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Bronze Age enclosure and two bowl barrows 520m north east of Moll Harris's Clump on Idmiston Down

A Scheduled Monument in Idmiston, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.1248 / 51°7'29"N

Longitude: -1.6823 / 1°40'56"W

OS Eastings: 422329.286034

OS Northings: 136214.248834

OS Grid: SU223362

Mapcode National: GBR 624.FHH

Mapcode Global: VHC31.SZHM

Entry Name: Bronze Age enclosure and two bowl barrows 520m north east of Moll Harris's Clump on Idmiston Down

Scheduled Date: 6 January 1971

Last Amended: 9 October 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014819

English Heritage Legacy ID: 26785

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 triangular earthwork enclosure and two bowl barrows of
widely differing size located on the gentle north west facing slope of a major
combe feature known as The Bowl.
The enclosure, which is roughly triangular in shape with rounded corners, has
comparatively straight sides c.100m in length. A single original entrance lies
within a short straight section of earthwork close to the south western corner
and, from this entrance, a hollow trackway runs eastwards into the interior of
the enclosure for a distance of c.50m. The enclosure earthwork includes a
ditch which is an average of 4.5m wide and 0.7m deep. The ditch is not visible
as an earthwork feature on the south east corner and for part of the north
west side, but will survive as a buried feature. The internal bank is an
average of 6m wide and up to 0.7m high. Pottery recorded within the enclosure
during survey work by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of
England suggests that it is of Middle Bronze Age date.
Within the enclosure, close to its eastern corner, is a small round barrow
which has a circular mound 6.5m in diameter and 0.3m high.
Immediately outside the eastern corner of the enclosure is a large bowl
barrow. This has a mound 30m in diameter and 2.5m high, surrounded by a ditch
3.5m wide and c.1m deep. The ditch of the enclosure earthwork immediately
adjacent to the barrow has been interrupted to avoid the barrow.
Hollow trackways to the south and east of the enclosure are of recent origin
and are not included within the scheduling.
All archaeological site markers are excluded from the scheduling although the
ground beneath these features 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 and round barrows, flint
mines, and evidence for settlement, land division and agriculture.
Small enclosed settlements dating from the Middle Bronze Age are often
associated with earlier field systems and are known on some sites to have
replaced earlier unenclosed settlements. Enclosures of both sub-rectangular
and curvilinear plan are known; the sites are wholly or partly surrounded by a
ditch, bank or palisade, or by a combination or succession of all three. Where
excavated, sites have usually been found to contain a small group of domestic
buildings sufficient for a single or extended family group. Evidence of a
succession of buildings has been found on some sites. The buildings are
usually circular in plan but occasional rectangular structures are known. Both
types of building would have provided a combination of living accommodation
and storage or working areas. Storage pits have been recorded inside buildings
on some sites but are generally rarely present. In addition to pottery and
worked flint, large quantities of burnt stone and metal working debris have
been found in some enclosures.
Although the precise figure is not known, many small enclosed settlements are
located on the chalk downland of southern England. As a class they are
integral to understanding Bronze Age settlement and land use strategies, while
their often close proximity to the numerous burial monuments in the area will
provide insights into the relationship between secular and ceremonial activity
during the Middle Bronze Age.
A small number of small enclosed settlements survive on downland as visible
earthworks; the majority however occur in areas of more intensive cultivation
and survive in buried form, visible only from the air as soil and crop marks.
All examples with visible earthworks, and those in buried form which retain
significant surviving remains, are considered to be of national importance.
The small enclosed settlement on Idmiston Down is a well preserved example of
its class in which the enclosure earthworks can be seen to be integrated with
an earlier burial monument. In addition, buried deposits within the earthwork
and its interior will contain information about Middle Bronze Age economy and
The barrows on Idmiston Down are of bowl form. Bowl barrows are the most
numerous form of round barrow with over 10,000 recorded nationally (many more
have already been destroyed), occuring over most of lowland Britain. They are
funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze
Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. Bowl barrows
were constructed as mounds of earth or rubble, sometimes with a surrounding
ditch, and which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in
isolation or, as with this monument, associated with barrows of differing
type. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element
in the modern landscape and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are
considered worthy of protection.
The bowl barrows within and adjacent to the enclosure on Idmiston Down are
well preserved examples of their class and will provide evidence of funerary
practices which may span several centuries within the Early Bronze Age. Their
construction and use provides information concerning the diversity of beliefs
and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities while their
structure will preserve evidence of both past environment and economy.

Source: Historic England

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