Round barrow cemetery 400m and 500m south east of Hyde Hill Plantation

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020443

Date first listed: 28-Mar-1958

Date of most recent amendment: 24-Jul-2002

Map

Ordnance survey map of Round barrow cemetery 400m and 500m south east of Hyde Hill Plantation
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Location

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

County: Dorset

District: East Dorset (District Authority)

Parish: Long Crichel

County: Dorset

District: North Dorset (District Authority)

Parish: Tarrant Launceston

National Grid Reference: ST 95346 10243, ST 95425 10189

Summary

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

Reasons for Designation

Cranborne Chase is an area of chalkland well known for its high number, density and diversity of archaeological remains. These include a rare combination of Neolithic and Early Bronze Age sites, comprising one of the largest concentrations of burial monuments in England, the largest known cursus (a linear ritual monument) and a significant number and range of henge monuments (Late Neolithic ceremonial centres). Other important remains include a variety of enclosures, settlements, field systems and linear boundaries which date throughout prehistory and into the Romano-British and medieval periods. This high level of survival of archaeological remains is due largely to the later history of the Chase. Cranborne Chase formed a Royal Hunting Ground from at least Norman times, and much of the archaeological survival within the area resulted from associated laws controlling land-use which applied until 1830. The unique archaeological character of the Chase has attracted much attention over the years, notably during the later 19th century, by the pioneering work on the Chase of General Pitt-Rivers, Sir Richard Colt Hoare and Edward Cunnington, often regarded as the fathers of British archaeology. Archaeological investigations have continued throughout the 20th century and to the present day. 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 - or ring ditches, visible only from the air due to levelling of the mounds by cultivation in the historic and modern periods. 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. On Cranborne Chase, round barrow cemeteries are associated with earlier features such as long barrows, the Dorset Cursus, and henge monuments. Where excavation has taken place around the barrows, 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, of which that on Cranborne Chase is significant. They are particularly representative of their period, whilst their diversity and their longevity as a monument class provide important information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape and constitute a significant component of the archaeology of Cranborne Chase. All examples with surviving remains are, therefore, considered to be of national importance.

This round barrow cemetery 400m and 500m south east of Hyde Hill Plantation is one of several to survive in this part of Cranborne Chase. Although one of the barrows has been reduced in height by ploughing, others are well-preserved examples of their type. The cemetery will contain archaeological deposits providing information about Late Neolithic to Bronze Age beliefs and funerary practices, society and the contemporary environment.

History

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

Details

The monument, which falls into two separate areas of protection, includes a round barrow cemetery on Cranbourne Chase. It is situated on Launceston Down, about 500m south east of Hyde Hill Plantation, on the crest of a chalk ridge between two streams. It is one of several cemeteries to survive in this area. The cemetery includes a nucleus of four bowl barrows lying in woodland with an outlier 100m to the north west which has been reduced in height by ploughing. A further outlying barrow situated 40m to the north cannot be verified on the ground and is therefore not included in the scheduling.

The barrows each have mounds varying in diameter between 12m and 19m and in height between 0.10m and 1.2m. Surrounding the mounds are quarry ditches from which material was derived for their construction. These are sometimes visible as depressions around the mound but will survive as buried features up to 2m wide.

Two barrows excavated by Warne in 1840 may have been in this group, revealing a primary cremation under a flint cairn in one of them, and charcoal and ashes in the other. The `Launceston Sepulchralia' examined by Warne in the same year probably also lay in this area and appears to have been a cremation cemetery, with the cremations in groups of holes in the chalk, each group being covered with a layer of closely packed flint nodules.

All fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features 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.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 33554

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
An Inventory of the Historical Monuments of Dorset: Volume 1 , (1952)
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970)
Warne, C, Celtic Tumuli of Dorset, (1886)
Warne, C, Celtic Tumuli of Dorset, (1886)
Warne, C, Celtic Tumuli of Dorset, (1886)

End of official listing