A linear earthwork and two bowl barrows east of Bokerley Dyke on Blagdon Hill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011007

Date first listed: 01-Aug-1995


Ordnance survey map of A linear earthwork and two bowl barrows east of Bokerley Dyke on Blagdon Hill
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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: Martin

National Grid Reference: SU 05628 18174


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

Reasons for Designation

Linear boundaries are substantial earthwork features comprising single or multiple ditches and banks which may extend over distances varying between less than 1km to over 10km. They survive as earthworks or as linear features visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs or as a combination of both. The evidence of excavation and study of associated monuments demonstrate that their construction spans the millennium from the Middle Bronze Age, although they may have been re-used later. The scale of many linear boundaries has been taken to indicate that they were constructed by large social groups and were used to mark important boundaries in the landscape; their impressive scale displaying the corporate prestige of their builders. They would have been powerful symbols, often with religious associations, used to define and order the territorial holdings of those groups who constructed them. Linear earthworks are of considerable importance for the analysis of settlement and land use in the Bronze Age; all well preserved examples will normally merit statutory protection.

Adjacent to the south western end of the linear earthwork, in the angle between it and Bokerley Dyke, are the two bowl barrows. These, 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 2400-1500BC. 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 have already been destroyed), occurring across 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 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.

Much of the archaeological landscape of Martin Down and the surrounding area is preserved as earthworks or crop marks which together will provide a detailed understanding of the nature and development of early downland agriculture and settlement. The earthwork and two barrows east of Bokerley Dyke on Blagdon Hill survive well and are part of the wider distribution of Bronze Age monuments constructed on Martin Down. These were recently the subject of a detailed survey by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. All three features will contain archaeological and environmental information relating to their construction and use.


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


The monument includes a section of a linear earthwork of probable Bronze Age date running north east from Bokerley Dyke and, in the angle at the junction of the two earthworks, two Bronze Age bowl barrows which are aligned east to west. The monument is on the north facing slope of Blagdon Hill, within the Martin Down National Nature Reserve. The linear earthwork in this scheduling, SM25606, abuts SM25610 (Bokerley Dyke), but for purposes of clarity these monuments have been defined as separate schedulings.

The linear earthwork includes a ditch with a low bank on the upslope side and intermittent evidence of another slight bank on the downslope side; for much of its length the feature appears as a shallow step in the hillside. The earthwork runs for c.180m north east across a moderate slope from Bokerley Dyke, turning slightly to the east above a much steeper slope before petering out after a further 50m. The ditch is c.2.6m wide and has a maximum depth of 1.5m below the upper bank, which is up to 3.5m wide; the lower bank is visible only as a very slight rounding of the slope at the ditch edge. The junction of the earthwork with Bokerley Dyke has been obscured by a track running closely along the edge of the dyke. The western of the two barrows is c.11m north east of Bokerley Dyke. The barrow has a mound c.14m in diameter and up to 1.6m high. Surrounding the mound is a ditch from which material was quarried during the construction of the monument. This has largely been infilled over the years but survives as a shallow feature 0.3m deep and up to 3m wide. A large oval hollow in the mound probably marks the site of antiquarian excavation, of which there are no known records.

The barrow ditches are contiguous, the eastern barrow mound lying only 7m from the western mound. The mound of the eastern barrow is c.12m in diameter and has a maximum height of c.2m, although this may have been accentuated by spoil from antiquarian excavation, the probable site of which is indicated by a large depression in the mound. The encircling quarry ditch is largely infilled but remains visible as a shallow depression up to 2m wide.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


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

Legacy System number: 25606

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Bowen, H C, Eagles, B N (ed), The archaeology of Bokerley Dyke, (1990), 112

End of official listing