Ancient Monuments

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Two bowl barrows 330m south of Dairy Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Renhold, Bedford

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Latitude: 52.1452 / 52°8'42"N

Longitude: -0.3764 / 0°22'35"W

OS Eastings: 511195.3033

OS Northings: 250903.971597

OS Grid: TL111509

Mapcode National: GBR H3F.FN7

Mapcode Global: VHFQ9.FBCS

Entry Name: Two bowl barrows 330m south of Dairy Farm

Scheduled Date: 17 April 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015589

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27193

County: Bedford

Civil Parish: Renhold

Traditional County: Bedfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Bedfordshire

Church of England Parish: Renhold

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans


The monument includes the buried remains of two Bronze Age bowl barrows
located on the low lying gravel terrace on the north side of the Gadsey Brook,
a tributary of the River Great Ouse which flows into the main river some
400m further east. The barrows have been reduced by ploughing, and the
earthwork remains are now barely perceptible. However, cropmarks generated by
the fills of the buried ditches regularly appear, visible at ground level and
recorded from the air on several occasions since 1970.
The barrows are separated by a distance of c.30m. The ditch surrounding the
western barrow is slightly oval in plan, measuring approximately 25m north
east to south west and 19m north west to south east. The eastern barrow is
circular, measuring c.18m in diameter (measured from the outer edge of the
surrounding ditch).
Archaeological studies of the gravel terraces in the Great Ouse Valley have
provided considerable evidence for Late Neolithic and Bronze Age settlement
and ritual activity. These barrows form part of a complex of prehistoric
features, also revealed by aerial photography. These features (the subject of
separate schedulings) include a ritual enclosure known as a hengi-form
monument located c.140m to the south, a henge (a larger form of enclosure) and
two further barrows located approximately 250m to the east. This group is
thought to be associated with a larger cropmark complex located some 1.6km to
the WSW, which contains a range of mortuary enclosures and other funerary
monuments (also the subjects of separate schedulings).

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

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments
dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most
examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as
earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple
burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often
acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Often superficially similar,
although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form
and a diversity of burial practices. There are over 10,000 surviving bowl
barrows recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring
across most of lowland Britain. Often occupying prominent locations, they are
a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable
variation of form and longevity as a monument type provide important
information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early
prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period
and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of

Despite the damage caused by ploughing, the two barrows to the south of Dairy
Farm will retain significant archaeological information. The areas within the
encircling ditches will contain buried deposits relating to funerary
activities, including burials. The fills of the buried ditches will retain
artefactual evidence both for the date of construction and the duration of the
monument's use, and environmental evidence illustrating the appearance of the
landscape in which the barrows were set. The area between the barrows is of
particular interest, since excavations at comparable sites have demonstrated
the likelihood of further burials in such locations.
The gravel terraces of the Great River Ouse are known to have provided the
focus for burial and ritual activities in the Neolithic period and Bronze Age.
These barrows form part of a particularly interesting group of funerary and
ritual monuments, which is considered to be an outlying component of the
larger complex of mortuary monuments to the WSW. The study of these sites will
provide valuable information regarding the continuity and evolution of
prehistoric funerary practices in the area, and contribute to research into
the distribution of prehistoric settlement.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Clarke, R, Dawson, M, 'Chiltern Archaeology: Recent Work' in The Prehistoric and Romano-British landscape in Bedfordshire, (1995), 57
Woodward, P J, 'Arch J' in Bronze Age Settlement Patterns in the Great Ouse Valley, , Vol. 135, (1978), 32-56
MPP Schedule entries 20745-9, Wild, S, Neolithic and Bronze Age Mortuary Complex North West of Octagon Farm, (1993)
MPP schedule entry: 27116, Went, D, Oval Barrow East of Ranworth Walk, Biddenham, (1994)
Simco, A, 594: Compilation of AP evidence, (1987)

Source: Historic England

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