The Rainbarrows, a group of three bowl barrows on Duddle Heath

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018270

Date first listed: 13-Dec-1929

Date of most recent amendment: 10-Jun-1998

Map

Ordnance survey map of The Rainbarrows, a group of three bowl barrows on Duddle Heath
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

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

County: Dorset

District: West Dorset (District Authority)

Parish: Puddletown

National Grid Reference: SY 73460 92121, SY 73531 92034

Summary

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 Rainbarrows, a group of three bowl barrows on Duddle Heath, survive well and are known from part excavations 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, which falls into two separate areas, includes a group of three bowl barrows aligned north west by south east and situated on an upper terrace of south-facing slope overlooking the Frome Valley. The barrows each have a mound composed of earth, gravel and turf, with maximum dimensions of between 17m-25m in diameter and between approximately 1.25m-1.6m in height. The upper mounds of the northern and southern barrows are each associated with a hollow. These are likely to mark the locations of the part excavations conducted by Edward Cunnington in 1887. These investigations revealed a cremation burial situated beneath a cairn (stone mound) with dimensions of 3.6m in diameter and approximately 1.2m in height. Three bucket urns containing cremations recovered from the Rainbarrows are now held in the Dorset County Museum. The southern barrow mound also has a hollow 1m in diameter; this is likely to represent the site of a former military observation post. The mounds are each surrounded by a ditch from which material was quarried during the construction of the monument. The ditches have become partly infilled over the years, but each is visible at intermittent points as earthworks 2m wide and approximately 0.25m deep.

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: 29065

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 230
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 230
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 230
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 230
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 230
Grinsell, L V, 'Procs Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Soc.' in Dorset Barrows, (1959), 129

End of official listing