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. 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 tree growth, the four bowl barrows 865m north east of Squirrel's Corner 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.
The monument, which falls into four areas of protection, includes four bowl barrows situated on the western slopes of a ridge within the Blackbush Plantation, overlooking Water Lake Bottom and the River Crane. The barrows lie in a linear arrangement aligned north to south. The barrows survive as circular mounds surrounded by buried quarry ditches from which the construction material was derived. The mounds vary in size from 14m up to 23m in diameter and from 0.3m up to 1.5m high.
Further archaeological remains in the vicinity are scheduled separately.
PastScape Monument No:-1314626, 1314623, 1314609 and 213571