Ancient Monuments

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Two bowl barrows on Blakeney Downs

A Scheduled Monument in Blakeney, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.9522 / 52°57'7"N

Longitude: 1.0036 / 1°0'13"E

OS Eastings: 601873.74835

OS Northings: 343647.892988

OS Grid: TG018436

Mapcode National: GBR S7B.VZG

Mapcode Global: WHLQT.D243

Entry Name: Two bowl barrows on Blakeney Downs

Scheduled Date: 2 October 1946

Last Amended: 23 October 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013569

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21377

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: Blakeney

Built-Up Area: Blakeney

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Blakeney St Nicholas with St Mary and St Thomas

Church of England Diocese: Norwich


The monument includes two bowl barrows sited on the top of Blakeney Downs, a
prominent glacial ridge overlooking Morston Salt Marshes to the north. The
smaller barrow occupies the higher position on the summit of the ridge, at a
distance of c.10m from the second, which is on a slight slope to the south
east of it. The barrows are visible as earthen mounds, surrounded by hollows
in the ground surface which mark the presence of encircling ditches, now
largely infilled, from which earth was dug during the construction of the
barrows. The mound of the smaller barrow stands to a height of c.1.1m and
covers a circular area c.14m in diameter, and the hollow of the surrounding
ditch, which can be seen on the west and south side of the mound, measures
c.3.5m in width and 0.2m in depth. The second mound measures c.1.2m in height
and c.17m in diameter, and the hollow of the surrounding ditch, of similar
dimensions to the other, is visible to the north and west of it. The dating
of the barrows and the presence of burials within them was confirmed in 1937,
when some sherds of Bronze Age pottery and fragments of bone were recovered
during the planting of trees on the mound of the smaller barrow.
The posts of a fence which crosses the eastern margin of the south eastern
barrow are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is

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

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments
dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most
examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as
earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple
burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often
acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Often superficially similar,
although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form
and a diversity of burial practices. There are over 10,000 surviving bowl
barrows recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring
across most of lowland Britain. Often occupying prominent locations, they are
a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable
variation of form and longevity as a monument type provide important
information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early
prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period
and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of

The two bowl barrows on Blakeney Downs survive well, and although there is
evidence that the north eastern of the two has undergone some disturbance,
this has been limited in extent. The monument will retain archaeological
information concerning the construction of the barrows, the relationship
between them, and the manner and duration of their use. Evidence for the local
environment during that period is also likely to be preserved in soils buried
beneath the mounds and in the fill of the ditches. The two barrows are among a
considerable number located on glacial sand and gravel deposits close to the
North Norfolk coast, and they have additional interest in this context. The
group as a whole, which includes a large round barrow cemetery on and around
Salthouse Heath, 5km to the east, provides important evidence for the
distribution and character of the prehistoric population of the area.

Source: Historic England


6131: North Norfolk, Blakeney,
Bamford, H M, (1994)
Clarke, R R, 6131: North Norfolk, Blakeney, (1936)
copy of letter in file, Watson, A Q, 6131: North Norfolk, Blakeney, (1937)

Source: Historic England

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