Ancient Monuments

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Long barrow on Sheep Down, 1km north of East Ilsley

A Scheduled Monument in East Ilsley, West Berkshire

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Latitude: 51.5381 / 51°32'17"N

Longitude: -1.2916 / 1°17'29"W

OS Eastings: 449224.353437

OS Northings: 182371.206965

OS Grid: SU492823

Mapcode National: GBR 808.J8D

Mapcode Global: VHCYS.KLJR

Entry Name: Long barrow on Sheep Down, 1km north of East Ilsley

Scheduled Date: 11 June 1969

Last Amended: 30 August 1990

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013056

English Heritage Legacy ID: 12016

County: West Berkshire

Civil Parish: East Ilsley

Traditional County: Berkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Berkshire

Church of England Parish: East Ilsley

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument includes a long barrow on Sheep Down, 1km north of East Ilsley.
The mound is orientated east-west and situated in a field under arable/pasture
rotation on a south facing slope at the head of a dry valley. It survives as
a low earthwork 0.4m high with maximum dimensions of 40m by 24m including
faint traces of a ditch to the north of the mound.

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.

Only three long barrows are recorded in Berkshire. As such they represent
outliers to the important cluster of similar monuments in Wiltshire and

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Grinsell, LV, The Ancient Burial Mounds of England, (1956)
Grinsell, L V, 'Berkshire Archaeological Journal' in Berkshire Archaeological Journal (Volume 40), , Vol. 40, (1936)
Smith, C N, 'Oxoniensia' in Oxoniensia, , Vol. 10, (1945)

Source: Historic England

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