Two bell barrows 630m north west of West Down Barn


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014851

Date first listed: 24-Jul-1961

Date of most recent amendment: 24-Jul-1996


Ordnance survey map of Two bell barrows 630m north west of West Down Barn
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1014851 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 10-Dec-2018 at 17:26:26.


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

County: Dorset

District: North Dorset (District Authority)

Parish: Winterborne Kingston

County: Dorset

District: North Dorset (District Authority)

Parish: Winterborne Whitechurch

National Grid Reference: SY 84043 98319


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

Reasons for Designation

Bell barrows, the most visually impressive form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating to the Early and Middle Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 1500-1100 BC. They occur either in isolation or in round barrow cemeteries and were constructed as single or multiple mounds covering burials, often in pits, and surrounded by an enclosure ditch. The burials are frequently accompanied by weapons, personal ornaments and pottery and appear to be those of aristocratic individuals, usually men. Bell barrows (particularly multiple barrows) are rare nationally, with less than 250 known examples, most of which are in Wessex. Their richness in terms of grave goods provides evidence for chronological and cultural links amongst early prehistoric communities over most of southern and eastern England as well as providing an insight into their beliefs and social organisation. As a particularly rare form of round barrow, all identified bell barrows would normally be considered to be of national importance.

Despite the fact that one of the two bell barrows 630m north west of West Down Barn has been damaged the other is comparatively well preserved, and it is known from part excavation of one of the barrows that both will contain archaeological remains, providing information about Bronze Age burial practices and economy.


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


The monument includes two adjacent bell barrows, aligned east-west, situated on the parish boundary 630m north west of West Down Barn. The western barrow has a mound which in 1960 was recorded as being c.13m in diameter and now survives as a slightly elongated mound, reduced in width by ploughing, c.1.3m high and covered in dense vegetation. On the northern side of the mound there are slight traces of a berm c.4m wide and a quarry ditch surrounding this, neither of which are visible in the arable field to the south. The ditch will survive as a buried feature c.3m wide. The eastern barrow has a mound, formerly 12m in diameter and c.1m high, surrounded by a berm, c.3m wide and then a ditch, c.3m wide and up to 1.8m deep. The southern half of the eastern barrow was damaged when a hedge and track were bulldozed to enlarge the field, and it now survives as an elongated and irregular earthwork contained within the hedge. The ditch is visible as a slight depression in the hedgeline to the east. Following the disturbance of the mound the southern part of the barrow was excavated in 1968, during which several phases of activity were identified. Following burning and the removal of the topsoil a platform of clay was constructed with a hollow at its centre. A pyre supported on four stakes was built in the hollow. Charcoal from this structure produced a radiocarbon date of 1000 BC. When this had been burnt some of the bones and ash were removed for burial elsewhere after which the mound was constructed. Two secondary cremations in urns were found in pits on the southern part of the berm. Romano-British pottery and two ditches of this date were also found. 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: 27393

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Procs Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Soc.' in Dorset Barrows, (1959), 150
Grinsell, L V, 'Procs Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Soc.' in Dorset Barrows, (1959), 150
White, D A, 'Procs Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Soc.' in The Excavation Of A Bell Barrow At Winterborne Kingston, Dorset, , Vol. 94, (1972), 37-43

End of official listing