Two bowl barrows and a disc barrow 960m north west and a bowl barrow 880m north west of Crab Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016380

Date first listed: 17-Aug-1961

Date of most recent amendment: 22-Dec-1997


Ordnance survey map of Two bowl barrows and a disc barrow 960m north west and a bowl barrow 880m north west of Crab Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Dorset

District: East Dorset (District Authority)

Parish: Shapwick

National Grid Reference: ST 94776 03421, ST 94809 03526


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 three bowl barrows north west of Crab Farm are comparatively well preserved examples of their class and will contain archaeological remains providing information about Bronze Age burial practices, economy and environment. Disc barrows, the most fragile type of round barrow, are funerary monuments of the Early Bronze Age, with most examples dating to the period 1400-1200 BC. They occur either in isolation or in barrow cemeteries. Disc barrows were constructed as a circular or oval area of level ground defined by a bank and internal ditch and containing one or more centrally or eccentrically located small, low mounds covering burials, usually in pits. The burials, normally cremations, are frequently accompanied by pottery vessels, tools and personal ornaments. It has been suggested that disc barrows were normally used for the burial of women, although this remains unproven. However, it is likely that the individuals buried were of high status. Disc barrows are rare nationally, with about 250 known examples, most of which are in Wessex. Their richness in terms of grave goods provides important evidence for chronological and cultural links amongst prehistoric communities over a wide area of southern England as well as providing an insight into their beliefs and social organisation. As a particularly rare and fragile form of round barrow, all identified disc barrows would normally be considered to be of national importance. The disc barrow north west of Crab Farm, despite being reduced in height by ploughing, has been shown by part excavation to survive as a buried feature and will contain archaeological remains.


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


The monument, which lies within two areas, includes two bowl barrows and a disc barrow 960m north west and a bowl barrow 880m north west of Crab Farm, part of a dispersed group on the former Shapwick Common Down. The bowl barrows range in diameter between 22m and 30m and between 0.4m and 1m in height. Surrounding the mounds are quarry ditches from which material was excavated during their construction. The ditch survives partly as a depression on the northern side of the most westerly barrow but otherwise they have become infilled over the years and now survive as buried features approximately 3m wide. A linear feature visible on aerial photographs passes close to both barrows on the south west side and lies partly within the scheduled area. The disc barrow is no longer visible on the ground but can be seen on aerial photographs, and part excavation by the National Trust in 1988 showed that it survives as a ring ditch, 4.2m wide and 1.7m deep, forming a circle about 60m in diameter. Sherds of Middle Bronze Age pottery and a fragment of human pelvis were recovered from the ditch fills suggesting a funerary function. The ditch fills confirm the presence of an original external bank. 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: 29585

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Papworth, M, Archaeological Survey, Shapwick, Kingston Lacy Estate, (1994), 66-67
'Procs Dorset Natural History and Archaeology Society' in The Swan Way Ring Ditch, (1992), 40-64
Papworth M, Archaeological Survey, Shapwick, Kingston Lacy, (1994)

End of official listing