Ancient Monuments

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Bell barrow on Easton Down

A Scheduled Monument in Bishops Cannings, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.3951 / 51°23'42"N

Longitude: -1.9079 / 1°54'28"W

OS Eastings: 406505.42267

OS Northings: 166236.680572

OS Grid: SU065662

Mapcode National: GBR 3VW.JGR

Mapcode Global: VHB49.W67B

Entry Name: Bell barrow on Easton Down

Scheduled Date: 16 July 1956

Last Amended: 18 January 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013365

English Heritage Legacy ID: 12171

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 set on a small promontory overlooked by
higher ground to the east and west. The barrow mound stands to a height of
1.5m and is 22m in diameter. Surrounding the barrow mound are a narrow berm
and a ditch from which mound material was quarried. This survives as a low
earthwork 4m wide and 0.1m deep. The barrow mound is sited some 130m north-
east of a long barrow.
The site was partially excavated between 1855 and 1859. Finds included a
cremation burial and a grooved bone pin.

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 of the Easton Down bell barrow as well as
significant stock erosion and burrowing in recent years, much of the monument
survives well and has significant archaeological potential. The significance
of the monument is enhanced by the fact that numerous other round barrows
survive in the area as well as additional evidence for contemporary
settlement. Such evidence provides a clear indication of the extent to which
the area was settled during the Bronze Age period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
'Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine' in Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine: Volume 6, , Vol. 6, (), 323

Source: Historic England

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