Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Bell barrow 75m west of Red Shore

A Scheduled Monument in West Overton, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.3829 / 51°22'58"N

Longitude: -1.8329 / 1°49'58"W

OS Eastings: 411724.836493

OS Northings: 164889.276135

OS Grid: SU117648

Mapcode National: GBR 3W5.CD9

Mapcode Global: VHB4C.5HWP

Entry Name: Bell barrow 75m west of Red Shore

Scheduled Date: 15 May 1957

Last Amended: 17 January 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013143

English Heritage Legacy ID: 12182

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: West Overton

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire


The monument includes a bell barrow set below the crest of a steep north-east
facing slope in an area of undulating chalk downland. The barrow mound stands
to a height of 0.5m and is 20m in diameter. The surface of the mound
comprises large flint nodules and some worked flint. Surrounding the mound is
a ditch from which the mound material was quarried. Although this has been
infilled over the years and is no longer visible on the ground, it survives as
a buried feature c.3m wide.
Partial excavation of the barrow mound in 1970 produced cereal pollen grains
suggesting early cultivation of the area.

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.

Despite partial excavation and cultivation over many years, much of the Red
Shore bell barrow remains intact and has significant potential for the
preservation of archaeological and environmental evidence. The presence of
numerous other barrows and additional evidence for contemporary settlement in
the area of Bishop's Cannings Down provide a clear indication of the intensity
with which the area was settled during the Bronze Age, further enhancing the
importance of the monument.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
'Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine' in Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine: Volume 68, , Vol. 68, (1970), 120-2

Source: Historic England

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