Saturday 3 September 2011


These barrow cemeteries are situated on a prominent ridge to the east of Stonehenge. They include at least 14 round barrows (burial mounds) built in the early Bronze Age. They are divided by the Stonehenge Avenue into two groups, the New King Barrows and the Old King Barrows.
A view of King Barrow Ridge in the snow.
A view of King Barrow Ridge in the snow.
© English Heritage NMR, DP136315
The majority of the barrows on King Barrow Ridge are bowl barrows on a north-south alignment but there are also three bell barrows.


Very few of the barrows have been excavated, although unspecified barrows in this group were opened in 1649 and found to contain "coales and pieces of goates hornes and staffes horns", while another contained "a bugle-horn tipt with silver at both end".
In the latter part of the 18th century, the barrows were included in the landscape design of Antrobus Estate. Trees were planted along the ridge and sometimes on top of the burial mounds. This made it more difficult to appreciate their importance in the Stonehenge landscape to which they belong.
Barrows visible amongst the trees in the snow.
The barrows themselves are now much more visible amongst the trees.
© English Heritage NMR, DP136300
Storm damage to these trees in 1987 and 1990 resulted in some archaeological investigation of the cemetery, which showed that the barrows were constructed from turf stacks. It also revealed early Neolithic activity on this ridge, with stake holes and pits, pottery, flint tools, bones and seeds, all pre-dating Stonehenge and the barrow cemetery.