Ancient Monuments

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Bell barrow situated between Bishop's Cannings Down and Easton Down

A Scheduled Monument in Bishops Cannings, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.3986 / 51°23'55"N

Longitude: -1.9112 / 1°54'40"W

OS Eastings: 406274.965

OS Northings: 166625.6224

OS Grid: SU062666

Mapcode National: GBR 3VW.9LZ

Mapcode Global: VHB49.T3HM

Entry Name: Bell barrow situated between Bishop's Cannings Down and Easton Down

Scheduled Date: 9 August 1957

Last Amended: 13 September 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013229

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21866

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Bishops Cannings

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: Bishop's Cannings and Etchilhampton St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes a bell barrow situated on the edge of Bishop's
Cannings Down and Easton Down on a gentle north east facing slope. The barrow
has a central mound, which, despite having been reduced by cultivation,
survives as a slight rise 18m in diameter and 0.2m high, clearly visible as a
chalk spread in the ploughsoil.
Previous records of the monument suggest that, originally, the mound measured
c.20m in diameter and was surrounded by a c.4m wide berm. Surrounding the
berm, but infilled by cultivation, is a quarry ditch c.3m wide from which
material was obtained during the construction of the mound. Although no longer
visible at ground level, the ditch can be seen on aerial photographs as a
The barrow was partially excavated by Thurnham in the 19th century who found
burnt human bones, a fragment of black pottery and a number of ox teeth.

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

A small number of areas in southern England appear to have acted as foci for
ceremonial and ritual activity during the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age
periods. Two of the best known and earliest recognised, with references in the
17th century, are around Avebury and Stonehenge, now jointly designated as a
World Heritage Site. In the Avebury area, the henge monument itself, the West
Kennet Avenue, the Sanctuary, West Kennet long barrow, Windmill Hill
causewayed enclosure and the enigmatic Silbury Hill are well-known. Whilst the
other Neolithic long barrows, the many Bronze Age round barrows and other
associated sites are less well-known, together they define one of the richest
and most varied areas of Neolithic and Bronze Age ceremonial and ritual
monuments in the country. 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 1600-1300 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 are rare nationally, with less than 250
known examples, most of which are in Wessex. All examples are considered
worthy of protection.

The bell barrow between Bishop's Cannings Down and Easton Down survives as a
visible earthwork despite reduction by cultivation. Partial excavation of the
barrow has confirmed the survival of archaeological and environmental evidence
relating to its construction and the landscape in which it was built.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Thurnham, , 'Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine' in Bishops Cannings Down, , Vol. 6, (), 323
SU06NE 609 :Air Photo A17/219059, C.A.O., Ploughed Out Bell Barrow, (1976)
SU06NE 609, C.A.O., Ploughed Out Bell Barrow, (1976)

Source: Historic England

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