Pond barrow

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Engraving of a pond barrow by Richard Colt Hoare
A possible[1] Atlantic pond barrow in Galicia (Spain)

A pond barrow is a burial mound, circular in shape, well formed, and with an embanked rim made of the earth taken from the depression made in the ground.

In the barrow's centre there is generally a pit or shaft, sometimes containing a burial, sometimes of great depth. The barrows range from 5m to 30m (16.5 – 100 ft) in diameter. They are usually difficult to recognise, as time has rendered them less and less visible.

History of the pond barrow[edit]

It is generally agreed that the pond barrows were mainly built during the middle of the second millennium BC, mostly in Wiltshire and Dorset.

They were first defined by Sir Richard Colt Hoare in 1810 in a book regarding the ancient history of south Wiltshire, but they were first excavated by William Stukeley earlier. The term, however, was invented by Hoare, although "barrow" refers to a hill and so this is a fairly misleading term.


The fact that only small amounts of human remains are found in the barrows suggests that they may have been used as ceremonial focuses rather than graves, and that mortuary rituals may have been carried out with them. Other possible uses include wells, for communications with the underworld and for dancing in.


  1. ^ Maciñeira, Federico; Bares. Puerto Hispánico de la Primitiva Navegación Occidental, CSIC - Instituto Padre Sarmiento de Estudios Gallegos. Santiago de Compostela, 1947 (ed. fac-simile OCLC 22954872).