This is one of the most impressive barrow cemeteries in Wiltshire. This group of burial mounds includes an early Neolithic long barrow and several Bronze Age round barrows of various shape.
The Early Neolithic Long Barrow
The earliest burial mound in the group is the long barrow, which even today is 84 metres long and some 3 metres high, with clearly visible side ditches. It would have been built between 3750 and 3400BC, making it earlier than the ditch and bank at Stonehenge.
The barrow was excavated in 1863 by John Thurnam, who found a male burial at the north-east end. Three further burials, a male adult and two children, were found higher up in the mound. These were probably secondary burials, dating to the Early Bronze Age, inserted into the mound over one thousand years later.
Bronze Age Burial Mounds
This cemetery includes all the main types of round barrow found in Wessex. The first barrows were built around 2000BC. Two lines of round barrows run in a north-easterly direction from the long barrow. This remarkable group includes pairs of bell, pond and disc barrows as well as 19 bowl barrows. A further cluster of barrows, slightly to the north of the main group, is made up of 5 bowl barrows and a pair of saucer barrows.
Objects were frequently placed with the remains. These grave goods often included bronze daggers and battle-axes, beads and other ornaments. We believe that they indicate the status of the dead, although it is not clear whether the different types of grave goods indicate gender, age or role - some with special types of equipment may have been shaman's graves.
Most prehistoric barrows in the Stonehenge landscape were excavated in the 19th century. Many of the objects found can be seen in the Wiltshire Heritage Museum, Devizes and Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum, Salisbury.