Bowl barrow and cross dyke on Knowle Hill, 500m NNE of St Peter's Church

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014838

Date first listed: 22-Jul-1964

Date of most recent amendment: 14-Feb-1997

Map

Ordnance survey map of Bowl barrow and cross dyke on Knowle Hill, 500m NNE of St Peter's Church
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Dorset

District: Purbeck (District Authority)

Parish: Church Knowle

County: Dorset

District: Purbeck (District Authority)

Parish: Corfe Castle

National Grid Reference: SY 94389 82371

Summary

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.

Cross dykes are substantial linear earthworks typically between 0.2km and 1km long and comprising one or more ditches arranged beside, and parallel to, one or more banks. They generally occur in upland situations, running across ridges and spurs. They are recognised as earthworks or as cropmarks on aerial photographs, or as a combination of both. The evidence of excavation and analogy with associated monuments demonstrates that their construction spans the millennium from the Middle Bronze Age, although they may have been reused later. Current information favours the view that they were used as boundary markers, probably demarcating land allotment within communities, although they may have been used as trackways, cattle droveways or defensive earthworks. Cross dykes are one of the few monument types which illustrate how land was divided up in the prehistoric period. They are of considerable importance for any analysis of settlement and land use in the Bronze Age. All well preserved examples are considerd to be of national importance.

Despite some plough reduction, the bowl barrow and cross dyke on Knowle Hill, 500m NNE of St Peter's Church survive well and are known from part excavation to contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. The bowl barrow forms the western of a group of three situated on the eastern part of Knowle Hill.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a bowl barrow and a north-south aligned cross dyke situated on Knowle Hill, a chalk ridge of the Isle of Purbeck, overlooking Poole Harbour to the north east. The bowl barrow forms part of a group of three which occur at the eastern end of Knowle Hill. The cross dyke forms the eastern outlier of a group which is associated with an Iron Age hilltop enclosure on Knowle Hill.

The bowl barrow has a mound composed of earth, flint and chalk, with a maximum diameter of 18m and a maximum height of c.0.7m. This is surrounded by a ditch from which material was quarried during the construction of the monument. The ditch has become infilled over the years, but it will survive as a buried feature c.2m wide.

Part excavations by J H Austen in 1856 identified a central contracted inhumation within a central chalk-cut grave with dimensions of 2.4m by 2.7m and 2.8m deep. Antler pottery and shale fragments were discovered within the chalk packing of the grave. Two contracted inhumations were discovered in stone cists 2.7m west and south east of the centre and an extended inhumation was identified c.0.6m below the surface of the mound protected by a layer of stones.

The cross dyke includes a bank composed of earth, flint and chalk with maximum dimensions of 82m in length, 7m wide and c.0.6m high. The bank is breached by a gap 6.5m wide, 20m from the northern end. This is likely to represent a comparatively modern entrance.

The bank is bordered to the east by a quarry ditch visible as an earthwork 4.5m wide and c.0.5m deep. The area of ditch to the north of the gap in the bank has been infilled by spoil from part excavations at the adjacent bowl barrow.

The fence posts relating to the modern field boundaries are excluded from the scheduling 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.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 28325

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 442
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 442
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 442
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 442
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 442
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 442
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 442
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 442
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 442

End of official listing