bell barrow

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A class of early Bronze Age round barrow found in northwestern Europe and comprising between one and four earth and stone mounds set within a ditched enclosure. They are called bell barrows because, in profile, the mounds resemble the campanile form of medieval and later church bells—a flattish top, slightly flaring sides, and a bevelled skirt around the bottom. The mounds, which are separated from the surrounding ditch by a berm, cover one or more primary burials and often have satellite and secondary burials within the mound. The most common type, the single bell barrow, ranges in size from 10 m to over 60 m in diameter, most being about 40 m across. Many of the primary burials under bell barrows are accompanied by rich grave goods. Compare bowl barrow; fancy barrow.

Subjects: Archaeology.

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