Dampney Long Barrow

Aerial Photo of Dampney Long Barrow

Dampney Long Barrow as viewed from the east in 1997, a mound of solid chalk projecting above the surrounding farmland.
AP 4 - NMR 15835/27 © Crown Copyright. NMR. Photographer: Roger Featherstone.

The process of discovery for this barrow is a long an potentially confusing one. First recognised as a possible long barrow from Roger Featherstone’s 1997 photography, which appeared to show a white chalky mound sitting proud of the surrounding ploughsoil, the 2001 cropmark photography proved less clear-cut and it required a site visit to confirm the original identification.

The mound measures around 78 metres in length and features a straight ditch on either side. The mound is aligned roughly east-west, with the taller end to the east. The barrow has been built just below the top of a slope, with higher ground to the south, meaning that the mound is highly visible when viewed from the north, but is far more difficult to see from the other side.

Dampney Long Barrow

Dampney Long Barrow viewed from the north, looking up the slope towards the mound, its long profile spanning the entire width of the photograph.

The mound and ditches responded well to the geophysics, with the two flanking ditches particularly prominent. A negative feature in the middle of the mound’s northern side is apparent both on the ground and on the aerial photographs, but shows even more clearly on the gradiometer plot. Initially we thought that it might represent the traces of some early antiquarian digging in to the mound. However, our excavations in 2011 quickly established that it was a backfilled chalk quarry, with pottery and other finds suggesting a possible medieval origin.

Geophysics Image of Dampney Long Barrow

Geophysics Survey of Dampney Long Barrow

What is still puzzling is that the barrow has eluded the attention of archaeologists, yet documentary research by Iain Giles, resident of the neighbouring village of Martin, has confirmed that in the mid-19th century it stood within ‘White Barrow Field’ (it has been named ‘Dampney Barrow’ after the late father of the landowner). Clearly there is still much to uncover about the recent history of the area.