Ancient Monuments

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Two disc barrows 700m north-west of Heath Copse

A Scheduled Monument in Chute, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.3049 / 51°18'17"N

Longitude: -1.6127 / 1°36'45"W

OS Eastings: 427092.986959

OS Northings: 156266.317901

OS Grid: SU270562

Mapcode National: GBR 603.12X

Mapcode Global: VHC2B.0G8J

Entry Name: Two disc barrows 700m north-west of Heath Copse

Scheduled Date: 9 October 1981

Last Amended: 10 July 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012279

English Heritage Legacy ID: 12266

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Chute

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire


The monument includes two conjoined disc barrows, aligned broadly north-
south, set on a gentle west-facing slope above the floor of a dry valley.
The northern barrow has a central mound 10m in diameter and 0.75m high
surrounded by a berm 7.5m wide. A hollow on the mound measures 5m by 0.5m
and suggests partial excavation of the site, probably in the 19th century.
Surrounding the berm is a ditch 6m wide and 1m deep, from which material
was quarried during construction of the monument, and a high outer bank on
the west side of the mound, 6m wide and 1.5m high. The southern barrow
comprises a central mound l2m across and 0.75m high surrounded by a level
berm 10m across. A central hollow on the mound measures 6m in diameter and
is 0.5m deep suggesting partial excavation of the monument, probably at the
same time as the adjacent barrow mound. A ditch surrounds the central area
except to the north where it abutts the southern part of the ditch
surrounding the adjacent northern mound. This has been partly infilled over
the years but survives as an earthwork 5m wide and 1m deep. An outer bank
defines the maximum extent of the monument, at least on the downhill side
where it stands 1.5m high and is 5m across.

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

Disc barrows, the most fragile type of round barrow, are funerary monuments of
the early Bronze Age, with most examples dating to the period 1400-1200 bc.
They occur either in isolation or in barrow cemeteries (closely-spaced groups
of round barrows). Disc barrows were constructed as a circular or oval area
of level ground defined by a bank and internal ditch and containing one or
more centrally or eccentrically located small, low mounds covering burials,
usually in pits. The burials, normally cremations, are frequently accompanied
by pottery vessels, tools and personal ornaments. It has been suggested that
disc barrows were normally used for the burial of women, although this remains
unproven. However, it is likely that the individuals buried were of high
status. Disc barrows are rare nationally, with about 250 known examples most
of which are in Wessex. Their richness in terms of grave goods provides
important evidence for chronological and cultural links amongst prehistoric
communities over a wide area of southern England as well as providing an
insight into their beliefs and social organisation. As a particularly rare
and fragile form of round barrow, all identified disc barrows would normally
be considered to be of national importance.

Despite partial excavation of the Heath Copse disc barrows, much of each
of the monuments survives intact and they are a fine example of their class.
Disc barrows have often been reduced by cultivation and it is unusual to
find a pair in such a complete state of preservation. As a consequence, the
site has considerable potential for the recovery of archaeological evidence
for the nature and duration of use of the monument and the environment
within which it was constructed. The importance of the site is further
enhanced by the fact that numerous other round barrows survive in the area
as well as additional evidence for contemporary settlement. Such evidence
provides a clear indication of the extent to which the area was settled
during the Bronze Age period.

Source: Historic England

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