Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Devil's Den long barrow, 600m east of White Acre

A Scheduled Monument in Fyfield, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.4257 / 51°25'32"N

Longitude: -1.7826 / 1°46'57"W

OS Eastings: 415210.893061

OS Northings: 169653.90918

OS Grid: SU152696

Mapcode National: GBR 4X0.D5C

Mapcode Global: VHB46.1FZD

Entry Name: Devil's Den long barrow, 600m east of White Acre

Scheduled Date: 18 August 1882

Last Amended: 28 November 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012321

English Heritage Legacy ID: 12226

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Fyfield

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire


The monument includes an earthen mound and chambered tomb set on the floor
of a dry valley in an area of undulating chalk downland. The chambered tomb
comprises four large sarsens (three uprights, one capstone). It is
orientated north-west/south-east and set on top of a low earthen mound 8m
square and 0.4m high. The sarsen uprights (one of which now lies on its
side) range in size from 3-4m square while the capstone is 4m square.
Flanking the mound on the north-west and south-east sides are quarry ditches
from which material was quarried during the construction of the monument.
These are no longer visible at ground level but survive as buried features
c.3m wide. The site was partially reconstructed in 1921, after plough
damage, and now stands 5m high. A concrete plinth bearing the date `1921'
has been inserted on the northern side of the monument.

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

Long barrows were constructed as earthen or drystone mounds with flanking
ditches and acted as funerary monuments during the early Neolithic period
(3000 - 2400bc). They represent the burial places of Britain's early farming
communities and, as such, are amongst the oldest field monuments surviving
visibly in the present landscape. Where investigated, long barrows appear to
have been used for communal burial, often with only partial human remains
selected for interment. Certain sites provide evidence for several phases of
funerary monument preceding the barrow and, consequently, it is probable that
long barrows acted as important ritual sites for local communities over a
considerable period of time. Some 500 long barrows are recorded in England.
As one of the few types of Neolithic structure to survive as earthworks,
and due to their comparative rarity, their considerable age and their
longevity as a monument type, all long barrows are considered to be nationally

The 180 long barrows of Hampshire, Wiltshire and Dorset form the
densest and one of the most significant concentrations of monuments of
this type in the country. The Devil's Den is important, despite disturbance
of the monument by cultivation and the later reconstruction of the chambered
tomb, as much of the site remains intact and survives well below ground
level. The site therefore has significant potential for the recovery of
archaeological remains. The importance of the monument is further enhanced
by its location within an area heavily settled and well documented during
the Neolithic period. The area is rich in burial and religious monuments as
well as producing additional evidence for settlement.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
'Antiquaries Journal' in Antiquaries Journal Volume II, , Vol. 2, (1922)
'Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine' in Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine: Volume 79, , Vol. 79, (), 13-14
In possession of owner., Pre 1921 photo of Devil's Den long barrow,
Report of the Marlborough College NHS, (1889)

Source: Historic England

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