Ancient Monuments

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Pair of bowl barrows on Thursley Common

A Scheduled Monument in Thursley, Surrey

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Latitude: 51.1603 / 51°9'36"N

Longitude: -0.702 / 0°42'7"W

OS Eastings: 490862.1761

OS Northings: 140911.7539

OS Grid: SU908409

Mapcode National: GBR DC0.3BY

Mapcode Global: VHDYH.S37C

Entry Name: Pair of bowl barrows on Thursley Common

Scheduled Date: 16 January 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017718

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31381

County: Surrey

Civil Parish: Thursley

Traditional County: Surrey

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Surrey

Church of England Parish: Shackleford and Peper Harow

Church of England Diocese: Guildford


The monument, which falls into two separate areas, includes a pair of roughly
east-west aligned bowl barrows situated 210m apart on the northern slope of a
low, sandstone spur. The barrows lie close to the interface between the drier
heathland on which they are situated and an area of low-lying peat bog to the
north. Each barrow has a circular mound constructed of sand and turves,
measuring around 28m in diameter and up to 2.5m high. The mounds are
surrounded by approximately 2m wide ditches from which material used to
construct the barrows was excavated. These have become largely infilled over
the years, but are represented by a shallow depression visible on the northern
side of the eastern barrow. Both barrows show signs of later disturbance
mainly caused by the intensive use of Thursley Common for army training during
and after World War II.
The barrows were partly excavated in 1959 and 1995. The 1995 investigation
examined the western barrow and revealed a central, rectangular pit dug into
the old land surface beneath the mound.
The temporary wooden log-seat situated on the eastern barrow is excluded from
the scheduling, although the ground beneath it 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

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

Despite some subsequent disturbance, the pair of bowl barrows on Thursley
Common survive well. Part excavation has confirmed that they retain
archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the original use
of the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Graham, D, 'Surrey Archaeological Society Bulletin' in Thursley Common Mounds, , Vol. 298, (1995), 9-10

Source: Historic England

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