Ancient Monuments

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Bell barrow and adjacent bowl barrow on Marlborough Common, 120m east of Wootton Bassett Road

A Scheduled Monument in Marlborough, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.4308 / 51°25'50"N

Longitude: -1.7413 / 1°44'28"W

OS Eastings: 418079.577794

OS Northings: 170227.105963

OS Grid: SU180702

Mapcode National: GBR 4X1.BKT

Mapcode Global: VHB46.R9SJ

Entry Name: Bell barrow and adjacent bowl barrow on Marlborough Common, 120m east of Wootton Bassett Road

Scheduled Date: 23 March 1927

Last Amended: 18 July 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012426

English Heritage Legacy ID: 12244

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Marlborough

Built-Up Area: Marlborough

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire


The monument includes a bell barrow and adjacent bowl barrow, aligned
south-east to north-west and set on a prominent hill-top in an area of
undulating chalk downland. The bell barrow mound stands to a height of 2.5m
and is 22m in diameter. Surrounding the mound are a berm, visible as an
earthwork 7m wide to the south of the mound, and a ditch from which material
was quarried during the construction of the monument. This is no longer
visible at ground level, having become infilled over the years, but survives
as a buried feature c.3m wide. At a distance of some 25m to the north-west
is a bowl barrow 27m across and 2.5m high. Although no longer visible at
ground level a ditch surrounds the mound and survives as a buried feature
c.3m wide.

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

Bell barrows, the most visually impressive form of round barrow, are funerary
monuments dating to the Early and Middle Bronze Age, with most examples
belonging to the period 1500-1100 BC. They occur either in isolation or in
round barrow cemeteries and were constructed as single or multiple mounds
covering burials, often in pits, and surrounded by an enclosure ditch. The
burials are frequently accompanied by weapons, personal ornaments and pottery
and appear to be those of aristocratic individuals, usually men. Bell barrows
(particularly multiple barrows) are rare nationally, with less than 250 known
examples, most of which are in Wessex. Their richness in terms of grave goods
provides evidence for chronological and cultural links amongst early
prehistoric communities over most of southern and eastern England as well as
providing an insight into their beliefs and social organisation. As a
particularly rare form of round barrow, all identified bell barrows would
normally be considered to be of national importance.

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),
occuring across most of lowland Britain. Their ubiquity and their tendency
to occupy prominant locations makes them a major historic element in the
modern landscape and their considerable variation of form and longeviy 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 protection.
Despite some recent disturbance to the bell barrow associated with the
surrounding golf course, and cultivation of part of the bowl barrow, much of
the Marlborough Common monument survives well and has potential for the
recovery of environmental and archaeological remains. The significance of
the monument is enhanced by the fact that numerous other barrow mounds
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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