Bowl barrow on St Aldhelm's Head, 470m north east of St Aldhelm's Chapel


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017267

Date first listed: 14-Mar-2000


Ordnance survey map of Bowl barrow on St Aldhelm's Head, 470m north east of St Aldhelm's Chapel
© 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.
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 - 1017267 .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 21-Jan-2019 at 03:06:23.


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

County: Dorset

District: Purbeck (District Authority)

Parish: Worth Matravers

National Grid Reference: SY 96328 75955


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 bowl barrow on St Aldhelm's Head survives well and is known from partial excavation to contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed.


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


The monument includes a bowl barrow on St Aldhelm's Head, situated at the head of a dry valley. The barrow, which was recorded by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England in 1970, has a mound composed of limestone and earth, with maximum dimensions of 15m in diameter and about 1m in height. Surrounding the mound is a ditch from which material was quarried during the construction of the monument. This has become infilled over the years, but will survive as a buried feature 1.5m wide. Partial excavations were conducted at the site by J H Austin in 1850. These revealed a central stone-filled pit, above which were seven or eight inhumations, three of which were extended. Four skulls were set around the feet of one inhumation and these were also associated with a glass bead and a crushed urn. A quantity of Romano-British pottery was also discovered in the upper levels of the mound. The barrow is situated within an extensive area of field system which is likely to have prehistoric origins. However, this has been reduced by ploughing to the extent that only fragmented remains will survive. The field system is not included within the scheduling. All fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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: 33176

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 474

End of official listing