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Monkton Down

Round Barrow(s)


Details of site on Pastscape

(Centred SU 117723) Tumuli (NR) (1)

'A': SU 11647234. A mound, not circular and doubtfully a bowl barrow, 16 paces in diameter and 5ft high (2). Opened by Merewether in 1849 who found animal teeth and bones, fragments of charred wood and a small partially rubbed sarsen stone.
'B': SU 11677231. A bowl barrow, diameter 16 paces; height 6'. Merewether's excavation in 1849 revealed a primary crouched inhumation with type Bi beaker, barbed and tanged arrowhead and two flint flakes overlaid by skulls of two oxen. Secondary deposit of skull of young person apparently contained in type A Beaker.
'C': SU 11777235. Probably a disc barrow but possibly a saucer barrow with overall diameter of 126 feet. Mound diameter 28', height 2 1/2'; berm width 21'; ditch width 13', depth 1'; outer bank width 15', height 1' (2). In 1849 Merewether dug the central mound and under its sarsens below which were other sarsens of considerable size, found boar's tusks and bones and teeth of ox and deer.
Merewether opened another barrow ('D': SU 11657226) not listed by Grinsell. He found the bones and teeth of oxen and deer, small pieces of charcoal in considerable quantities and a cylindrical sarsen 3" in diameter. (2-3)

'A': SU 11637233. An elongated mound 28.0m N-S by 18.0m E-W which merges into the hillslope and has the appearance of natural slumping. There is no evidence of artificial construction.
'B': SU 11657230. An oval bowl barrow approx 21m ENEWSW by 14m and 1.7m high. Small sarsen stones protrude from the mound centre which shows signs of disturbance.
'C': SU 11767235. This barrow resembles more a saucer barrow than a disc barrow, but may be accounted for by the slumping of the central mound as a result of Merewether's excavation. It is oval, 38m NE-SW by 32m overall, with the central mound up to 1.4m high above the ditch, and the outer bank up to 0.3m high.
'D': SU 11637227. A small oval mound 12.0m N-S by 9.0m and up to 1.0m high which conforms in position to Merewether's plan, has apparently been missed by Grinsell. The mound cannot be positively identified as a barrow, due to subsequent use as a field-clearance dump.
Published 25" survey revised. (4)

This area was mapped at 1:10,000 from APs by the Fyfield Down and Overton Down Mapping Project. Two mounds were recorded at SU 11637233 and SU 11657230 ('A' and 'B' above). At SU 11767235 ('C' above) traces of mound material were recorded within a ring ditch 30m in diameter. No mound was recorded at SU 11637227 ('D' above). (5)

Merewether's site plan showed a rather symmetrical layout for the barrow cemetery, comprising long barrow SU 17 SW 45 and the four round barrows, plus an arrangement of sarsens. The mounds either side of the long mound (A and D above) also produced rather similar finds and the central feature, bowl barrow B, producing the 'richest' finds. Concordance with Grinsell and Merewether as follows:

Barrow A = Winterbourne Monkton 7 = Merewether's no. 24;
Barrow B = Winterbourne Monkton 9 = Merewether's no. 28;
Barrow C = Winterbourne Monkton 10 = Merewether's no. 27;
Barrow D = not listed by Grinsell = Merewether's no. 25. (2, 3)

The barrows were re-examined during air photographic mapping for the Avebury World Heritage Site Project. 'A' and 'B' appeared non-circular; the mound at 'C' was irregular and non-circular in appearance within an outer bank. The evidence for 'D' was inconclusive; the location lies in an area of soil dumping. (6-7)

During the course of a survey of 2006 lidar data the barrows were noted to be situated on what appear to be natural spurs of material deposited at the base of Monkton Down. This was confirmed through field assessment. Barrow A appears to be truncated by a field boundary hence its non-circular appearence. Barrow C, or the saucer barrow appears to display a smaller mound supplanted on top of the main mound, perhaps suggesting a secondary barrow. (8)
Chance Posted by Chance
18th July 2015ce
Edited 29th July 2015ce

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