Round barrow cemetery on Lulworth Heath known as `Five Barrows': 400m north-east of The Cat


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Dorset (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SY 87599 84022

Reasons for Designation

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. 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, occasionally associated with earlier long barrows. Where large scale investigation has been undertaken around them, 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. In some cases, they are clustered around other important contemporary monuments such as henges. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape, whilst their diversity and their longevity as a monument type provide important information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving or partly-surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

The round barrow cemetery on Lulworth Heath has survived well and contains archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. These barrows are amongst a number which survive on this piece of heathland between the River Frome and the Dorset coast. The cemetery is of interest in that it contains both bowl barrows and three examples of the less common bell barrows.


The monument includes a round barrow cemetery known as `Five Barrows' lying on lowland heath close to the Dorset coast. The monument includes five of an original group of six barrows, two of which are bowl barrows and three bell barrows. The most southerly barrow is a bowl barrow c.2m high and 19m in diameter. Another bowl barrow, c.1m high and 15.3m across, lies 13.6m to the north of this. Each of these mounds was surrounded by a ditch from which material was quarried during their construction. These can no longer be seen at ground level, having become infilled over the years, but survive as buried features c.2.5m wide. Some 5m due north of the northern bowl barrow is a bell barrow c.2m high and 51.2m in diameter. Surrounding the bell barrow mound is a berm 2m wide and a ditch 6m wide and 1m deep with a later re-cut 3m wide. A second bell barrow c.3m high and 55.4m across with a 2m wide berm lies 4m to the north. The ditch of this barrow is 1.25m deep and 5.2m wide and has probably been re-cut in modern times. The most northerly barrow in the cemetery lies 2m beyond the previous one and is a bell barrow c.2m high with a diameter of 45.9m and a berm 2m wide. The barrow ditch has been re-cut and is 6.2m wide and 1.25m deep.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


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

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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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