Round barrow cemetery immediately south east of Maiden Castle


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Round barrow cemetery immediately south east of Maiden Castle
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

West Dorset (District Authority)
Winterborne Monkton
National Grid Reference:
SY 67445 88265, SY 67504 88204

Reasons for Designation

Round barrow cemeteries date to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They comprise closely-spaced groups of up to 30 round barrows - rubble or earthen mounds covering single or multiple burials. Most cemeteries developed over a considerable period of time, often many centuries, and in some cases acted as a focus for burials as late as the early medieval period. They exhibit considerable diversity of burial rite, plan and form, frequently including several different types of round barrow, occasionally associated with earlier long barrows. Where large scale investigation has been undertaken around them, contemporary or later "flat" burials between the barrow mounds have often been revealed. Round barrow cemeteries occur across most of lowland Britain, with a marked concentration in Wessex. In some cases, they are clustered around other important contemporary monuments such as henges. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape, whilst their diversity and their longevity as a monument type provide important information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving or partly-surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Despite some reduction by ploughing, the round barrow cemetery immediately south east of Maiden Castle is known from survey and part excavation to contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. The cemetery contains disc and pond barrows, both rare types of round barrow. This forms one of three round barrow cemeteries to survive in the immediate vicinity of Maiden Castle.


The monument, which falls into two areas, includes a cemetery containing five round barrows, all situated on a gentle, south east facing slope, to the south east of Maiden Castle. The barrows were surveyed by the Ordnance Survey in 1955, and recorded by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England (RCHME) in 1970.

The north western example is a bowl barrow, visible as a mound composed of earth, chalk and flint, with maximum dimensions of 16m in diameter and c.0.4m in height. The mound is surrounded by a quarry ditch which has become infilled over the years, but will survive as a buried feature c.1.5m wide.

To the south east are a pair of round barrows aligned north east-south west. The north eastern example is a pond barrow, defined by a bank which, although reduced by ploughing, is known from aerial photographic evidence to survive in part defining an area 18m in diameter. The south western example represents a bowl barrow, visible as a mound 28m in diameter and c.0.45m high. The mound is surrounded by a quarry ditch which has become infilled, but which will survive as a buried feature c.2m wide.

Further to the south east, are a pair of disc barrows aligned north west by south east. Survey by the RCHME demonstrated that the north west barrow has a central mound 18m in diameter surrounded by a ditch and outer bank, forming an overall diameter of 45m. The outer bank has been reduced by ploughing and the quarry ditch has become infilled, but will survive as a buried feature. The south eastern disc barrow is now visible as a mound with maximum dimensions of 31m in diameter and c.0.25m in height. Despite reduction by ploughing, the outer bank and ditch of the south eastern barrow are known to survive and to intersect and cut through the bank and ditch of the barrow to the north west. The south eastern disc barrow was partly excavated by Skinner in 1833-4, when a central cist containing a cremation in an upright urn was discovered.

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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 466
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 466
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 466
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 465-6
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 465-6
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 465-6
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 465-6
Aerial photograph showing ditch,
Mention barrow mound,
Mention reduction in barrow height,
Mention second disc barrow nearby,
Mention wider cemetery,
Mention wider round barrow cemetery,
Reference aerial photographs of ditch,
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 Series Source Date: 1955 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Mapped depiction


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

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