Settlement on Dickley Hill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1002852

Date first listed: 09-Dec-1960


Ordnance survey map of Settlement on Dickley Hill
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Dorset

District: West Dorset (District Authority)

Parish: Cerne Abbas

National Grid Reference: ST 65744 00322


Part of an enclosed Iron Age farmstead and its associated field system and a bowl barrow 545m WSW of Barton Manor.

Reasons for Designation

The size and form of Iron Age enclosed settlements vary considerably although farmsteads are generally represented by curvilinear enclosures containing evidence of a small group of circular domestic buildings and associated agricultural structures. The surrounding enclosures would have provided protection against cattle rustling and tribal raiding. In central and southern England, most enclosed Iron Age farmsteads are situated in areas which are now under intensive arable cultivation. As a result, although some examples survive with upstanding earthworks, the majority have been recorded as crop- and soil-marks appearing on aerial photographs. Field systems associated with such enclosures can be square, rectangular, long and narrow, triangular or polygonal in shape. The field boundaries can take various forms (including drystone walls, orthostats, earth and rubble banks, pit alignments, ditches, fences and lynchets) and follow straight or sinuous courses. Component features common to most systems include entrances and trackways. The development of field systems is seen as a response to the competition for land which began during the later prehistoric period. The majority are thought to have been used mainly for crop production, evidenced by the common occurrence of lynchets resulting from frequent ploughing, although rotation may also have been practised in a mixed farming economy. They represent a coherent economic unit often utilised for long periods of time and can thus provide important information about developments in agricultural practices in a particular location and broader patterns of social, cultural and environmental change over several centuries. Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period 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. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation of form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period. Despite reduction in the heights of the earthworks through cultivation the part of an enclosed Iron Age farmstead and its associated regular aggregate field system and a bowl barrow 545m WSW of Barton Manor survive comparatively well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to their construction, development, longevity, interrelationship between different types of monument, agricultural and ritual practices, domestic arrangements and overall landscape context.


See Details.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 26 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 includes part of an enclosed Iron Age farmstead and its associated field system and a bowl barrow situated on the upper east facing slopes of the prominent Dickley Hill overlooking the valley of the River Cerne. The part of the enclosed settlement survives differentially as both upstanding earthworks and buried features and deposits. It is defined to the east by a bank of up to 6m wide and 0.5m high with an inner ditch of 5m wide and 0.8m deep and has an inturned entrance. To the south aerial photographs indicate the enclosure turns abruptly and merges with boundaries associated with the surrounding field system. The western side is defined by a roughly 70m length of bank and buried ditch which survives as a slight scarp. Within the interior of the enclosure at least four hut circles have been identified two of which are conjoined. The internal diameters vary between 9m and 11m and the surrounding banks stand up to 0.4m wide and 0.3m high. The interiors are level and slightly depressed. Also within the enclosure is a bowl barrow which survives as a circular mound measuring up to 8m in diameter and 0.7m high surrounded by a buried quarry ditch from which the construction material was derived. To the east a series of roughly rectangular fields defined by banks of up to 6m wide and 0.7m high with lynchets of 8m wide and 2m high form part of the associated field system.

A further bowl barrow to the south is the subject of a separate scheduling.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: DO 461

Legacy System: RSM - OCN


PastScape Monument No:-198983 and 198984

End of official listing