Ancient Monuments

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A cross dyke and bowl barrow on the northern spur of Beacon Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Burghclere, Hampshire

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Latitude: 51.316 / 51°18'57"N

Longitude: -1.3472 / 1°20'49"W

OS Eastings: 445593.838937

OS Northings: 157630.707117

OS Grid: SU455576

Mapcode National: GBR 82X.G6V

Mapcode Global: VHCZX.L6N0

Entry Name: A cross dyke and bowl barrow on the northern spur of Beacon Hill

Scheduled Date: 27 October 1970

Last Amended: 26 September 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012033

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25611

County: Hampshire

Civil Parish: Burghclere

Traditional County: Hampshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Hampshire

Church of England Parish: Highclere St Michael and All Angels

Church of England Diocese: Winchester


The monument includes a section of a cross dyke of Iron Age date and a Bronze
Age bowl barrow on the northern spur of Beacon Hill, a ridge of Upper Chalk
south of the Kennet valley. The cross dyke is probably associated with the
large univallate hillfort on the summit of Beacon Hill, a little over 200m to
the south. The bowl barrow lies above and c.5m south of the cross dyke, which
runs across the spur from WNW to ESE.
The cross dyke, consisting of a ditch with a single bank at its lower side,
has an overall length of c.145m. The ditch is up to 6m wide; the bank has a
maximum width of 4m and is up to 0.5m high, but diminishes and is absent
altogether towards the western end of the cross dyke where the ditch only
The barrow has a mound c.22m in diameter and up to 2.25m high. Surrounding the
mound is a ditch from which material was quarried during the construction of
the monument. This has become partly infilled over the years but survives as a
depression up to 1m deep and 5m wide. Irregularities in the surface of the
mound are probably the result of antiquarian excavation.
All fencing and fence posts are excluded from the scheduling but the ground
beneath these features 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

Cross dykes are substantial linear earthworks typically between 0.2km and 1km
long and comprising one or more ditches arranged beside and parallel to one or
more banks. They generally occur in upland situations, running across ridges
and spurs. They are recognised as earthworks or as cropmarks on aerial
photographs, or as combinations of both. The evidence of excavation and
analogy with associated monuments demonstrates that their construction spans
the millennium from the Middle Bronze Age, although they may have been re-used
later. Current information favours the view that they were used as territorial
boundary markers, probably demarcating land allotment within communities,
although they may also have been used as trackways, cattle droveways or
defensive earthworks. Cross dykes are one of the few monument types which
illustrate how land was divided up in the prehistoric period. They are of
considerable importance for any analysis of settlement and land use in the
Bronze Age. Very few have survived to the present day and hence all well-
preserved examples are considered to be of national importance.

The cross dyke on the northern spur of Beacon Hill is well preserved despite
some damage to the western end and will contain archaeological and
environmental information relating to its construction and use. It lies in
close proximity to the nearby hillfort on the summit of Beacon Hill.
The bowl barrow lies close to the cross dyke at its uphill, southern, side.
Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of barrow, are funerary monuments dating
from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples
belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen or
rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials.
They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a
focus for burials in later periods. Often superficially similar, although
differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form and a
diversity of burial practices. There are over 10,000 surviving bowl barrows
recorded nationally (many have already been destroyed), occurring across most
of lowland Britain. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major
historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation of
form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the
diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric
communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a
substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of
Despite evidence for partial excavation, the barrow south of the cross dyke on
Beacon Hill is well preserved and will contain archaeological and
environmental information relating to the construction and use of the

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club' in Hampshire Barrows, , Vol. 14 (3), (1938), 347

Source: Historic England

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