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Round barrow cemetery, Roman road and hollow ways 200m south west of Woolmer Cottages

A Scheduled Monument in Selborne, Hampshire

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Latitude: 51.0826 / 51°4'57"N

Longitude: -0.8818 / 0°52'54"W

OS Eastings: 478417.765

OS Northings: 132075.1055

OS Grid: SU784320

Mapcode National: GBR CBD.5VM

Mapcode Global: FRA 9618.87V

Entry Name: Round barrow cemetery, Roman road and hollow ways 200m south west of Woolmer Cottages

Scheduled Date: 12 March 1953

Last Amended: 7 March 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020502

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34144

County: Hampshire

Civil Parish: Selborne

Traditional County: Hampshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Hampshire

Church of England Parish: Blackmoor and Whitehill; St Matthew

Church of England Diocese: Portsmouth


The monument includes a round barrow cemetery of probable Bronze Age date
(2000-700 BC), a 160m section of Roman road, and a series of hollow ways of
probable medieval or post-medieval date situated on a low sandy ridge 200m
south west of Woolmer Cottages. The ridge is oriented north east-south west
alongside the Petersfield Road (A325), which marks the western edge of Woolmer
The round barrow cemetery includes eleven bowl barrows, ten of which are
arranged in a linear fashion along the crest of the ridge, bisected by the
later Roman road and hollow ways. The eleventh barrow is situated part way
down the slope at the southern end of the monument. They are all relatively
closely spaced and include two adjoining pairs situated at each end of the
ridge and a prominent group of three adjoining barrows situated at the centre.
An additional barrow, situated approximately 200m to the north, formerly
formed part of the monument but has now been removed by modern ploughing
and no longer forms part of the scheduling.
The barrows are all roughly circular or slightly oval in shape, ranging from
9m to 26m in diameter and from 0.6m to 2m in height. All are relatively
steep-sided and flat-topped, although the central barrows have been lowered by
later ploughing and the northern and southernmost barrows have been severely
damaged by the modern excavation of military dugouts, in some cases with
mortared brick foundations. There is no trace of a surrounding quarry ditch
around any of the mounds, although such ditches, from which material would
have been obtained for the mounds' construction, may survive as infilled
features. Further buried remains associated with the original construction and
use of the barrows, including burials, grave pits, burial goods, and the
original ground surface can be expected to survive beneath the mounds.
The later section of Roman road follows a straight course across the ridge,
cut at each end by modern ploughing and modern road construction respectively.
It includes a raised central agger, 7m-9m wide, flanked on both sides by
V-shaped ditches, 5m wide and up to 2m deep, a distinctive characteristic of
second class Roman roads. The surface of the agger is flat or slightly cambere
in parts, but has been narrowed and damaged in places by later excavation.
Similarly, the southern ditch is partly infilled towards the modern road by
later excavation, probably related to the modern use of the area as a military
training ground. The Roman road forms part of the Silchester to Chichester
road, the route of which has been traced from aerial photographs by the
Ordnance Survey, and which was partially excavated in 1956 where it extends
across Chapel Common, 5km to the south east. The excavations revealed the
agger was constructed from a thin layer of gravel metalling, placed upon a
substantial cambered foundation layer. There is no firm dating evidence for
the construction of the road, but it is likely to have been built within the
first few decades of the Roman Conquest of AD 43, and will then have quickly
fallen into disuse after AD 410 following the decline of Silchester at the
close of the Roman period.
The Roman road is flanked to the north by the later series of three, flat-
bottomed hollow ways, all approximately 4m wide and 0.5m-1.2m in depth. They
respect the course of the road, but diverge slightly from it towards the south
east. This may represent the later use of the route as a droveway, fanning out
slightly towards Woolmer Pond, and possibly connecting it with the medieval
settlement at Blackmoor, approximately 1km to the north west.
The modern shelter and fences located on the monument are excluded from
the scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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

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.

Roman roads were artificially made up routes introduced to Britain by the
Roman army from approximately AD 43. They facilitated the conquest of the
province and its subsequent administration, and acted as commercial routes and
foci for settlement and industry. Two main types of Roman road are
distinguishable on the basis of construction technique. The first has widely
spaced boundary ditches and a broad elaborate agger comprising several layers
of graded materials. The second usually has drainage ditches and a narrow
simple agger of two or three successive layers. With the exception of the
extreme south west of the country, Roman roads are widely distributed
throughout England and extend into Wales and lowland Scotland. They are highly
representative of the period of Roman administration and provide important
evidence of Roman civil engineering skills as well as the pattern of Roman
conquest and settlement. A high proportion of examples exhibiting good
survival are considered to be worthy of protection.
Although some Roman roads fell out of use soon after the withdrawal of Rome
from the province in the fifth century AD, many continued in use as trackways
or roads down to the present day or served as property boundaries during the
later Saxon and medieval periods. In this later use such trackways continued
to provide communications between individual settlements and linked occupation
areas with their fields and grazing grounds. They are often associated with
the related form of the hollow way which formed droving routes for cattle and
other stock and were also often used to mark the boundary between neighbouring
The prehistoric round barrow cemetery, the Roman road, and the series of
medieval hollow ways situated 200m south west of Woolmer Cottages survive well
and can be expected to retain archaeological potential relating to their
construction and use.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Clarke, A, 'Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club' in The Chichester - Silchester Romand Road, , Vol. 21, (1959), 83-97
Rankine, W F, 'Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club' in Mesolithic Research in East Hampshire, , Vol. 18, (1954), 179

Source: Historic England

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