Two bowl barrows on Black Down immediately east of the Hardy Monument


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016729

Date first listed: 29-Nov-1957

Date of most recent amendment: 07-Jul-1999


Ordnance survey map of Two bowl barrows on Black Down immediately east of the Hardy Monument
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Dorset

District: West Dorset (District Authority)

Parish: Portesham

National Grid Reference: SY 61326 87605

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.

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, date from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. Over 10,000 surviving examples are recorded nationally. Despite some disturbance by the possible construction of a windmill on top of the western mound, the two bowl barrows on Black Down immediately east of the Hardy Monument, survive comparatively well and the eastern example is known from partial excavation to contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. The barrows form part of the wider South Dorset Ridgeway group, which represents one of the largest and most concentrated distributions of round barrows in England.


The monument includes two bowl barrows, aligned east-west, situated on the south eastern part of Black Down, overlooking Weymouth Bay to the south east and the Frome Valley to the north east. These form part of a dispersed cemetery of 16 round barrows (of which 15 survive), forming part of the South Dorset Ridgeway barrow group. The additional barrows in the cemetery are the subject of separate schedulings. The barrows each have a mound composed of sand, gravel and turf. The eastern mound has maximum dimensions of 21m in diameter and about 1.2m in height, with a central depression 6m long by 2m wide; this is likely to relate to partial excavation by Cunnington in 1878. The western barrow mound, which is flat topped, is 8m in diameter and about 0.35m high. This mound may have previously supported a windmill as possible foundation trenches were recorded in 1959, but have since become infilled. Surrounding each mound is a ditch from which material was quarried during their construction. These ditches have become infilled over the years, but each will survive as a buried feature, except at the western end, where construction of the Hardy Monument is likely to have destroyed any associated buried deposits.

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: 31914

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 449
Grinsell, L V, 'Procs Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Soc.' in Dorset Barrows, (1959), 126

End of official listing