Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Bell barrow on Bowledge Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Sunninghill and Ascot, Windsor and Maidenhead

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Latitude: 51.4101 / 51°24'36"N

Longitude: -0.688 / 0°41'16"W

OS Eastings: 491342.273292

OS Northings: 168717.392073

OS Grid: SU913687

Mapcode National: GBR F98.DW4

Mapcode Global: VHFTM.1T3C

Entry Name: Bell barrow on Bowledge Hill

Scheduled Date: 7 December 1973

Last Amended: 7 February 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013012

English Heritage Legacy ID: 12076

County: Windsor and Maidenhead

Civil Parish: Sunninghill and Ascot

Built-Up Area: North Ascot

Traditional County: Berkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Berkshire

Church of England Parish: Ascot Heath

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument includes a bell barrow situated in the grounds of Heatherwood
Hospital on Bowledge Hill. The mound survives to a height of 1.3m and has a
maximum diameter of 17m. This is the only surviving member of a small barrow
cemetery on Bowledge Hill. The monument was partially excavated in the 1970s,
revealing the original structure of the mound and a date for its construction
of 1500 BC.
The mound was constructed as a turf stack and was surrounded by a wide berm
and a ditch 2m wide and 1m deep. Although no longer visible at ground level,
the ditch, from which mound material was quarried, survives as a buried
feature having been infilled over the years. The tarmac surface which
surrounds the barrow mound is excluded from the monument, although the ground
beneath is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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.

The Bowledge Hill monument is of particular importance because, despite
partial excavation, much of the monument survives well, in particular ditch
deposits, much of the barrow mound and the buried ground surface. The site
has considerable potential both for the recovery of archaeological and
environmental evidence.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Bradley, R, Keith-Lucas, M, Excavation And Pollen Analysis On A Bell Barrow At Ascot, (1975)

Source: Historic England

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