Ancient Monuments

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Long barrow in Barrow Copse

A Scheduled Monument in West Overton, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.3895 / 51°23'22"N

Longitude: -1.776 / 1°46'33"W

OS Eastings: 415682.617739

OS Northings: 165627.823635

OS Grid: SU156656

Mapcode National: GBR 4XD.V45

Mapcode Global: VHB4D.5BGN

Entry Name: Long barrow in Barrow Copse

Scheduled Date: 26 June 1924

Last Amended: 10 September 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012429

English Heritage Legacy ID: 12243

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: West Overton

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire


The monument includes a long barrow set above the floor of a dry valley in an
area of gently undulating chalk downland. The barrow mound is ovate and
orientated east-west. It is 40m long, 27m wide and stands to a maximum height
of 3.5m. Flanking the barrow mound to the north and south are ditches from
which the material used to form the mound was quarried during the
construction of the monument. These survive as earthworks 8m wide and 1m
deep. The barrow mound was partially excavated by antiquarians in 1880,
although no details of the work are known. A hollow towards the centre of the
barrow mound indicates the site of the excavation.

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 and Middle Neolithic
periods (3400-2400 BC). 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 parts of the
human remains having been 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 important.

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. Despite some damage, due to afforestation and partial excavation in
the 19th century, the Barrow Copse monument is important as it survives
well and has potential for the recovery of archaeological remains. It is one
of several long barrows and other contemporary monuments occurring in the
immediate area giving an indication of the intensity with which it was
settled during the Neolithic period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
'Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine' in Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine: Volume 61, (), 98
'Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine' in Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine: Volume 42, (), 366-7
'Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine' in Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine: Volume 79, (), 18

Source: Historic England

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