Wight Conservation - Early Bronze Age barrows
This dramatic landscape has been influenced by our ancestors for thousands of
years. The mounds, or barrows, on Mottistone Down are burial sites that
date from the Early Bronze Age, around 4,000 years ago.
Bronze Age settlements were on lower ground but on the chalk downlands arable
crops were grown in small fields and cattle and sheep grazed.
The dead were often cremated and their remains buried in urns as the
illustration depicts. Later a ditch was dug and the material used to
construct a mound to cover the graves. This urn was removed from the first
barrow in 1817.
Succeeding generations have continued to use the land for grazing. The
third mound, known as the Harborough Barrow, has a long history as part of the
national beacon system. It also saw action in World War II as an
Today this is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and the barrows
are Scheduled Ancient Monuments. The area is important for its archaeology
and for several rare species.
Wight Conservation is restoring the landscape. To help maintain the
rich biodiversity cattle grazing is a major conservation tool and reflects the
way these grasslands were managed by early farmers.