Ancient Monuments

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Three Bronze Age barrows 200m NNW of Down Barn forming part of a barrow cemetery situated on North Down

A Scheduled Monument in Bishops Cannings, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.408 / 51°24'28"N

Longitude: -1.9096 / 1°54'34"W

OS Eastings: 406385.889021

OS Northings: 167663.99365

OS Grid: SU063676

Mapcode National: GBR 3VP.Q1L

Mapcode Global: VHB43.VWC0

Entry Name: Three Bronze Age barrows 200m NNW of Down Barn forming part of a barrow cemetery situated on North Down

Scheduled Date: 10 March 1925

Last Amended: 13 September 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013237

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21859

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 three Bronze Age bowl barrows aligned east-west and
situated 200m NNW of Down Barn on North Down. The barrows form part of a
dispersed barrow cemetery which includes at least 24 barrows. This is one
of a number of cemeteries located on the Downs.
The three barrows have been partly reduced by cultivation. Those to the east
and west are visible at ground level while the central barrow is visible on
air photographs.
The western barrow has a mound which survives to a diameter of 23.6m and
stands up to 0.7m high. However, it is known that the barrow mound originally
measured 26m across and is surrounded by a quarry ditch from which material
was obtained during its construction. This ditch has become infilled over the
years but survives as a buried feature c.3m wide.
The central barrow is no longer visible at ground level but survives in the
form of buried remains with a diameter of c.15m surrounded by a ditch which
measures c.2.5m in width. This ditch runs into that surrounding the barrow to
the east.
The eastern barrow mound measures c.18m across and stands up to 0.6m high.
However, it was previously recorded as measuring 22.7m in diameter with a
surrounding quarry ditch. This has become infilled over the years but survives
as a buried feature c.3m wide which is visible on aerial photographs.

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. Round barrow cemeteries date to the Bronze Age
(2000-700 BC). They comprise closely-spaced groups of up to 30 round barrows -
rubble or earthen mounds covering single or multiple burials. Most cemeteries
developed over a considerable period of time, often many centuries, and in
some cases acted as a focus for burials as late as the early medieval period.
They exhibit considerable diversity of burial rite, plan and form, frequently
including several different types of round barrow and occasionally associated
with earlier long barrows. Where investigation beyond the round barrows has
occurred, contemporary or later `flat' burials between the barrow mounds have
often been revealed. Round barrow cemeteries occur across most of lowland
England with a marked concentration in Wessex. In some cases they are
clustered around other important contemporary monuments, as is the case both
here and at Stonehenge. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major
historic element in the modern landscape, while their diversity and their
longevity as a monument type provide important information on the variety of
beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. All
examples are considered worthy of protection.

The three bowl barrows 200m NNW of Down Barn form part of a large cemetery
situated on North Down.
Despite having been partly reduced by cultivation, the barrows will all
contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the cemetery
and the landscape in which it was built.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire, (1939), 158
SU 06 NE 080, R.C.H.M.(E), National Archaeological Record,
SU 06 NE 080, R.C.H.M.(E), National Archaeological Record,
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:10000 and other scales
Source Date:
SU 06 NE

Source: Historic England

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