Disc barrow and a bowl barrow 640m south west of Veiny Cheese Pond
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Dorset (Unitary Authority)
- Long Crichel
- Dorset (Unitary Authority)
- Tarrant Launceston
- National Grid Reference:
- ST 95905 11340
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.
Disc barrows are Bronze Age burial monuments. They belong to the Early Bronze
Age, with most examples dating to the period 1400-1200 BC. They occur either
in isolation, or in round barrow cemeteries. Disc barrows were constructed as
a circular or oval area of level ground defined by a bank and internal ditch
and containing one or more central or eccentrically located small, low mounds
covering burials, usually in pits. Earthwork remains that survive are usually
very slight, and thus highly vulnerable to damage. The burials, normally
cremations, are frequently accompanied by pottery vessels, tools and personal
ornaments. It has been suggested that disc barrows were normally used for the
burial of women, although this remains unproven. However, it is likely that
the individuals were of high status. Disc barrows are rare nationally, with
about 250 examples identified, many occurring within Wessex and at least 12
examples known on Cranborne Chase. Their richness in terms of grave goods
provides important evidence for chronological and cultural links amongst
prehistoric communities over a wide area of southern England, as well as
providing an insight into their beliefs and social organisation.
Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500BC. They were construced 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 variation in form and a diversity of burial practices. Over 10,000 bowl barrows are known to survive nationally, of which a cluster of at least 395 examples has been identified on Cranborne Chase. Some of these have been levelled by ploughing but remain visible from the air as ring ditches. Buried remains will nevertheless survive at these sites, both within the ditch fills and associated with the central burial pit. Bowl barrows are particularly representative of their period whilst their considerable variation of form and longevity as a monument type will provide important information on the diversity 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 surviving examples within this area are, therefore, considered to be of national importance. Despite some reduction by ploughing, the disc barrow and bowl barrow 640m south west of Veiny Cheese Pond will contain archaeological and environmental evidence in relation to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. The proximity of the round barrows to the adjacent part of the linear feature will also offer important potential for an understanding of the relationship between these archaeological features.
The monument includes a disc barrow and a bowl barrow, which form part of
a dispersed group of barrows on the western side of the Crichel Valley.
The bowl barrow, which is situated on the eastern side of the monument,
was recorded by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of
England (RCHME) in 1975. It has a mound composed of earth, flint and
chalk, with maximum dimensions of 20m in diameter and 0.25m in height.
This is surrounded by a quarry ditch 1.5m wide, from which material was
derived during its construction.
The disc barrow, which was recorded by the RCHME in 1972, is situated 65m
to the west. It now includes a circular quarry ditch 1.5m wide which has
become infilled over the years, but which is known to exist as a buried
feature and is sometimes visible as a cropmark. The ditch encloses an area
45m in diameter and a small mound about 0.2m high lies slightly to the
south east of the centre. There are also traces of an inner and outer
bank, each about 2m wide on either side of the ditch, although these have
been reduced by ploughing.
A third bowl barrow situated 65m to the west of the disc barrow was
recorded by the RCHME in 1972, although this has since been reduced by
ploughing and is not known to survive as a buried feature. This barrow is
not included in the scheduling.
The barrows are adjacent to a linear earthwork which was also recorded by
the RCHME in 1972 and 1975, when it included a ditch with a low bank on
the northern side which appeared to partially cut the outer bank of the
disc barrow. The linear earthwork has since been reduced by ploughing, but
survives as a buried feature and is visible as a cropmark.
The barrows and linear feature all lie within a wider area of field
system, although this has been levelled by ploughing and the quality of
surviving remains is unclear. The field system, the levelled bowl barrow
to the west and the areas of the linear feature which lie outside the area
immediately adjacent to the surviving barrows are not included in the
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
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 106-119
Sumner, H, The Ancient Earthworks of Cranborne Chase, (1913), 35-37
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