Ancient Monuments

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Three bowl barrows on Chinnor Hill, two 150m and one 600m south west of Highlands

A Scheduled Monument in Bledlow-cum-Saunderton, Buckinghamshire

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Latitude: 51.6992 / 51°41'57"N

Longitude: -0.8907 / 0°53'26"W

OS Eastings: 476763.5494

OS Northings: 200630.325

OS Grid: SP767006

Mapcode National: GBR C2V.HMY

Mapcode Global: VHDVP.JK08

Entry Name: Three bowl barrows on Chinnor Hill, two 150m and one 600m SW of Highlands

Scheduled Date: 15 November 1971

Last Amended: 11 July 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016067

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28154

County: Buckinghamshire

Civil Parish: Bledlow-cum-Saunderton

Traditional County: Oxfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Buckinghamshire

Church of England Parish: Chinnor, Sydenham, Aston and Crowell

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument, which falls into two areas, includes a single bowl barrow and a
pair of bowl barrows situated in a south west to north east line on Chinnor
Hill. The barrows lie on a north west facing slope, overlooking the Upper
Icknield Way and the Lower Icknield Way, between Chinnor and Bledlow. They are
part of a larger group of four with the other lying further north east in
Buckinghamshire. This is the subject of a separate scheduling (SM 19046).
The single barrow lies 430m south west of the pair. It has a 20m diameter
mound which stands up to 2m high on its downslope (north west) side.
Surrounding this, but now partly infilled, is a 2m wide quarry ditch from
which material was obtained during the construction of the mound. This is
still visible on the uphill side of the barrow.
The pair of barrows both have central mounds measuring between 23m and 24m in
diameter. They both stand up to 1.2m high. The barrow mounds are surrounded by
partly infilled quarry ditches which run together, forming a figure of eight
in plan. These measure c.1.5m wide and are visible as low depressions c.0.3m
All three barrow mounds have circular indentations on their summits which show
the location of shafts dug by 19th century antiquarian investigators. Finds of
Bronze Age and Iron Age pottery and flint artefacts have been made in the
vicinity and a labourer digging on the two barrows in 1899 found a secondary
Anglo-Saxon inhumation burial. This had been cut into the mound and was
accompanied by spear heads and a bronze chape. The burial probably belonged to
a small settlement, situated between and to the north of the pair of barrows.
This settlement was excavated in 1947, revealing it to be a small Anglo-Saxon

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

The three bowl barrows on Chinnor Hill form part of a group of four barrows
which run along the top of the hillslope overlooking the ancient Icknield Way.
They survive well and are known from part excavation to contain archaeological
evidence relating to their construction, the landscape in which they were
built and their later use and significance in the Anglo-Saxon period.

Source: Historic England

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