Round barrow cemetery on Deverel Down 380m west of Longthorns

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017275

Date first listed: 31-May-1961

Date of most recent amendment: 07-Jul-2000

Map

Ordnance survey map of Round barrow cemetery on Deverel Down 380m west of Longthorns
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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Location

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

County: Dorset

District: North Dorset (District Authority)

Parish: Milborne St. Andrew

County: Dorset

District: North Dorset (District Authority)

Parish: Winterborne Whitechurch

National Grid Reference: SY 82160 99107, SY 82197 99362, SY 82229 99289, SY 82268 99145, SY 82295 99351

Summary

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

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 are the most numerous form of round barrow and date from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. There are over 10,000 surviving bowl barrows recorded nationally, occurring across most of lowland Britain. Bell barrows are the most visually impressive form of round barrow and date to the Early to Middle Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 1500-1100 BC. Bell barrows are rare nationally with less than 250 known examples, most of which are in Wessex. The round barrow cemetery on Deverel Down 380m west of Longthorns is a comparatively well preserved example of its class. The barrow mounds will contain archaeological remains providing information about Late Neolithic to Bronze Age funerary practices and society as well as the contemporary environment.

History

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

Details

The monument, which falls into five separate areas of protection, includes a dispersed round barrow cemetery comprising six bowl barrows and a possible bell barrow, situated on Deverel Down, on and just below the crest of the hill, on a south facing slope. The bowl barrows have mounds ranging in diameter between 12m and 20m and between 0.2m and 1.5m in height. The possible bell barrow has been spread and reduced in height by ploughing, but prior to 1970 it was recorded as having an area enclosed by a ditch 17m in diameter, with a mound 9m in diameter and 0.6m high. All the mounds are surrounded by quarry ditches from which material used in their construction was derived. These are sometimes visible in part as surface depressions but otherwise will survive as buried features up to 3m wide. Many of the barrows show signs of past excavation, although no finds are specifically recorded from the barrows in this monument. A pottery cup found with an urn, now in the British Museum, is recorded as having been found in an unlocated barrow on Deverel Down. The cemetery originally included seven bowl barrows, and the possible bell barrow. Two other possible barrows have also been identified, but there is some doubt about their classification. They have since been reduced in height by ploughing and their locations cannot be verified on the ground. One of the additional bowl barrows in the cemetery, known as the Deverel Barrow, was almost totally excavated in 1824 by W A Miles. The excavation revealed that the mound covered a semi-circle of sarsen stones most of which sealed covered cists cut into the chalk. These cists contained 17 cremations in pottery urns; five other cists which contained cremation remains only were also recorded. In addition, on the barrow floor there were four more cremations in urns and four unaccompanied cremations. The site is now marked by a circular walled enclosure. These three additional barrows are not included in the scheduling. The round barrow cemetery lies within a Celtic field system which is now much reduced by ploughing and the relationship with the cemetery cannot now be determined. The fragmentary remains of the field system are not included in the scheduling. All fence and gate 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.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 33531

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Procs Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Soc.' in Dorset Barrows, (1959), 121

End of official listing