Ancient Monuments

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Round barrow cemetery 320m south east of Down Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Milton Lilbourne, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.3085 / 51°18'30"N

Longitude: -1.733 / 1°43'58"W

OS Eastings: 418705.322309

OS Northings: 156631.043173

OS Grid: SU187566

Mapcode National: GBR 4YF.ST7

Mapcode Global: VHB4S.XC5R

Entry Name: Round barrow cemetery 320m south east of Down Farm

Scheduled Date: 15 May 1925

Last Amended: 14 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016779

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31192

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Milton Lilbourne

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire


The monument includes a cemetery of eight round barrows which occupies a
prominent position, below the crest of a south west facing spur, on the
northern edge of Salisbury Plain, 320m south east of Down Farm.
Three of the barrows survive as substantial upstanding earthworks. Of these
the most northerly example is a bell barrow with a mound 16m in diameter and a
sloping berm 5m wide. Surrounding the berm is a ditch which, although no
longer visible on the surface, will survive as a buried feature 3m wide. In
the centre of the mound, which reaches a height of 3m, are traces of
disturbance, most probably resulting from an excavation by Sir Richard Colt
Hoare in the early 19th century which uncovered two burials of cremated
South of the bell barrow is a bowl barrow which has a mound 20m in diameter
and reaches a height of 2.25m. Surrounding the mound is a ditch which is
still just visible on the west side and will survive as a buried feature 3m
wide elsewhere.
The most southerly barrow of the group is also a bowl barrow. It has a mound
30m in diameter and 2.5m high. Surrounding the mound is a ditch, traces of
which can still be seen on the east side and which will survive as a buried
feature 3m wide elsewhere.
In a line between this barrow and the bell barrow to the north east are a
further two bowl barrows. These have been greatly reduced by cultivation but
are still visible as low mounds approximately 20m in diameter. They were
partially excavated in 1958 by Faith de Mallet Vatcher who found the remains
of a wooden coffin and a disarticulated burial in the northernmost barrow and
an empty grave in the other. Neither of these barrows would appear to have
had a surrounding ditch.
The monument also includes the sites of a further three barrows. These are no
longer visible on the surface but were also examined by Vatcher who identified
them as saucer barrows. Each had a central area of approximately 18m
diameter, surrounded by a 3m wide ditch, which will survive as a buried
feature, and evidence for an outer bank.
The site of a further possible barrow is thought to lie in the north east
corner of the group. This cannot be confirmed, however, and is not included
in the scheduling.
The telegraph pole and concrete water trough south west of the northernmost
barrow and the fence that surrounds the southernmost barrow 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

Round barrow cemeteries date to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They comprise
closely-spaced groups of up to 30 round barrows - rubble or earthen mounds
covering single or multiple burials. Most cemeteries developed over a
considerable period of time, often many centuries, and in some cases acted as
a focus for burials as late as the early medieval period. They exhibit
considerable diversity of burial rite, plan and form, frequently including
several different types of round barrow, occasionally associated with earlier
long barrows. Where large scale investigation has been undertaken around them,
contemporary or later "flat" burials between the barrow mounds have often been
revealed. Round barrow cemeteries occur across most of lowland Britain, with a
marked concentration in Wessex. In some cases, they are clustered around other
important contemporary monuments such as henges. Often occupying prominent
locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape, whilst
their diversity and their longevity as a monument type provide important
information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst early
prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period
and a substantial proportion of surviving or partly-surviving examples are
considered worthy of protection.

Five of the round barrows in the cemetery 320m south east of Down Farm are
comparatively well preserved examples which, despite erosion caused by
cultivation, still exhibit a recognisable profile. Saucer barrows are one of
the rarest recognised forms of round barrow, with about 60 known examples
nationally. All of the barrows in this group will contain archaeological
remains providing information about Bronze Age beliefs, economy and

Source: Historic England

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