Ancient Monuments

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Saucer barrow 400m north east of the sports ground: one of a group of round barrows north west of Idmiston Down

A Scheduled Monument in Idmiston, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.1341 / 51°8'2"N

Longitude: -1.6899 / 1°41'23"W

OS Eastings: 421793.823888

OS Northings: 137248.288184

OS Grid: SU217372

Mapcode National: GBR 50L.ZHS

Mapcode Global: VHC31.NRHG

Entry Name: Saucer barrow 400m north east of the sports ground: one of a group of round barrows north west of Idmiston Down

Scheduled Date: 11 March 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013970

English Heritage Legacy ID: 26773

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Idmiston

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: Idmiston with Porton Gomeldon St Nicholas

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes a saucer barrow, the most southerly of a group of round
barrows which lie on a flat ridge top to the north west of Idmiston Down.
The profile of the barrow, which lies on the north edge of the ridge on a
gentle north facing slope, has been spread by cultivation, but in 1957 was
recorded by Grinsell as having a mound 16.5m in diameter. This is now 0.5m
high and is surrounded by a ditch, now only visible in places as a shallow
depression, and an external bank. In 1957 each was recorded as being 3.5m
The ditch and external bank on the north side of the barrow have been further
levelled by construction work.
Excluded from the scheduling are all fence posts and underground service
cables and pipes, although the ground beneath them is included.

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

Since 1916 the Porton Down Range has been used for military purposes. As on
the Salisbury Plain Training Area, this has meant that much of it has not been
subject to the intensive arable farming seen elsewhere on the Wessex chalk.
Porton, as a result, is one of very few surviving areas of uncultivated chalk
downland in England and contains a range of well-preserved archaeological
sites, many of Neolithic or Bronze Age date. These include long and round
barrows, flint mines, and evidence for settlement, land division and
Saucer barrows are funerary monuments of the early Bronze Age, most examples
dating to between 1800 and 1200 BC. They occur either in isolation or in
barrow cemeteries (closely-spaced groups of round barrows). They were
constructed as a circular area of level ground defined by a bank and internal
ditch and largely occupied by a single low, squat mound covering one or more
burials, usually in a pit. The burials, either inhumations or cremations, are
sometimes accompanied by pottery vessels, tools and personal ornaments. Saucer
barrows are one of the rarest recognised forms of round barrow, with about 60
known examples nationally, most of which are in Wessex. The presence of grave
goods within the barrows provides important evidence for chronological and
cultural links amongst prehistoric communities over a wide area of southern
England as well as providing an insight into their beliefs and social
organisation. As a rare and fragile form of round barrow, all identified
saucer barrows would normally be considered to be of national importance.
The saucer barrow 400m north east of the sports ground, although not within
the area of uncultivated downland, is a comparatively well preserved example
of its class. Despite erosion caused by cultivation and building works, it
will contain archaeological remains providing information about Bronze Age
beliefs, economy and environment.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire, (1957), 223

Source: Historic England

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