Ancient Monuments

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The Giant's Grave round barrow cemetery

A Scheduled Monument in Aldbourne, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.4862 / 51°29'10"N

Longitude: -1.6484 / 1°38'54"W

OS Eastings: 424510.195592

OS Northings: 176420.435426

OS Grid: SU245764

Mapcode National: GBR 5XQ.Q37

Mapcode Global: VHC1B.CXX1

Entry Name: The Giant's Grave round barrow cemetery

Scheduled Date: 10 March 1925

Last Amended: 11 October 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020537

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30275

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Aldbourne

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire


The monument, which lies within two separate areas of protection, includes
four bowl barrows and a bell barrow aligned approximately east to west along
the spine of a chalk ridge. The bell barrow, the most easterly in the group
and known as the Giant's Grave, has a mound 19.5m in diameter and 2m in
height. The base of the mound is surrounded by a berm up to 4.6m in width,
with an external ditch 3.7m in width and 0.3m in depth. A depression in the
mound 4m in diameter and 0.3m in depth is probably the site of a late 19th
century excavation by Canon Greenwell, who recorded an adult cremation, two
bone pins and a fragment of a barbed and tanged arrowhead. A bowl barrow with
a mound up to 0.7m in height abuts the western side of the Giant's Grave. The
mound is 18m in diameter, mutilated on its eastern side, and abutted in turn
on its western side by a second bowl barrow. The second bowl barrow has a
mound 17m in diameter, 0.8m in height and is surrounded by traces of a ditch
up to 0.3m in depth and 3m in width.

The third and fourth bowl barrows are protected within a separate area lying
250m to the west of the Giant's Grave. The eastern bowl barrow of this pair
has a mound 24m in diameter and 1.2m in height. It was excavated by Canon
Greenwell who found an adult cremation situated within a circular cist,
together with a bone pin, bone tweezers, a wrist guard and pendant. The
western bowl barrow has a mound 15m in width and 0.7m high. It was also
partially excavated by Canon Greenwell and was found to contain an adult
cremation situated within a circular cist. Grave goods buried with the
cremation included pottery, and beads made of shale, bone and shell. Ditches,
from which material was excavated for the monument's construction, surround
both mounds. These have become infilled over the years but survive as buried
features approximately 2m wide.

All fences and trackways 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.

The Giant's Grave 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 substantial example of its kind and contains
examples of two barrow types, of which bell barrows are particularly rare
nationally. Finds recovered from individual barrows during the 19th century
excavations will also add considerably to knowledge of the cemetery.

Source: Historic England


RCHME, NMR: SU 27 NW 029,
RCHME, NMR: SU 27 NW 030,
Wiltshire County Council, SU 27 NW 609,
Wiltshire County Council, SU 27 NW 610,
Wiltshire County Council, SU 27 NW 619,
Wiltshire County Council, SU 27 NW 620,
Wiltshire County Council, SU 32 NW 618,

Source: Historic England

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