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Popham Beacons round barrow cemetery

A Scheduled Monument in Overton, Hampshire

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Latitude: 51.1924 / 51°11'32"N

Longitude: -1.2488 / 1°14'55"W

OS Eastings: 452590.718225

OS Northings: 143953.206717

OS Grid: SU525439

Mapcode National: GBR 95X.336

Mapcode Global: VHD0K.99N8

Entry Name: Popham Beacons round barrow cemetery

Scheduled Date: 13 December 1929

Last Amended: 10 June 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017887

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31151

County: Hampshire

Civil Parish: Overton

Traditional County: Hampshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Hampshire

Church of England Parish: Woodmancote with Popham

Church of England Diocese: Winchester


The monument includes a round barrow cemetery prominently situated just north
of the A303 and just west of the Stockbridge road, on a broad south east
facing chalk spur. It consists of a linear arrangement of four very
substantial round barrows and a saucer barrow oriented along the spur over a
distance of about 185m. A sixth barrow, possibly a disc barrow, situated 20m
to the south east, has been levelled by ploughing and is not included in the
scheduling. Two further round barrows situated approximately 150m and 260m to
the west, just on the other side of the Stockbridge road, have also been
removed by ploughing and are also not included in the scheduling.
The most northerly barrow is a slightly elliptical bowl barrow, standing
about 1.6m high with a maximum diameter of 25m, surrounded by a partially
infilled ditch up to 5m wide and 0.2m deep. The second barrow lies
approximately 12m to the south. It is a bell barrow comprising a central mound
surrounded by a 3m wide berm, mutilated by rabbit burrowing and ploughing, and
a partially infilled ditch up to 6m wide and 0.25m deep. The mound and berm
are roughly circular and stand up to 2.4m high with a maximum diameter of
about 26m. These features partly overlie a probable saucer barrow comprising a
low central mound, about 0.2m high and 26m across, surrounded by a ditch, 5m
wide and 0.1m deep, and an outer bank, 10m-12m wide and about 0.15m high. The
fourth barrow also partly overlies the saucer barrow. It is a probable bell
barrow comprising a roughly circular central mound, approximately 2.4m high
and up to 24m across, with traces of a mutilated berm on the east and north
east sides. It is surrounded by a ditch, approximately 6m wide and 0.15m deep.
The fifth barrow lies about 5m to the south. This is a possible bell barrow
comprising a roughly circular central mound, up to 2.4m high and 30m across,
with traces of a mutilated berm. It is surrounded by a partially infilled
ditch, 0.15m-0.25m deep, that is 5m-7m wide to the north and south but widens
to 10m-12m wide to the east and west.
The three most substantial barrows are slightly hollowed in the centre
indicating possible past excavation. The two to the north have exposed flint
rubble cores while that to the south has an exposed core of chalk rubble. All
have been clipped by ploughing and are disturbed by burrowing.
The monument is located on the alignment of a likely Roman road which survives
200m to the south east as a lane running along the edge of Black Wood and to
the north west as discontinuous sections of farm track and woodland boundary.
Popham Beacons has been suggested, in a 1943 publication, to be the location
of a Roman lookout station associated with this road, and have been identified
on maps dating from 1595 as the approximate location of a later Armada beacon
from which the monument gains its name. No archaeological evidence of any of
these features survives however in the field within which the barrows are

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.

The Popham Beacons round barrow cemetery survives well and can be expected to
retain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to
each barrow's construction and use and the landscape in which the cemetery
developed. The cemetery is a spectacular and substantial example of its kind,
situated in a prominent roadside position, and containing examples of three
barrow types, two of which - bell and saucer barrows - are rare nationally.
Further documentary evidence indicates the later importance of the monument as
the site of a lookout station or beacon during the Roman and post-medieval

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club' in Hampshire Barrows, , Vol. 14, (1940), 208-225
White, H T, 'Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club' in The Beacon System in Hampshire, , Vol. 10, (1927), 252-278
Winbolt, S E, Winbolt, V E, 'Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club' in The Winchester-Silchester Roman Road Habitation Sites, , Vol. 15, (1943), 241

Source: Historic England

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