Ancient Monuments

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Bowl barrow on Copley Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Babraham, Cambridgeshire

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Latitude: 52.1555 / 52°9'19"N

Longitude: 0.2055 / 0°12'19"E

OS Eastings: 550977.6614

OS Northings: 253096.997426

OS Grid: TL509530

Mapcode National: GBR M99.YK2

Mapcode Global: VHHKJ.J20X

Entry Name: Bowl barrow on Copley Hill

Scheduled Date: 1 October 1981

Last Amended: 6 October 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017327

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33345

County: Cambridgeshire

Civil Parish: Babraham

Traditional County: Cambridgeshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cambridgeshire

Church of England Parish: Babraham St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Ely


The monument includes a bowl barrow on Copley Hill. This natural hill, one of
several chalk knolls along the Babraham Road (A1307), stands 17m high and is
crowned by a small mound representing the remains of a Bronze Age barrow. The
mound measures approximately 21m in diameter and is 2m high. Its north western
slope merges with the natural hill, obscuring the precise dimensions of the
mound. The surrounding ditch, from which earth was dug in the construction of
the mound, has become infilled over the years, but will survive as a buried
feature. It is believed to be approximately 3m wide.

Copley Hill lies within an area of archaeological activity on the junction of
Mile Road, a Romanised prehistoric trackway, and the Roman Worsted Street. A
flint tool found on Copley Hill further testifies to prehistoric activity on
the hill. The Copley Hill bowl barrow lies within an extensive area of burial
mounds scattered upon the chalk uplands of north Hertfordshire and south
Cambridgeshire. Nearby, 2.1km to the west, is another bowl barrow, the subject
of a separate scheduling on Little Trees Hill, one of the chalk knolls
adjacent to Copley Hill.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 5 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 bowl barrow on Copley Hill survives as a substantial earthwork with
associated buried features. It is exceptionally well preserved and forms part
of an extensive area of burial mounds scattered upon the chalk uplands of
south Cambridgeshire and north Hertfordshire. This barrow provides substantial
evidence for prehistoric activity in the region and is therefore a focus for
the study of prehistoric society. As the barrow does not appear to have been
excavated, archaeological deposits are expected to remain largely intact.

Source: Historic England

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