Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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The Giant's Grave long barrow

A Scheduled Monument in Downton, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.0062 / 51°0'22"N

Longitude: -1.7718 / 1°46'18"W

OS Eastings: 416104.125038

OS Northings: 122998.972714

OS Grid: SU161229

Mapcode National: GBR 521.WBQ

Mapcode Global: FRA 765G.9JM

Entry Name: The Giant's Grave long barrow

Scheduled Date: 10 March 1925

Last Amended: 11 July 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015935

English Heritage Legacy ID: 26810

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Downton

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: Downton St Lawrence

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes a long barrow, known as the Giant's Grave, lying in a
prominent position on an east facing slope above the valley of the River Avon.
The barrow includes a mound 60m long and a maximum of 18m wide, aligned
approximately north-south across the slope. The mound, which slopes gently
along its length, is 2.5m high at its highest, northern end and is flanked by
ditches from which material for its construction was quarried. These have
become almost entirely infilled and only that flanking the the east side of
the mound can be seen as a slight hollow. They will, however, survive as
buried features approximately 6m wide.
All fence posts 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

Long barrows were constructed as earthen or drystone mounds with flanking
ditches and acted as funerary monuments during the Early and Middle Neolithic
periods (3400-2400 BC). They represent the burial places of Britain's early
farming communities and, as such, are amongst the oldest field monuments
surviving visibly in the present landscape. Where investigated, long barrows
appear to have been used for communal burial, often with only parts of the
human remains having been selected for interment. Certain sites provide
evidence for several phases of funerary monument preceding the barrow and,
consequently, it is probable that long barrows acted as important ritual sites
for local communities over a considerable period of time. Some 500 examples of
long barrows and long cairns, their counterparts in the uplands, are recorded
nationally. As one of the few types of Neolithic structure to survive as
earthworks, and due to their comparative rarity, their considerable age and
their longevity as a monument type, all long barrows are considered to be
nationally important.

The long barrow known as the Giant's Grave is a well preserved example of its
class. Despite the infilling of the quarry ditches the barrow's original
profile is preserved and the monument will contain archaeological remains
providing information about Neolithic burial traditions, economy and

Source: Historic England

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