Ancient Monuments

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Disc barrow and pillbox within Boscombe Down airfield, 520m south east of the Officers' Mess

A Scheduled Monument in Amesbury, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.1588 / 51°9'31"N

Longitude: -1.7518 / 1°45'6"W

OS Eastings: 417450.775446

OS Northings: 139977.867915

OS Grid: SU174399

Mapcode National: GBR 50B.7Y0

Mapcode Global: VHB5K.L47H

Entry Name: Disc barrow and pillbox within Boscombe Down airfield, 520m south east of the Officers' Mess

Scheduled Date: 21 March 1932

Last Amended: 13 November 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015030

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28938

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Amesbury

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: Amesbury St Mary and St Melor

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes a disc barrow and a World War II pillbox within Boscombe
Down airfield, 520m south east of the Officers' Mess. The disc barrow is
situated on a slight slope and has a central mound 12m diameter, surrounded by
a platform 16m wide, a ditch 7m wide and 0.3m deep and an outer bank 8m wide
and 0.25m high. The barrow has an overall diameter of 74m.
A World War II pillbox has been constructed on top of a low mound which sits
on the outer bank on the eastern side of the barrow. It stands 1.3m high above
ground and has six sides each 2.2m long and constructed from reinforced
An earthen sound-barrier has been constructed to the south west of the
monument and this does not form part of the scheduling.
All signs 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

Disc barrows, the most fragile type of round barrow, are funerary monuments of
the Early Bronze Age, with most examples dating to the period 1400-1200 BC.
They occur either in isolation or in barrow cemeteries (closely-spaced groups
of round barrows). Disc barrows were constructed as a circular or oval area of
level ground defined by a bank and internal ditch and containing one or more
centrally or eccentrically located small, low mounds covering burials, usually
in pits. The burials, normally cremations, are frequently accompanied by
pottery vessels, tools and personal ornaments. It has been suggested that disc
barrows were normally used for the burial of women, although this remains
unproven. However, it is likely that the individuals buried were of high
status. Disc barrows are rare nationally, with about 250 known examples, most
of which are in Wessex. Their richness in terms of grave goods 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 particularly rare and
fragile form of round barrow, all identified disc barrows would normally be
considered to be of national importance.

The disc barrow located within Boscombe Down airfield survives well and will
contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the
monument and the landscape in which it was constructed.
The pillbox formed part of the World War II defences of the airfield.

Source: Historic England

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