Ancient Monuments

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Bowl barrow north of Holden's Firs: part of the Holden's Firs barrow cemetery

A Scheduled Monument in Stratfield Mortimer, West Berkshire

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Latitude: 51.3817 / 51°22'54"N

Longitude: -1.0782 / 1°4'41"W

OS Eastings: 464248.089996

OS Northings: 165140.418566

OS Grid: SU642651

Mapcode National: GBR B54.B78

Mapcode Global: VHCZP.8JCN

Entry Name: Bowl barrow north of Holden's Firs: part of the Holden's Firs barrow cemetery

Scheduled Date: 8 November 1928

Last Amended: 21 April 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012425

English Heritage Legacy ID: 12232

County: West Berkshire

Civil Parish: Stratfield Mortimer

Built-Up Area: Mortimer

Traditional County: Berkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Berkshire

Church of England Parish: Stratfield Mortimer

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument includes a bowl barrow set on high level ground between the
River Kennet to the north and Foudry Brook to the south. The barrow survives
as a raised area 2m above present ground level within a large area extracted
for gravel in the early 1980s. The barrow mound is 25m in diameter and c.0.5m
high. Although no longer visible at ground level, a ditch from which
material was quarried during the construction of the monument surrounds the
mound and survives as a buried feature. Partial excavation in the early 1980s
showed the ditch to be c.2m wide and also produced evidence for a central
turf stack which formed the base of the barrow mound.
The monument is an outlier to a dispersed barrow cemetery located in and
around Holden's Firs.

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

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round 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 more have already been destroyed), occurring
across most of lowland Britain. Their ubiquity and their tendency to occupy
prominent locations makes them 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
organisations amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly
representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving
examples are considered worthy of protection.

The Holden's Firs barrow is important because, despite partial excavation, it
has potential for the recovery of archaeological and environmental evidence,
especially in the area of the ditch and from the old ground surface beneath
the barrow mound. The significance of the site is considerably enhanced by
its inclusion within a dispersed barrow cemetery. Such monuments give an
indication of the intensity with which areas were settled during prehistory
and provide evidence for the range of beliefs and nature of social
organisation during the Bronze Age.

Source: Historic England


Lobb, S, Report submitted to DoE, 1981, Report submitted to DoE

Source: Historic England

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