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Group of three round barrows on Ballard Down

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: Group of three round barrows on Ballard Down

List entry Number: 1014294

Location

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

County: Dorset

District: Purbeck

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Swanage

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 20-May-1960

Date of most recent amendment: 25-Jun-2001

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 22996

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

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.

Pond barrows are ceremonial or funerary monuments of the Early to Middle Bronze Age, most examples dating to between 1500 and 1000 BC. The term `barrow' is something of a misnomer as, rather than a mound, they were constructed as regular circular depressions with an embanked rim and, occasionally, an outer ditch or an entrance through the bank. Where excavation has occurred, single or multiple pits or cists, occasionally containing human remains, have usually been discovered within the central depression, whilst at one example a well-like shaft was revealed. Pond barrows occur either singly or, more frequently, within round barrow cemeteries (closely spaced groups of barrows). The function and role of pond barrows is not fully understood but their close association with other groups of barrow and the limited but repeated occurrence of human remains from excavation samples supports their identification as ceremonial monuments involved in funerary ritual. Pond barrows are the rarest form of round barrow, with about 60 examples recorded nationally and a distribution largely confined to Wiltshire and Dorset. They are representative of their period and, as few examples have been excavated, they have a particularly high value for future study with the potential to provide evidence on the nature and variety of beliefs amongst prehistoric communities. Due to their rarity, all identified pond barrows would normally be considered to be of national importance.

The pond barrow and the two bowl barrows on Ballard Down survive comparatively well and are known from partial excavation to contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed.

The monument represents part of a wider group of burial monuments dispersed along the length of Ballard Down.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a group of three round barrows forming a triangular arrangement, situated on Ballard Down, a chalk ridge on the Isle of Purbeck, overlooking Studland Bay to the north east and Swanage Bay to the south east. The two southern examples are bowl barrows and each has a mound composed of earth, flint and chalk. The south western mound, which is 12m in diameter and about 0.65m high, was partially excavated by J H Austen in 1857. The remains of a primary crouched inhumation and a deer antler close to the skull were found in a chalk cut grave 1.5m deep. A secondary extended inhumation of a juvenile, with the head orientated towards the west, was also identified 0.6m below the surface of the barrow mound. The south eastern mound, which has dimensions of 15m in diameter and about 1m in height, was also partially excavated by Austen in 1857. The remains of a primary inhumation and secondary infant inhumation associated with animal bones and an urn were identified. The upper part of an inverted collared urn associated with pieces of bone were also recovered from the area of the mound in 1967. Each of the mounds is surrounded by a ditch from which material was quarried during construction of the monument. The south eastern example was recorded as a slight earthwork during the 1960s. Both ditches have become infilled but each will survive as a buried feature approximately 1.5m wide. The northern of the three round barrows is a pond barrow. This takes the form of a circular depression 10m in diameter and about 0.5m deep, surrounded by an outer bank 1m wide and about 0.2m high. Finds of pottery, burnt bone and shale were recovered from the area of the outer bank by E E Harrison in 1967; these are now held in the Dorset County Museum. All fence posts relating to the field boundary are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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

Books and journals
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 453
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 453
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 453
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 453
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 453
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 453
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 453
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 453
Harrison, E E, Calkin, B, 'Proc Dorset Nat Hist Arch Soc' in Finds from Ballard Down, Swanage, (1967), 140
Harrison, E E, Calkin, B, 'Proc Dorset Nat Hist Arch Soc' in Finds from Ballard Down, Swanage, (1967), 140
Other
Mention barrow ditch,
Mention find of urn on south side,

National Grid Reference: SZ 03976 81311

Map

Map
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This copy shows the entry on 15-Dec-2017 at 12:48:26.

End of official listing