Ancient Monuments

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Three bowl barrows, known as Emma's Grove round barrows

A Scheduled Monument in Cowley, Gloucestershire

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Latitude: 51.8421 / 51°50'31"N

Longitude: -2.0959 / 2°5'45"W

OS Eastings: 393485.806429

OS Northings: 215947.770473

OS Grid: SO934159

Mapcode National: GBR 2MW.JWW

Mapcode Global: VH94F.MY9Q

Entry Name: Three bowl barrows, known as Emma's Grove round barrows

Scheduled Date: 25 October 1948

Last Amended: 25 November 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017079

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32381

County: Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: Cowley

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: Coberley St Giles

Church of England Diocese: Gloucester


The monument includes three bowl barrows, known as Emma's Grove round barrows,
situated below the crest of a hill in the Cotswolds. The southern barrow is
the largest, having a mound which measures 32m in diameter, and which is 4.2m
high on its western side and 2m high on the east. In the centre of the mound
is a large depression about 9m in diameter and 1.2m deep, which is thought to
be the result of unrecorded excavation in the past. Surrounding the mound is a
ditch up to 4m wide and 1m deep, from which material was excavated during the
construction of the barrow. To the north west of the large barrow mound is a
second mound, measuring 10m in diameter and 0.6m in height. A third barrow is
situated 25m to the north east. This mound measures 12m in diameter and is
about 1m high. These two smaller barrows also have depressions in the centre
of their mounds which are considered to be the result of unrecorded
excavation. Surrounding each of the smaller mounds are ditches from which
material was excavated during the construction of the barrows. These ditches
are no longer visible at ground level, having become infilled over the years,
but survive as buried features about 2m wide.
The three barrows appear to represent at least two phases of construction,
with the two smaller barrows predating the larger barrow.

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

Although the mounds of the three barrows known as Emma's Grove round barrows
have been disturbed, they survive well and will contain evidence for primary
and secondary burials, along with grave goods, which will provide information
about prehistoric funerary practices and about the size of the local community
at that time. The barrow mounds will also preserve environmental information
in the buried original ground surface, predating the construction of the
barrows and giving an insight into the landscape in which the monument was
set. The mounds and their surrounding ditches will also contain environmental
evidence in the form of organic remains, which will relate both to the barrows
and the landscape within which they were constructed. The sequential
construction of the barrows will provide an insight into changes in burial
rituals and construction techniques over time. The open areas between the
barrows are also significant as they will contain satellite burials, grave
goods and other artefacts connected with the construction of the barrows,
which will provide information about the monument's role within prehistoric

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
O`Neil, H E, Grinsell, L V, 'Proc of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Arch Soc' in Gloucestershire Barrows, , Vol. LXXIX, (1960), 109

Source: Historic England

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