilled over the years. It is surrounded by an outer bank
which is now difficult to detect, but the barrow is visible on aerial
photographs, from which its overall diameter including the outer bank is
calculated to be c.30m.
South of the saucer barrow is a pond barrow, close to the mid-point of the
cemetery. It has a central depression c.18m in diameter and c.0.75m deep,
surrounded by an outer bank c.4m wide and 0.5m high, giving an overall
diameter of 26m.
The disc barrow forming the southern boundary of the monument has a mound 10m
in diameter and 0.75m high, surrounded by a berm 10m wide, a ditch 5m wide by
0.2m deep and an outer bank 4m wide by 0.4m high. The other four disc barrows
are now difficult to identify on the ground, but all are represented on
Ordnance Survey maps and aerial photographs, and their overall diameters are
known to range from 40m to 70m. Three of the disc barrows form the
north eastern section of the cemetery, and survive as slight earthworks. From
aerial photographs it is clear that their outer banks are confluent. All five
were partially excavated in the 19th century, and three produced primary
cremations.
The ten bowl barrows have mounds that range in diameter from 13m to 42m. The
bowl barrow that forms the most north easterly member of the cemetery is now
difficult to identify, but the mounds of the others are visible and range in
height from 0.3m to 2.1m. All are surrounded by ditches, from which material
was quarried during their construction. These have become infilled over the
years, and survive mostly as buried features but are visible as slight
earthworks in three examples. The ditches range in width from 1m to 6m. All
ten bowl barrows were partially excavated in the 19th century and most
revealed burials, both inhumations and cremations, accompanied by a variety of
objects including bronze tools and weapons, and pottery vessels.
All fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath these
features is included. The north-south track which crosses part of the eastern
section of the monument is included in the scheduling.

MAP EXTRACT
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.

All types of round barrow are present within this monument. All are funerary
monuments, and all types can occur either in isolation or as in this case, in
cemeteries.
Bell barrows, the most visually impressive form of round barrow date from
1600-1200 BC. They were constructed as single or multiple mounds
covering burials often in pits and surrounded by an enclosure ditch. The
burials in bell barrows appear to be those of aristocratic individuals and
are also frequently accompanied by weapons, personal ornaments and pottery
vessels. Bell barrows are rare nationally with only 250 examples known, of
which 30 are located within the Stonehenge area.
Saucer barrows date from the Early Bronze Age. They were constructed as a
circular area of level ground defined by a bank and internal ditch and largely
occupied by a single low, squat mound covering one or more burials, usually in
a pit. The burials, either inhumations or cremations, are sometimes
accompanied by pottery vessels, tools and personal ornaments. Saucer barrows
are one of the rarest recognised forms of round barrow, with about 60 examples
nationally, most of which are in Wessex. Ten examples are known from the
Stonehenge area.
Pond barrows are ceremonial or funerary monuments of the Early to Middle
Bronze Age, 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 an entrance through the bank. 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
particularly high value for future study. Due to their rarity, all identified
pond barrows will normally be considered to be of national importance.
Disc barrows date from 1600-1200 BC. They were constructed as a circular or
oval area of level ground defined by a bank and internal ditch and containing
one or more central or eccentrically located small, low mounds, covering
burials, usually in pits. The burials are normally cremations and are
frequently accompanied by pottery vessels, tools and personal ornaments. Disc
barrows are rare nationally with only 250 examples known, of which 29
are located within the Stonehenge area.
Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, date 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 around 260 in the Stonehenge area.
The Wilsford round barrow cemetery survives as an outstanding example of its
class, exhibiting fine examples of all the major barrow types. Partial
excavation has shown that the barrows forming the cemetery contain
archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument
and the landscape in which it was constructed. Despite the levelling of five
of the barrows by cultivation, 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

Sources

Books and journals
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 211-212
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 199
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 199
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 199
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 199
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 225
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 199
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 220
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 199
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 220
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 199
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 199
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 224
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 220
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 220
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 220
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 199
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 199
Hoare, R C, Ancient History of Wiltshire, (1812), 209
Hoare, R C, Ancient History of Wiltshire, (1812), 208
Hoare, R C, Ancient History of Wiltshire, (1812), 206
Hoare, R C, Ancient History of Wiltshire, (1812), 207
'Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine.' in , , Vol. 55, (), 30

Source: Historic England

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