Two Late Iron Age or Romano-British enclosed settlements with part of an associated field system 420m NNW of South Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Location Description:
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Location Description:
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
Dorset (Unitary Authority)
Tarrant Hinton
National Grid Reference:
ST 91969 10918

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. Later Iron Age and Romano-British occupation occurred widely across Cranborne Chase and included a range of settlement types. The surviving remains comprise farmsteads, hamlets, villages and hillforts, which together demonstrate an important sequence of settlement. The non-defensive enclosed farm or homestead represents the smallest and simplest of these types. There are over 50 recorded examples within the area which are thought to date to this later Iron Age and Romano-British period. Most early examples are characterised by a curvilinear enclosure with round buildings, although these are sometimes superseded by rectilinear or triangular shaped enclosures with rectilinear buildings. On Cranborne Chase, many examples were occupied over an extended period and some grew in size and complexity. Despite reduction in the heights of the earthworks through cultivation, the two Late Iron Age or Romano-British enclosed settlements with part of an associated field system 420m NNW of South Farm survive comparatively well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to their construction, development, longevity, social organisation, agricultural practices, domestic arrangements, interrelationship, relative chronologies and overall landscape context.


The monument includes two Late Iron Age or Romano-British enclosed settlements with part of an associated field system, situated on gently-sloping chalk downland between North and South Tarrant Hinton Downs, overlooking the valley of The Tarrant. The two enclosed settlements survive as two oval enclosures, separated by a valley, with an interconnecting hollow way and associated with a series of irregular angular enclosures and part of a field system, all defined differentially by a series of banks, ditches and buried deposits and structures visible on aerial photographs. The northern enclosure measures approximately 182m by 137m and is crossed by two tracks. It is defined to the north and west by a ditch between two banks and to the south and east by a low bank between ditches. Slight hollows have been noted within the interior. A ditch or hollow way of up to 9m wide and 0.5m deep runs southwards to link the first enclosure with the second on its eastern side. The second is also oval and measures approximately 259m long by 152m wide, defined by a bank between ditches on the south and east and by a bank with an external ditch to the north and west. The interior contains numerous hollows and surface irregularities representing occupation. Chance surface finds made in 1968 and 1969 have included Iron Age pottery, Samian and New Forest wares, flanged bowls, parts of stone mortars and a rotary quern, roof tiles, nails and the point of a goad. A boundary dyke extends to the south west and, although largely preserved as buried features, includes a ditch with two side banks. A further circular depression of 20m in diameter and 1.5m deep is surrounded by a partial outer bank and a hollow way leading to it has been identified to the east of the larger enclosure. A mound to the north implies the outer bank may once have completely surrounded this depression. There is a further 20m diameter and 0.7m high circular mound which may be a bowl barrow or undated surface quarry workings. The diversity of surface finds indicates prolonged periods of habitation in these enclosures. Further archaeological remains survive in the vicinity some are the subject of separate. The surfaces of tracks and the field boundaries which cross the monument are excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath these features is included.

Sources: HER:- PastScape Monument No:-210182


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

Legacy System number:
DO 481
Legacy System:


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.

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