Bowl barrow 400m south east of Melcombe Newton House
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1014575
Date first listed: 11-Jul-1961
Date of most recent amendment: 07-Aug-1996
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: North Dorset (District Authority)
District: West Dorset (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: ST 77733 01365
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
This barrow is a comparatively well preserved example of its class located in a prominent position. Part excavation has provided information about the structure of the barrow and the burials it contains while the remainder of the monument will contain further archaeological remains, providing information about Bronze Age burial practices, economy and environment.
The monument includes a bowl barrow located on a north west slope just below
the top of a spur, adjacent to the parish boundary. The barrow has a mound
which is 25m in diameter and c.2.3m high. The mound is surrounded by a ditch
which, although no longer visible, survives as a buried feature 1.5m wide and
0.7m deep. There is an irregular depression in the top of the mound which is
5.4m east-west by 4.6m north-south and a platform on the western side of the
mound, 3m wide, both of which probably result from the part excavations
carried out in 1916 and 1917 by Major C Ashburnham. The excavation showed that
the barrow was probably constructed in two phases. Initially a flint cairn
capped with chalk, c.10m in diameter and c.2m high, was constructed over a pit
cut into the natural chalk which contained a crouched inhumation. This cairn
was surrounded by a ditch up to 2m wide and 1.2m deep. Other burials,
associated with this first phase of construction, but in secondary positions,
include the remains of the burials of possibly eight other individuals, one of
them a child who had been cremated; these were located either within the mound
or in the top of the ditch. Two further cremations in urns, one with a bronze
awl, were found in the top of the inner ditch. The original cairn was later
enlarged to its current size when a second ditch was dug 3.4m outside the
earlier ditch. This was located in the excavation trench only on the northern
side of the mound and, although there is no visible sign of it on the surface
of the southern side, it will survive as a buried feature. An inhumation was
buried in the top of this enlarged mound. Although the excavation trench was
backfilled its location is still clearly visible and there are many flint
nodules exposed or dumped around the base of the mound (the excavation report
mentions that flints were removed from the trench and rolled down the slope).
All fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath
these features 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: 27374
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Ashburnham, C, 'Procs. Dorset natural Hist. and Archaeological Society' in Opening of the Round Barrow at Melcombe Bingham, , Vol. 38, (1917), 74-80
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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing