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Eleven round barrows 1000m north of Baltic Farm forming part of a barrow cemetery, and a probable enclosed Iron Age farmstead on North Down

A Scheduled Monument in Bishops Cannings, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.4079 / 51°24'28"N

Longitude: -1.94 / 1°56'23"W

OS Eastings: 404272.258768

OS Northings: 167655.580483

OS Grid: SU042676

Mapcode National: GBR 3VN.NCH

Mapcode Global: VHB43.BW82

Entry Name: Eleven round barrows 1000m north of Baltic Farm forming part of a barrow cemetery, and a probable enclosed Iron Age farmstead on North Down

Scheduled Date: 10 November 1964

Last Amended: 11 January 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013773

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21886

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 total of 11 round barrows and a probable enclosed Iron
Age farmstead situated 1000m north of Baltic Farm on North Down. The round
barrrows form part of a round barrow cemetery which includes a total of 18
barrows. This is one of a number of cemeteries located on the Downs.
The group presently contains three upstanding bell barrows, two bowl barrows
and six levelled barrows which survive as ring ditches.
The bell barrows all have central mounds which measure from 16.4m to 27.4m in
diameter and stand between 1.5m and 3m high. Their level berms vary from 2.4m
to 4.9m wide and are enclosed by surrounding quarry ditches, from which
material was obtained during the construction of the mounds. These measure
between 4.3m and 6.6m wide and up to 0.6m deep. The bell barrow at the western
end of the group also has an outer bank 4.3m wide and 0.3m high.
The two upstanding bowl barrows have mounds which measure from 8.4m to 19m in
diameter and stand 0.3m and 2.1m high. These are both surrounded by 2m wide
quarry ditches which have become infilled over the years but which survive as
buried features, visible on aerial photographs.
The six ring ditches are the remains of barrows, only two of which are still
visible at ground level due to the mounds having been spread by cultivation.
However, the quarry ditches can be seen as buried features visible on aerial
photographs. They enclose areas measuring between 12m and 25m in diameter.
A number of the barrows were partly excavated in 1804 and then again in 1857.
At least one urn containing burnt bone was recovered from one of the bell
barrows but records of the work are poor and tell us little else. A rhomboid-
shaped enclosure considered to be Iron Age in date lies immediately north of
the barrows. This earthwork has been reduced by cultivation but survives as a
slight scarp representing the bank enclosing an area 62m from south west to
north east by 58m from south east to north west. The bank is 4m wide and has
been reduced by cultivation to less than 0.1m high. This is surrounded by a 3m
wide ditch clearly visible on aerial photographs. An original entrance is
located on the north east side, facing away from the barrow mounds. Further
features representing the pits and structures of a farmstead show up within
the enclosure as darker areas on the aerial photographs. The enclosure lies
within what appears to be a contemporary field system which includes the
earlier cemetery. The earthworks have been ploughed level but traces remain
visible on aerial photographs.
The ploughsoil in the enclosure has produced pottery of Iron Age and
Romano-British date. Some later medieval pottery has also been found although
it is not of sufficient quantity to suggest any continued occupation.
Excluded from the scheduling are the bollard posts around a number of the
mounds and the north to south boundary fence on the eastern edge of the
monument, although the ground beneath is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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 bell barrows and two bowl barrows which remain upstanding survive
well as good examples of their class. The remaining, levelled barrows, are
known from aerial photographs to retain archaeological deposits. Part
excavation of some of the barrows in the 19th century confirmed the survival
of archaeological remains within the cemetery.
The size and form of Iron Age enclosed settlements vary considerably from
single farmsteads up to large semi-urban oppida. Farmsteads are generally
represented by enclosures containing evidence of a small group of circular
domestic buildings and associated agricultural structures. Where excavated,
these sites are also found to contain storage pits for grain and other
produce, evidence of an organised and efficient farming system. The
surrounding enclosures would have provided protection against cattle rustling
and tribal raiding.
In central southern England, most enclosed Iron Age farmsteads are situated in
areas which are now under intensive arable cultivation. As a result, although
some examples survive with upstanding earthworks, the majority have been
recorded as crop- and soil-marks appearing on aerial photographs.
The enclosed Iron Age farmstead forming part of this monument survives as an
earthwork despite having been partly levelled by cultivation. It will contain
archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction,
occupation, the economy of its inhabitants and the earlier funerary landscape
in which it was built.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire, (1957), 215
Grinsell, L V, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire, (1957), 157
Grinsell, LV, 'A History of Wiltshire' in A History of Wiltshire, , Vol. 1,1, (1957), 208
Grinsell, LV, 'A History of Wiltshire' in A History of Wiltshire, , Vol. 1,1, (1957), 208
Grinsell, LV, 'A History of Wiltshire' in A History of Wiltshire, , Vol. 1,1, (1957), 157
Grinsell, LV, 'A History of Wiltshire' in A History of Wiltshire, , Vol. 1,1, (1957), 157
Grinsell, LV, 'A History of Wiltshire' in A History of Wiltshire, , Vol. 1,1, (1957), 157
Wiltshire Archaeological And Nat Hist Society, , 'Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine' in Barrow Excavations, , Vol. vi, (), 319-20
Report of works by Cunnington, Wiltshire Archaeological And National History Society, Cunnington,
SU 06 NW 059, R.C.H.M.(E), Rhomboid enclosure, (1973)
SU06NW 631, C.A.O., Bell barrow, (1993)
SU06NW 632, C.A.O., Bell barrow, (1993)
SU06NW 633, C.A.O., Bell barrow, (1993)
SU06NW 634, C.A.O., Bowl barrow, (1993)
SU06NW 635, C.A.O., Site of Bowl barrow, (1968)
SU06NW 636, C.A.O., Site of possible bowl barrow, (1991)
SU06NW 637, C.A.O., Site of possible bowl barrow, (1991)
SU06NW 654, C.A.O., Undated Rhomboid enclosure, (1968)
SU06NW 654, C.A.O., Undated Rhomboid enclosure, (1991)
SU06NW 677, C.A.O., Four circular cropmarks, (1991)

Source: Historic England

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