Around the edges of Wash Common recreation area are several earthwork mounds and a circular bank.
These Scheduled Monuments make up a barrow cemetery, probably dating back to the Bronze Age although the ring feature may be earlier. This latter barrow was partially excavated in the 1960s, revealing prehistoric worked flint tools and evidence of burning, but no burials.
However, there are other reports of human remains being unearthed when an attempt was made to level the mounds in the mid 19th century.
Buckles, bullets and cannon balls were also apparently found, linking the site to the First Battle of Newbury which was fought over Wash Common in 1643.
Local tradition has it that soldiers (and their horses) were buried in the barrows, and school children continue the practice of laying flowers on the two easternmost mounds where there are memorial stones to the fallen. Nevertheless, these round barrows appear typically Bronze Age in date, and Civil War dead were generally given a Christian burial in churchyards.
Barrows are often also used as markers in the landscape, and the borough boundary formerly ran over the largest barrow. Boys were apparently ‘bumped’ here during the custom of Beating the Bounds, to impress on them the limits of their parish.