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The Nine Stones: a small concentric stone circle 750m west of Winterbourne Abbas

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: The Nine Stones: a small concentric stone circle 750m west of Winterbourne Abbas

List entry Number: 1011986

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Dorset

District: West Dorset

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Winterbourne Abbas

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 07-Aug-1916

Date of most recent amendment: 11-May-1995

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 22923

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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

Reasons for Designation

Stone circles are prehistoric monuments comprising one or more circles of upright or recumbent stones. The circle of stones may be surrounded by earthwork features such as enclosing banks and ditches. Single upright stones may be found within the circle or outside it and avenues of stones radiating out from the circle occur at some sites. Burial cairns may also be found close to and on occasion within the circle. Stone circles are found throughout England although they are concentrated in western areas, with particular clusters in upland areas such as Bodmin and Dartmoor in the south-west and the Lake District and the rest of Cumbria in the north-west. This distribution may be more a reflection of present survival rather than an original pattern. Where excavated they have been found to date from the Late Neolithic to the Middle Bronze Age (c.2400-1000 BC). It is clear that they were carefully designed and laid out, frequently exhibiting very regularly spaced stones, the heights of which also appear to have been of some importance. We do not fully understand the uses for which these monuments were originally constructed but it is clear that they had considerable ritual importance for the societies that used them. In many instances excavation has indicated that they provided a focus for burials and the rituals that accompanied interment of the dead. Some circles appear to have had a calendrical function, helping mark the passage of time and seasons, this being indicated by the careful alignment of stones to mark important solar or lunar events such as sunrise or sunset at midsummer or midwinter. At other sites the spacing of individual circles throughout the landscape has led to a suggestion that each one provided some form of tribal gathering point for a specific social group. A small stone circle comprises a regular or irregular ring of between 7 and 16 stones with a diameter of between 4 and 20 metres. They are widespread throughout England although clusters are found on Dartmoor, the North Yorkshire Moors, in the Peak District and in the uplands of Cumbria and Northumberland. Of the 250 or so stone circles identified in England, over 100 are examples of small stone circles. As a rare monument type which provides an important insight into prehistoric ritual activity, all surviving examples are worthy of preservation.

The Nine Stones stone circle is a well known example of its class. It survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. The stone circle is one of only four examples known to survive within the area, and its location in a valley bottom is unusual.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a small irregular stone circle situated in a valley bottom in the area of the South Dorset Downs, close to the South Winterbourne stream. The stone circle, commonly known as the `Nine Stones', was first recorded in the 18th century by J Aubrey, W Stukeley and W Hutchins, all of whom described the site much as it appears today. The stones, which are of sarsen or conglomerate, are arranged in an approximate circle with a maximum internal diameter of 8m. The stones are between 1.5m to 0.5m in width and 1.5m to 0.45m in height, although all are partially buried and may be larger than the extent of exposure would suggest. The two largest stones are situated within the northern and western areas of the monument; both have dimensions of approximately 1.5m by 1.5m. The stone settings are, in general, spaced at 1m intervals around the periphery of the circle, although the gap of 3m on the northern side of the monument may indicate a possible entrance. Excluded from the scheduling are all fence posts and gates relating to the field boundaries and the information notice board, although the underlying ground 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.

Selected Sources

Other
Mention of records from 18th century,

National Grid Reference: SY 61078 90429

Map

Map
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This copy shows the entry on 22-Nov-2017 at 04:10:51.

End of official listing