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Snail Down

Barrow / Cairn Cemetery


Details of Barrow Cemetary on Pastscape

A Bronze Age barrow cemetery originally comprising approximately 29 barrows with several other isolated from the main group to the south west. Most of the barrows were investigated by Colt Hoare in the 19th century with further excavations carried out in the 1950s by Thomas with finds deposited at Devizes Museum. The barrows suffered considerable damage during the Second World War from tanks and it is believed that at least ten were obliterated.

(Centred SU 217520) Tumuli (NR). (1)
A barrow cemetery comprising of bowl, bell, disc and saucer barrows on Snail Down (see plan). Excavation by Thomas in 1953, 1955 (3) and 1957 (4), following damage by tanks during the 1939-45 war, has now obliterated ten of the original twenty-nine barrows. There are several more barrows isolated from the main group to the south-west (SU 25 SW 9 and SU 25 SW 92).
The barrows have been recorded incorporating the numbering schemes adopted by Thomas (2-4), Grinsell (5), and Colt Hoare (6). All the barrows excepting Thomas's 9 (SU 25 SW 125), 11 (SU 25 SW 126), 12 (SU 25 SW 127), 25 (SU 25 SW 116) and 4 (SU 25 SW 104) or 6 (SU 25 SW 122) were excavated by Colt Hoare. (5-6)
Thomas's barrows 5-13 (2) (SU 25 SW 121-128) comprises of a group of nine small bowl barrows, some touching. They were
constructed by scraped-up topsoil but excavation has almost destroyed them, some at least apparently contained burials
after cremation. The barrows had been built over the remains of an earlier occupation site. A large number of post and stake-
holes together with sherds of beakers and grooved ware, and stone and flint implements. The finds from the excavations went to Devizes Museums. (2-4)
Twenty eight features were published on the OS 25" c. 1910 of which one, that between Thomas's 3 (SU 25 SW 103) and 6 (SU 25 SW 122) at SU 21635206 was evidently not in existence by 1957 since it is not recorded by Grinsell or noted by Thomas. It is conceivably the site of a further barrow. Two previously unpublished barrows Thomas's 11 (SU 25 SW 126) and 28 (SU 25 SW 119), were recorded and excavated and are now reduced to 'sites', with nine others, 1 (SU 25 SW 101), 6 (SU 25 SW 122), 9 (SU 25 SW 125), 11 (SU 25 SW 126), 12 (SU 25 SW 127), 13 (SU 25 SW 128), 21 (SU 25 SW 112), 23 (SU 25 SW 114), 24 (SU 25 SW 115), which were published. Most of the eighteen surviving barrows are damaged to some extent and there is clearly an unofficial tank route which crosses all the larger mounds. The dimensions given for the barrows are substantially correct
OS 1:2500 survey revised. (7)
This barrow cemetery was surveyed at 1:1000 by RCHME field staff as part of the SPTA Project (for further details see project archive). Set in open chalk downland, the cemetery comprises 28 barrows set in a loose arc, and deliminated by a series of linear ditches. A `celtic' field system underlies the linear ditches. (8)

( 1) Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date) OS 6" 1926
( 2) Nicholas Thomas 1960 A guide to prehistoric England Page(s)15,20,223-7
( 3) The Wiltshire archaeological and natural history magazine 56, 1955-6 Page(s)127-48
( 4) The Wiltshire archaeological and natural history magazine 57, 1958-60 Page(s)5-8
( 5) edited by R B Pugh and Elizabeth Crittall 1957 A history of Wiltshire: volume 1, part 1 The Victoria history of the counties of England 1, 1957 Page(s)209, 213-4,217,223
( 6) by Sir Richard Colt Hoare; introduction by Jack Simmons and D D A Simpson 1975 The ancient history of Wiltshire 1, 1812 Page(s)181-5
( 7) Field Investigators Comments F1 NVQ 04-APR-72
( 8) Field Investigators Comments D Field/12-12-93/RCHME:SPTA Project
Chance Posted by Chance
9th August 2012ce

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