Two bell barrows and a bowl barrow 400m south-west of Oak Tree Farm: part of the Coombe Beacon round barrow cemetery


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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

Dorset (Unitary Authority)
Coombe Keynes
National Grid Reference:
SY 86155 84476

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 two bell barrows and the bowl barrow on Coombe Heath, forming part of the Coombe Beacon barrow cemetery, have survived well and contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. This group is one of several to survive on this piece of heathland between the River Frome and the Dorset coast.


The monument includes two bell barrows and a bowl barrow, situated on lowland heath close to the Dorset coast and forming part of the Coombe Beacon round barrow cemetery. The bell barrows, aligned north - south, are spaced c.20m apart with a small bowl barrow abutting the ditch of the southernmost bell barrow on its north-east side. The bell barrow mounds are 2.5m high and 17m and 14m in diameter, each including a sloping berm 4m wide. Each mound is surrounded by a ditch c.3m wide from which material was quarried during the construction of the monument. The ditch of the northern bell barrow is 0.25m deep, that of the southern barrow is 0.4m deep. Beyond each ditch are traces of an outer bank. That of the northernmost barrow can be seen most clearly; it is 4m wide and 0.2m high. The mound of the small bowl barrow, lying to the north-east of and abutting the ditch of the southernmost bell barrow, is 12m in diameter and 0.75m high. The mound is surrounded by a ditch which can no longer be seen at ground level, but survives as a buried feature c.2m wide.

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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