Romano-British settlement and two bowl barrows on Blandford Race Down 450m south east of Telegraph Clump


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Ordnance survey map of Romano-British settlement and two bowl barrows on Blandford Race Down 450m south east of Telegraph Clump
© 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.

North Dorset (District Authority)
Tarrant Launceston
National Grid Reference:
ST 92714 09256

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. Later Iron Age and Romano-British occupation occurred widely across Cranborne Chase and included a range of settlement types. The surviving remains comprise farmsteads, hamlets, villages and hillforts, which together demonstrate an important sequence of settlement. The non-defensive enclosed farm or homestead represents the smallest and most simple of these types. There are over 50 recorded examples within the area which are thought to date to this later Iron Age and Romano-British period. Most early examples are characterised by a curvilinear enclosure with round buildings, although these are sometimes superseded by rectilinear or triangular shaped enclosures with rectilinear buildings. On Cranborne Chase, many examples were occupied over an extended period and some grew in size and complexity.

The Romano-British settlement on Blandford Race Down survives as a series of earthworks and would appear to be of unusual type with no enclosing earthwork. The site will preserve archaeological and environmental remains which will contribute to an understanding of the economic and social activities within the area during the period of occupation. Barrows are especially representative of the Bronze Age period and are a characteristic feature of the landscape in Cranborne Chase. The barrows at this site are well preserved and will contain archaeological deposits providing information relating to Bronze Age burial practices and society, and the contemporary environment.


The monument includes settlement remains, thought to be of Iron Age and Romano-British date, and two Bronze Age bowl barrows on Blandford Race Down, 450m south east of Telegraph Clump. The site, surveyed by Heywood Sumner in 1912, comprises a nucleated occupation area of about 3.25ha. This is characterised by low earthworks, now much disturbed, including a number of sunken platforms which probably represent the sites of former buildings. The occupation area lies within a larger area, about 400m across, defined by shallow banks, ditches and the scarp edge. Small sherds of Iron Age and Romano-British pottery were found during field investigation by the Ordnance Survey in 1954. Tracks, surviving as earthwork hollow ways up to 20m wide, enter the outer edge of the settlement from the south east, the east and the north. The whole area has been disturbed by military activity during the 20th century, evidence of which survives in the form of a zigzag trench, used for training purposes probably early in the 20th century. Two earlier Bronze Age barrows, 250m apart, lie within the settlement remains. The north western barrow has a mound 15m in diameter and 0.8m high, while the south eastern example has a mound 20m in diameter and 1.2m high. Surrounding each mound is a quarry ditch from which material was derived for its construction. This is visible around the northern barrow mound as a slight surface depression but it is no longer visible around the southern barrow. Both will survive as buried features about 2m wide. All fence and telegraph posts, concrete posts, buildings and path surfaces 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.


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

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Books and journals
Sumner, H, The Ancient Earthworks of Cranborne Chase, (1913), 74-75


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.

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