Ancient Monuments

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Two bowl barrows and a pond barrow, 720m and 760m north east of Wood Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Mere, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.1068 / 51°6'24"N

Longitude: -2.2753 / 2°16'31"W

OS Eastings: 380821.938454

OS Northings: 134206.157829

OS Grid: ST808342

Mapcode National: GBR 0TX.FLD

Mapcode Global: VH980.JF0V

Entry Name: Two bowl barrows and a pond barrow, 720m and 760m NE of Wood Farm

Scheduled Date: 17 September 1955

Last Amended: 19 March 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017707

English Heritage Legacy ID: 26861

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Mere

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: Mere St Michael the Archangel

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument, which lies within two areas, includes two bowl barrows and a
pond barrow. The barrows, which are aligned north-south, lie on a south west
facing spur 720m and 760m north east of Wood Farm.
The southern bowl barrow has a mound, 12m in diameter and 0.8m high. A
backfilled trench running north west-south east across the mound, 8.5m long
and 1m wide, is most probably the site of the early 19th century excavation by
Colt Hoare, who recorded a primary cist with fragments of a large urn.
The second bowl barrow lies 34m to the north. This has a mound, 11m in
diameter and 0.4m high, in the centre of which is a small hollow. Each of the
bowl barrow mounds is surrounded by a quarry ditch, visible at least in part
as a depression 2m wide, from which material was excavated during its
The pond barrow, which lies 10m to the south west of the southern bowl barrow,
has a hollow central area, 7m in diameter and 0.8m deep, surrounded by a bank,
3.5m wide and 0.10m high.

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 bowl barrows 720m and 760m north east of Wood Farm are, despite limited
excavation, comparatively well preserved examples of their class. Pond
barrows are ceremonial or funerary monuments of the Early to Middle Bronze
Age, most examples dating to between 1500 and 1000 BC. The term 'barrow' is
something of a misnomer as, rather than a mound, they were constructed as
regular circular depressions with an embanked rim and, occasionally, an outer
ditch or entrance through the bank. Where excavation has taken place, single
or multiple pits or cists, sometimes containing human remains, have
occasionally been found within the central depression, whilst in one example
a well-like shaft was discovered. Pond barrows occur either singly or, more
frequently, within round barrow cemeteries (closely spaced groups of barrows).
The function and role of pond barrows is not fully understood but their close
association with other types of barrow and the limited but repeated occurrence
of human remains from excavated examples supports their identification as
ceremonial monuments involved in funerary ritual.
Pond barrows are the rarest form of round barrow, with about 60 examples
recorded nationally and a distribution largely confined to Wiltshire and
Dorset. They are representative of their period and, as few examples have been
excavated, they have a particularly high value for future study with the
potential to provide important evidence on the nature and variety of beliefs
amongst prehistoric communities. Due to their rarity, all identified pond
barrows would normally be considered to be of national importance.
The pond barrow 710m north east of Wood Farm is a well preserved example of
its class. All three of the barrows will contain archaeological deposits
providing information about Bronze Age beliefs, economy and environment and
they form an integral part of the formalised later prehistoric landscape on
White Sheet Hill.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 182,225
Hoare, R C, Ancient History of Wiltshire, (1812), 44

Source: Historic England

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