Ancient Monuments

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Three round barrows forming the core of a dispersed barrow cemetery on Idstone Down

A Scheduled Monument in Ashbury, Oxfordshire

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Latitude: 51.5274 / 51°31'38"N

Longitude: -1.605 / 1°36'17"W

OS Eastings: 427499.032285

OS Northings: 181019.102059

OS Grid: SU274810

Mapcode National: GBR 5XD.324

Mapcode Global: VHC15.4VCY

Entry Name: Three round barrows forming the core of a dispersed barrow cemetery on Idstone Down

Scheduled Date: 3 January 1963

Last Amended: 16 November 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018655

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28147

County: Oxfordshire

Civil Parish: Ashbury

Traditional County: Berkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Oxfordshire

Church of England Parish: Ashbury

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument includes three Bronze Age round barrows which form the core of a
dispersed linear barrow cemetery situated on the crest of Idstone Down. The
three barrows forming this monument along with a further nine barrows, some of
which are scheduled separately, run roughly north west to south east with this
concentrated group lying roughly at the centre.
All three barrows survive as upstanding earthworks and are located in a line
oriented roughly east to west. The barrows' central mounds measure, from east
to west, 18m, 18m and 16.5m in diameter and they stand 1.5m, 1.6m and 1.3m
high respectively.
The barrows all lie close together and would originally have been surrounded
by interlocking ditches which have become infilled by past cultivation. These
ditches will however survive buried below the modern ground level.
The central and eastern barrows both have central depressions which are the
result of antiquarian investigation, no details of which are known. More
recent field recording in the area identified a large concentration of flint
cores and tools numbering over 1400 items, situated in the field immediately
west of the barrows.

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.

These three barrows on Idstone Down survive well despite part excavation of
two of the mounds. Archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the
construction, function and landscape in which the barrows were built will
survive buried within the mounds, beneath them and within the infilled
ditches. The barrows form the focus of a wider group around which other
prehistoric activity is believed to be concentrated.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Tingle, , Gaffney, , 'British Archaeological Report' in The Maddle Farm Project, , Vol. 200, (1989), 29
PRN 7340, C.A.O., Barrow Group, (1989)

Source: Historic England

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