Ancient Monuments

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Long barrow on Ashmore Down, 775m north of Ashgrove Cottages

A Scheduled Monument in Donhead St. Mary, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 50.9762 / 50°58'34"N

Longitude: -2.1198 / 2°7'11"W

OS Eastings: 391683.787664

OS Northings: 119645.156537

OS Grid: ST916196

Mapcode National: GBR 1XZ.QW4

Mapcode Global: FRA 66FJ.KZP

Entry Name: Long barrow on Ashmore Down, 775m north of Ashgrove Cottages

Scheduled Date: 10 March 1925

Last Amended: 11 July 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015938

English Heritage Legacy ID: 26819

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Donhead St. Mary

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: Donhead St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes a long barrow, lying in a prominent position on the
south east facing slope of Ashmore Down 775m north of Ashgrove Cottages.
The barrow includes a mound 42m long aligned approximately east-west across
the slope. The mound is a maximum of 21m wide and 2.5m high close to its
largest, eastern end. Towards the western end it reduces in width to 16m and
in height to 2m. A hollow, 4m in diameter and 0.8m deep, possibly the result
of an unrecorded antiquarian excavation, lies immediately west of its centre
and the southern flank of the mound shows additional signs of disturbance. The
mound is flanked by ditches from which material for its construction was
quarried. These have become almost entirely infilled and only that on the
southern (downslope) 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 on Ashmore Down is a well preserved example of its class.
Despite some disturbance to the mound and the part infilling of the quarry
ditches the barrow exhibits a largely original profile and will contain
archaeological remains providing information about Neolithic beliefs, economy
and environment.

Source: Historic England

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