Two bowl barrows and a bell barrow on Matley Heath


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009880

Date first listed: 16-Sep-1963

Date of most recent amendment: 11-Jun-1992


Ordnance survey map of Two bowl barrows and a bell barrow on Matley Heath
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Hampshire

District: New Forest (District Authority)

Parish: Denny Lodge

National Park: NEW FOREST

National Grid Reference: SU 33605 08279


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

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. There are over 10,000 surviving bowl barrows recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring across most of lowland Britain. 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 and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Bell barrows, the most visually impressive form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating to the early and middle Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 1600 - 1300 bc. The burials are frequently accompanied by weapons, personal ornaments, and pottery and appear to be those of aristocratic individuals, usually men. Bell barrows are rare nationally, with less than 250 known examples, most of which are in Wessex. Their richness in terms of grave goods provides evidence for chronological and cultural links amongst early Prehistoric communities over most of southern and eastern England. As a particularly rare form of round barrow, all identified bell barrows would normally be considered to be of national importance. Despite evidence for partial excavation, the Matley Heath monument is important in view of the association between bowl and bell barrows, giving an indication of the nature of burial in this area during the Bronze Age period. Furthermore, the New Forest is known to have been important in terms of lowland Bronze Age occupation. A considerable amount of archaeological evidence has survived in this area because of a lack of agricultural activity, the result of later climatic deterioration, development of heath and the establishment of a Royal Forest.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes a cluster of three round barrows situated on a north to south orientated ridge overlooking the valley of the River Beaulieu. All three barrows have a hollow in the centre of the mound suggesting previous robbing or early partial excavation. The eastern bowl barrow mound measures 15m in diameter and stands up to 1.5m high. A ditch, from which material was quarried during the construction of the barrow, surrounds the mound. This has become partly infilled over the years but survives as a slight earthwork 1.5m wide and 0.35m deep. On the north-eastern outside edge of the ditch a slight bank measuring 2m wide and up to 0.2m high survives. The northern bell barrow mound measures 6m in diameter, stands up to 0.9m high and has a 3.25m wide berm. The ditch has become partly infilled but survives as a slight earthwork 0.8m wide and 0.15m deep. The western bowl barrow mound measures 15m in diameter and stands up to 1.8m high. The associated ditch survives as a 1.6m wide and 0.4m deep earthwork which is particularly pronounced on the south edge of the mound.

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.

Legacy System number: 20226

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club' in Hampshire Barrows, , Vol. 14, (1938), 360
Darvill, T C, Monument Class Description - Bell Barrows, 1989,
Darvill,T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Bowl Barrows, (1988)
Hampshire County Planning Department, SU30NW39A,

End of official listing