Group of round barrows on King Down
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1002714
Date first listed: 13-Dec-1929
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This copy shows the entry on 16-Dec-2018 at 12:48:13.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: East Dorset (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: ST 98009 03408, ST 98030 03484, ST 98058 03459, ST 98077 03442
Four bowl barrows 1150m south east of King Down Farm.
Reasons for Designation
Cranborne Chase is an area of chalkland well known for its high number, density and diversity of archaeological remains. These include a rare combination of Neolithic and Early Bronze Age sites, comprising one of the largest concentrations of burial monuments in England, the largest known cursus (a linear ritual monument) and a significant number and range of henge monuments (Late Neolithic ceremonial centres). Other important remains include a variety of enclosures, settlements, field systems and linear boundaries which date throughout prehistory and into the Romano-British and medieval periods. This high level of survival of archaeological remains is due largely to the later history of the Chase. Cranborne Chase formed a Royal Hunting Ground from at least Norman times, and much of the archaeological survival within the area resulted from associated laws controlling land-use which applied until 1830. The unique archaeological character of the Chase has attracted much attention over the years, notably during the later 19th century, by the pioneering work on the Chase of General Pitt-Rivers, Sir Richard Colt Hoare and Edward Cunnington, often regarded as the fathers of British archaeology. Archaeological investigations have continued throughout the 20th century and to the present day.
Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Often superficially similar, although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form and a diversity of burial practices. Over 10,000 bowl barrows are known to survive nationally, of which a cluster of at least 395 examples has been identified on Cranborne Chase. Some of these have been levelled by ploughing but remain visible from the air as ring ditches. Buried remains will nevertheless survive at these sites, both within the ditch fills and associated with the central burial pit. Bowl barrows are particularly representative of their period, whilst their considerable variation of form and longevity as a monument type will provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape and constitute a significant component of the archaeology of Cranborne Chase.
Despite reduction in the heights of the mounds through past cultivation, the four bowl barrows 1150m south east of King Down Farm survive comparatively well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to their construction, relative chronologies, territorial significance, social organisation, ritual and funerary practices and overall landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 16 December 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
This monument, which falls into four areas, includes four bowl barrows situated on the upper east facing slopes of a ridge known as King Down. The barrows survive as circular mounds surrounded by buried quarry ditches from which the construction material was derived. The mounds vary in size from 13.7m up to 20m in diameter and from 0.3m up to 1.8m high. The buried ditches for the two lower barrows are visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs taken in 2002 with a similar but small further ring ditch lying between them.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: DO 104
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
PastScape Monument No:-209471
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing