Ancient Monuments

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Bell barrow 250m NNE 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: 51.1335 / 51°8'0"N

Longitude: -1.6931 / 1°41'35"W

OS Eastings: 421568.183553

OS Northings: 137178.745328

OS Grid: SU215371

Mapcode National: GBR 50L.YK9

Mapcode Global: VHC31.LRSY

Entry Name: Bell barrow 250m NNE 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: 1013971

English Heritage Legacy ID: 26774

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 bell barrow, among the most southerly of a group of
round barrows which lie on a flat ridge top to the north west of Idmiston
Down. The barrow has a mound 22m in diameter and 1m high above the level of
the surrounding sloping berm. The mound appears to have been spread in a
westerly direction over part of the berm and shows signs of disturbance by
digging on its south side. The berm is an average of 6m wide and is raised a
maximum of 0.9m above surrounding ground level. Surrounding it are traces of a
ditch 3m wide which, where not visible on the surface will survive as a buried
feature. In 1805 the barrow was partially excavated by William Cunnington
although it is likely that no burial was located.
Excluded from the scheduling is the archaeological site marker, although the
ground beneath it 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 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 barrows and round barrows,
flint mines, and evidence for settlement, land division and agriculture.
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 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.

The bell barrow 250m NNE of the sports ground, although not within the area of
uncultivated downland, is a well preserved example of its class. The barrow
still exhibits a largely original profile and, despite disturbance caused by
partial excavation, will contain archaeological remains providing information
about Bronze Age beliefs, economy and environment.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Colt Hoare, R, The Ancient History of Wiltshire: Volume I, (1812), 216

Source: Historic England

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