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Oval barrow on Pistle Down, 1010m north east of Stephen's Castle

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Oval barrow on Pistle Down, 1010m north east of Stephen's Castle

List entry Number: 1018182

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Dorset

District: East Dorset

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Alderholt

County: Dorset

District: East Dorset

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Verwood

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 04-Feb-1999

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 31902

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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

Reasons for Designation

Oval barrows are funerary and ceremonial monuments of the Early to Middle Neolithic periods, with the majority of dated monuments belonging to the later part of the range. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds of roughly elliptical plan, usually delimited by quarry ditches. These ditches can vary from paired "banana-shaped" ditches flanking the mound to "U-shaped" or unbroken oval ditches nearly or wholly encircling it. Along with the long barrows, oval barrows represent the burial places of Britain's early farming communities and, as such, are amongst the oldest field monuments surviving visibly in the present landscape. Where investigated, oval barrows have produced two distinct types of burial rite: communal burials of groups of individuals, including adults and children, laid directly on the ground surface before the barrow was built; and burials of one or two adults interred in a grave pit centrally placed beneath the barrow mound. Certain sites provide evidence for several phases of funerary monument preceding the barrow and, consequently, it is probable that they may have acted as important ritual sites for local communities over a considerable period of time. Similarly, as the filling of the ditches around oval barrows often contains deliberately placed deposits of pottery, flintwork and bone, periodic ceremonial activity may have taken place at the barrow subsequent to its construction. Oval barrows are very rare nationally, with less than 50 recorded examples in England. As one of the few types of Neolithic structure to survive as earthworks, and due to their rarity, their considerable age and their longevity as a monument type, all oval barrows are considered to be nationally important.

The oval barrow on Pistle Down, 1010m north east of Stephen's Castle 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.

History

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

Details

The monument includes an oval barrow aligned north west by south east, situated on Pistle Down on the southern edge of a plateau overlooking the River Crane. The barrow was recorded by L V Grinsell in 1959 and by the Royal Commission on the Historic Monuments of England in 1975. It has a mound composed of sand, earth and turf, with maximum dimensions of 16m from north west to south east and 13m from north east to south west and about 1.5m in height. A hollow in the top of the mound is likely to relate to the partial excavations conducted by Dr Smart in 1828, when four leaf shaped arrowheads were recovered. The mound is flanked by a quarry ditch along each side of its long axis. The south western ditch is visible as an earthwork 4m wide and about 0.35m deep. The north eastern ditch has become infilled and is now overlain by a track, although it will survive as a buried feature. The surface of the track is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it 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.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
An Inventory of the Historical monuments of Dorset: Volume V, (1975), 74
Grinsell, L V, 'Procs Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Soc.' in Dorset Barrows, (1959), 139
Grinsell, L V, 'Procs Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Soc.' in Dorset Barrows, (1959), 139

National Grid Reference: SU 09733 10536

Map

Map
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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 - 1018182 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 18-Nov-2017 at 01:18:32.

End of official listing