Three bowl barrows in Holme Lane Plantation, 200m south west of Squirrel's Cottages


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


Ordnance survey map of Three bowl barrows in Holme Lane Plantation, 200m south west of Squirrel's Cottages
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Purbeck (District Authority)
East Holme
National Grid Reference:
SY 90668 85294

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 in Holme Lane Plantation, 200m south west of Squirrel's Cottages survive well and are known from partial excavation to contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. The group of small mounds within the vicinity of the barrows represent an unusual association which is not yet fully understood.


The monument includes three bowl barrows arranged around the crest of a knoll, overlooking the Frome Valley to the north, and seven later mounds of unknown function. The barrows each have a mound with maximum dimensions of between 12m to 15m in diameter and between about 0.65m to 1m in height. Partial excavations by J Austen in 1860 identified two urns and a cremation. Further investigation conducted by Wessex Archaeology in 1991 included a contour survey and limited trenching. The barrow mounds were found to be composed of turves, with an upper layer of sand derived from the shallow quarry ditches surrounding the base of the mounds. The quarry ditches varied between 1.2m to 1.9m in width. The barrow mounds were found to overlie an old land surface which was associated with a pollen sample dominated by heather, suggesting that the area already formed heathland prior to the construction of the barrows. The western barrow mound is partially overlain by a small mound on the western side. This is part of a group of 107 such mounds noted by J Austen in 1860. Survey by the Royal Commission on the Historic Monuments of England in 1956 identified 45 examples, set out in parallel rows; most were circular in plan with dimensions of between 2.7m to 4.5m in diameter and between about 0.3m to 0.45m in height. Austen recorded that many examples supported larger trees than the surrounding area and excavation of several of the mounds revealed a composition of burnt furze. In 1956, excavation of a mound by the Royal Commission on the Historic Monuments of England indicated that it was composed of earth and turf piled over an old land surface. The only find was of a stray flint scraper and no internal structure or ditch was identified. Environmental evidence suggests a date between the Iron Age and Medieval period, although the function of these features is uncertain. Many of the mounds recorded in 1860 and 1956 have since been destroyed by clay extraction. Seven mounds within the group mapped in 1956 are included in the scheduling.

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), 445
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 445
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 481-2
Heath est. before const. of barrow,
Heath present before const. of barrow,
Location of ditch by Wessex Arch,
Location of quarry ditch by Wessex Ar,
Mention 1956 RCHME partial excavation, RCHME, National Monuments Record,
Mention identification by Austen, RCHME, National Monuments Record,
Mention part excav. by Wessex Arch,
Mention part excavation by Austen,
RCHME, National Monuments Record,


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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