The King's Barrow 230m east of Bartlett's Firs


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014295

Date first listed: 09-Mar-1961

Date of most recent amendment: 07-Feb-1996


Ordnance survey map of The King's Barrow 230m east of Bartlett's Firs
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 11-Dec-2018 at 06:35:26.


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 92039 85724


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 King's Barrow 230m east of Bartlett's Firs survives well and is known from part excavation to contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. The barrow is known to have contained a rare example of a tree trunk coffin, as well as an unusual funerary vessel.


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


The monument includes a bowl barrow situated on a low ridge occupying the northern edge of Stoborough Heath within the Isle of Purbeck, overlooking the Frome Valley to the north. The site, which is known as the King's Barrow, has a mound composed of earth, sand and turf with a maximum diameter of 20m and a maximum height of c.1.5m. This is surrounded by a ditch from which material was quarried during the construction of the monument. This has become infilled over the years, but will survive as a buried feature 2m wide. The barrow was partly excavated during 1767 when a primary inhumation without a skull was found wrapped in stitched animal skins within a hollowed out wooden coffin which was 3m long, 1.2m wide and 0.9m deep and orientated north west by south east. The burial was associated with a probable shale cup; this has since been lost, although illustrations suggest that it was decorated with incised lines.

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: 22997

Legacy System: RSM


Mention barrow name,
Mention partial excavations,
Mention primary inhumation,
Mention shale cup,

End of official listing