Barrows on Wyke Down
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1002789
Date first listed: 30-Jun-1958
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: East Dorset (District Authority)
Parish: Gussage All Saints
District: East Dorset (District Authority)
Parish: Gussage St. Michael
National Grid Reference: SU 00706 15502, SU 00725 15294, SU 00725 15423, SU 00749 15490, SU 00779 15370, SU 00791 15425, SU 00796 15118, SU 00889 14902, SU 00921 15191, SU 01019 15194
Bell barrow and nine bowl barrows forming part of a round barrow cemetery 920m north east of 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. Round barrow cemeteries date to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They comprise closely spaced groups of up to 30 round barrows - rubble or earthen mounds covering single or multiple burials - or ring ditches, visible only from the air due to levelling of the mounds by cultivation in the historic and modern periods. Most cemeteries developed over a considerable period of time, often many centuries, and in some cases acted as a focus for burials as late as the early medieval period. They exhibit considerable diversity of burial rite, plan and form, frequently including several different types of round barrow. On Cranborne Chase, round barrow cemeteries are associated with earlier features such as long barrows, the Dorset Cursus, and henge monuments. Where excavation has taken place around the barrows, contemporary or later flat burials between the barrow mounds have often been revealed. Round barrow cemeteries occur across most of lowland Britain, with a marked concentration in Wessex, of which that on Cranborne Chase is significant. They are particularly representative of their period, whilst their diversity and their longevity as a monument class provide important information on the variety 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 the reduction in the heights of the mounds through cultivation the bell barrow and nine bowl barrows forming part of a round barrow cemetery 920m north east of 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 22 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 ten areas, includes a bell barrow and nine bowl barrows forming part of a round barrow cemetery situated on the upper slopes of Wyke Down. The bell barrow survives as a circular mound of up to 32m in diameter and 2m high with a buried outer ditch and no clearly discernible earthwork berm. The bowl barrows survive as circular mounds surrounded by buried quarry ditches from which the construction material was derived. The barrow mounds vary in diameter from 20m up to 37m and from 0.3m up to 3m high. Three are crossed by a parish boundary and one lies within the Dorset Cursus.
Further archaeological remains survive within the vicinity, some are scheduled separately but others are not included because they have not been formally assessed.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: DO 299
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
PastScape Monument No:-1313056, 1313086, 1313090, 1313056, 1313069, 1313044, 213526, 1314709, 213593, 213589 and 213752
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