Bell barrow in Highfield Plantation and two bowl barrows immediately north west of Forty Acre Plantation


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of Bell barrow in Highfield Plantation and two bowl barrows immediately north west of Forty Acre Plantation
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

West Dorset (District Authority)
Bradford Peverell
National Grid Reference:
SY 66498 91741, SY 66613 91777, SY 66670 91812

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.

The bell barrow in Highfield Plantation, one of only about 250 examples recorded nationally, survives well and the two bowl barrows immediately north west of Forty Acre Planatation survive comparatively well despite some disturbance by ploughing. All are known from partial excavation to contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed.


The monument, which falls into three separate areas of protection, includes a bell barrow and two bowl barrows situated on a ridge overlooking the Frome valley. The barrows form part of a group of eight similar monuments which together form a dispersed round barrow cemetery associated with an earlier long barrow. The rest of the barrows are the subject of separate schedulings. The barrows lie in proximity to part of the course of the Roman aqueduct which supplied water to the town of Durnovaria (Dorchester). The aqueduct is the subject of a separate scheduling. The barrows were recorded by L Grinsell in 1959 and the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England in 1952. The bell barrow has a central mound composed of earth and chalk, with maximum dimensions of about 1m in height and 20m in diameter. This is surrounded by a berm, or gently sloping platform 2m wide. Surrounding the berm 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 about 2m wide. Partial excavation by E Cunnington in 1887 revealed the presence of a burnt burial and ashes. The two bowl barrows, which are situated to the north east, each have a mound with maximum dimensions of 30m in diameter and about 0.5m in height. Both barrows were partially excavated by E Cunnington in 1880. The western example was found to contain ashes, while the eastern barrow contained a skeleton and two beakers which are now held in the Dorset County Museum. The mounds are each surrounded by a quarry ditch. These have become infilled over the years, but they will survive as buried features about 2m wide. The barrows lie on the periphery of an extensive area of field system which is likely to have prehistoric origins. The field system has since been reduced by ploughing however, and is not considered to be of national importance 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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
An Inventory of the Historical Monuments of Dorset: Volume 1 , (1952), 36


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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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