Bowl barrow and pillow mound on Earl's Hill, 650m and 780m north east of Furzey Down Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019396

Date first listed: 03-Aug-1961

Date of most recent amendment: 10-Jan-2001


Ordnance survey map of Bowl barrow and pillow mound on Earl's Hill, 650m and 780m north east of Furzey Down Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 14-Dec-2018 at 01:57:59.


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

County: Dorset

District: North Dorset (District Authority)

Parish: Tarrant Gunville

National Grid Reference: ST 90737 14225, ST 90821 14386


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 Earl's Hill 780m north east of Furzey Down Farm is a well- preserved example of its class and will contain archaeological remains providing information about burial practices, the economy and environment at the time the barrow was constructed. A warren is an area of land set aside for the breeding and management of rabbits or hares in order to provide a constant supply of fresh meat and skins. Although the hare is an indigenous species, the tradition of warren construction and use dates from the 12th century, following the introduction of rabbits into England from the continent. Warrens usually contain a number of purpose-built breeding places known as pillow mounds or rabbit buries, which were intended to centralise the colony and make catching the animals easier, using nets, ferrets or dogs. The mounds are usually surrounded by ditches and contain underlying channels or are situated on sloping ground to facilitate drainage. The interior of the mound may also contain nesting places constructed of stone slabs or cut into the underlying subsoil or bedrock. A typical warren may contain between one and forty pillow mounds and occupy an area of up to 600ha. Many warrens were enclosed by a bank, hedge or wall intended to contain and protect the stock. The pillow mound on Earl's Hill is a well-preserved example of its class and will contain archaeological deposits providing information about rabbit husbandry and the contemporary environment.


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


The monument, which lies in two separate areas of protection, includes a Late Neolithic to Bronze Age bowl barrow and part of a post-medieval rabbit warren on Earl's Hill. The barrow lies on a gentle north east facing slope and the pillow mound, 180m to the south west, occupies the steep southern slope of Earl's Hill. The barrow has a mound 11m in diameter and up to 1m high surrounded by a quarry ditch. This has become infilled over the years but will survive as a buried feature about 2m wide. There are large flint nodules visible on the top of the mound representing the material extracted from the ditch and used for the mound's reconstruction. A second mound is recorded 14m to the north east but cannot be verified on the ground and it is not included in the scheduling. The pillow mound, one of two similar mounds 150m apart, aligned east-west along the slope, has a square-ended mound 27m long, 5m wide and 0.6m high from the north and up to 1m high from the south. A drainage ditch up to 3m wide is visible on all sides except the western end of the mound. The western mound which has been reduced in height by ploughing, is no longer clearly visible on the ground and is not included in the scheduling.

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: 33549

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing