Round barrows near Thickthorn Farm
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- East Dorset (District Authority)
- Gussage St. Michael
- North Dorset (District Authority)
- Tarrant Hinton
- National Grid Reference:
- ST 96448 13165, ST 96613 13116, ST 96625 13040
Long barrow and two bowl barrows at Thickthorn Cross.
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. Long barrows were constructed as earthen or drystone mounds with flanking ditches and acted as funerary monuments during the Early and Middle Neolithic periods (3400-2400 BC). They represent the burial places of Britain's early farming communities and, as such, are amongst the oldest field monuments surviving visibly in the present landscape. Where investigated, long barrows appear to have been used for collective burial, often with only parts of the body selected for internment. Certain sites provide evidence for several phases of funerary monument preceding the barrow and, consequently, it is probable that long barrows acted as important ritual sites for local communities over a considerable period of time. On Cranborne Chase, some long barrows occur in groups and some are also associated with other broadly contemporary monument types, such as the Dorset Cursus. Some long barrows within this area also appear to have acted as foci for later Bronze Age round barrow groups which are concentrated within the surrounding areas. Some 500 examples of long barrows and long cairns, their counterparts in the uplands, are recorded nationally. Long barrows are known to occur across Wessex, and the concentration on Cranborne Chase is particularly significant on account of the range of examples present and their archaeological associations. Long barrows, therefore, form an important feature of the Cranborne Chase landscape. 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 reduction in the heights of the mounds through cultivation the long barrow and two bowl barrows at Thickthorn Cross 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 12 January 2016. 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 three areas, includes a long barrow and two bowl barrows situated on the summit of a ridge on Week Street Down which forms the watershed between two tributaries to the River Allen. The long barrow survives as an oval shaped mound measuring up to 33m long, 21m wide and 0.9m high with traces of parallel flanking ditches visible on the ground and clearly demonstrated on aerial photographs. It has also been interpreted by Barrett et al in 1991 as a U-shaped mound since a southern ditch was also visible on aerial photographs. The axis of the long mound is SSE to NNW reflecting the line of the chalk ridge. The bowl barrows survive as circular mounds surrounded by buried quarry ditches from which the construction material was derived. Both barrow mounds measure up to 15m in diameter and between 0.2m up to 0.6m high. The central barrow has been cut slightly on the southern side by a road. It is thought Warne may have excavated both of these barrows in 1848, but which report refers to which barrow is not possible to determine with accuracy. These barrows also form part of a dispersed group known collectively as the ‘Week Street Down Barrow Group’. They lie on either side of the parish boundaries between Tarrant Hinton and Gussage St Michael.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
- DO 356
- Legacy System:
- RSM - OCN
PastScape Monument No:-210069, 1302933 and 1302930
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