'Three Barrows': Group of three round barrows on the southern edge of Middlebere Heath, 240m NNE of Halfway Inn


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011481

Date first listed: 06-Jul-1959

Date of most recent amendment: 09-Mar-1994


Ordnance survey map of 'Three Barrows': Group of three round barrows on the southern edge of Middlebere Heath, 240m NNE of Halfway Inn
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Dorset

District: Purbeck (District Authority)

Parish: Arne

National Grid Reference: SY 93912 84411


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.

The three bowl barrows on the edge of Middlebere Heath survive well and will contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the barrow group and the landscape in which it was constructed. These barrows are amongst a number which survive in the area of the Purbeck Hills.


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


The monument includes a group of three bowl barrows aligned east-west and situated on a local rise with views to the northeast over Middlebere Heath. The eastern barrow mound measures 35m in diameter and is 2m high. Adjoining this barrow on its west side is another bowl barrow 2m high and 18.3m across. The western bowl barrow, a further 10m to the west, is 2m high and 23m in diameter. Surrounding each mound is a ditch from which material was quarried during its construction. The ditches of the most eastern barrow and of the barrow adjoining it can no longer be seen at ground level, having become infilled over the years, but survive as buried features c.5m and c.3m wide respectively. The ditch of the western barrow has become partially infilled over the years, but can still be seen as a slight depression 2m wide and 0.25m deep. The telegraph pole which lies on the east edge of the western barrow is excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath is included.

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: 21970

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, , County of Dorset , (1970), 435

End of official listing