Long barrow and four bowl barrows 500m north west of Whitfield Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Long barrow and four bowl barrows 500m north west of Whitfield Farm
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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 66911 91976, SY 67012 91919, SY 67260 91800

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.

Long barrows are earthen or drystone mounds with flanking ditches which acted as funerary monuments during the Early and Middle Neolithic periods (3400-2400 BC). They represent the burial places of Britain's early farming communities and as such are the oldest visible field monuments. Some 500 examples have been recorded nationally. Despite some reduction by ploughing, the long barrow and four bowl barrows 500m north west of Whitfield Farm survive comparatively well and are known from partial excavations to contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument, the wider Bronze Age cemetery, and the landscape in which it was constructed.


The monument, which falls into three separate areas of protection, includes a long barrow and four bowl barrows situated on a ridge overlooking the Frome valley. The bowl barrows form part of a dispersed group of eight similar monuments which together form a dispersed round barrow cemetery associated with the earlier long barrow. The rest of the barrows are the subject of separate schedulings. The barrows are situated close to part of the course of the Roman aqueduct which supplied water to the town of Durnovaria (Dorchester). The aqueduct is also 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 long barrow is situated at the north western end of the barrow group and is aligned north west by south east. It has a mound composed of earth and chalk, with maximum dimensions of 50m in length, 25m in width and 0.6m in height. The long barrow was partially excavated by E Cunnington in 1881, when human remains and flint implements were discovered. A secondary cairn containing an inhumation burial was identified at the south eastern end. The mound is flanked on either side by a ditch from which material was quarried during the construction of the monument. The ditches, which were visible as slight earthworks in 1954, have since become infilled, but will survive as buried features about 5m wide. The bowl barrows each have a mound with maximum dimensions of between 25m and 30m and between about 0.4m and 0.8m in height. Surrounding each mound is a quarry ditch. These have become infilled over the years, although each will survive as a buried feature about 2m wide. Partial excavation of the south eastern barrow by E Cunnington in 1879 identified a primary inhumation burial, a bronze dagger and worked flints. Similar partial excavation of the barrow to the south east of the long barrow by Cunnington in 1881 revealed a crouched inhumation burial associated with a food vessel and flint implements. A later inhumation burial associated with Roman Samian pottery was also identifed in the upper mound. 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:
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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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