Long barrow and a round barrow cemetery at Telegraph Clump on Blandford Race Down


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020955

Date first listed: 14-Sep-1962

Date of most recent amendment: 15-Jul-2003


Ordnance survey map of Long barrow and a round barrow cemetery at Telegraph Clump on Blandford Race Down
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Dorset

District: North Dorset (District Authority)

Parish: Tarrant Hinton

County: Dorset

District: North Dorset (District Authority)

Parish: Tarrant Launceston

National Grid Reference: ST 92146 09496, ST 92216 09357, ST 92254 09453


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. Long barrows were constructed as earthen or drystone mounds with flanking ditches and 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 amongst the oldest field monuments surviving visibly in the present landscape. Where investigated, long barrows appear to have been used for collective burial, often with only parts of the body selected for internment. Certain sites provide evidence for several phases of funerary monument preceding the barrow and, consequently, it is probable that long barrows acted as important ritual sites for local communities over a considerable period of time. On Cranborne Chase, some long barrows occur in groups and some are also associated with other broadly contemporary monument types, such as the Dorset Cursus. Some long barrows within this area also appear to have acted as foci for later Bronze Age round barrow groups which are concentrated within the surrounding areas. Some 500 examples of long barrows and long cairns, their counterparts in the uplands, are recorded nationally. Long barrows are known to occur across Wessex, and the concentration on Cranborne Chase is particularly significant on account of the range of examples present and their archaeological associations. Long barrows, therefore, form an important feature of the Cranborne Chase landscape. As one of the few types of Neolithic structure to survive as earthworks, and due to their comparative rarity, their considerable age and their longevity as a monument type, all long barrows on the Chase are considered to be nationally important.

Round barrow cemeteries date to the Bronze Age (around 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. 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 longevity as a monument class provide 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. On Cranborne Chase, long barrows are sometimes associated with other Neolithic monument types such as the Dorset cursus, and henge monuments. These monuments also acted as foci for the later Bronze Age round barrow cemeteries. The long barrow and round barrow cemetery at Telegraph Clump is a good example of such an association. Both types of monument will contain information relating to burial rites and beliefs and social organisation in the Neolithic and the Bronze Age periods. The association of the round barrow cemetery and the earlier field system provides dating information and evidence for early farming activities.


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


The monument, which falls into three separate areas of protection, includes a long barrow and a Bronze Age round barrow cemetery on a chalk ridge at Telegraph Clump, on the northern perimeter of Blandford Camp. The long barrow is aligned WNW-ESE, along the summit of the ridge. It has a mound 107m long, 23m wide and up to 3m high. The mound now has two tiers suggesting the presence of a berm platform, although it is possible that it was modified when a telegraph station was constructed to the south of the barrow in the 19th century. On either side of the mound are the irregular and disturbed remains of a quarry ditch from which material was derived for its construction. On the northern side there is a wide depression, up to 20m wide, while on the southern side the ditch lies within an area of later quarrying. The barrow has been damaged by periods of military activity and there are the remains of brick buildings, tanks and trenches cut into it. The later round barrow cemetery lies to the west of the long barrow. It includes seven barrows, with a nucleus of five adjacent to the long barrow and two outliers to the north. Two further outlying barrows situated 100m to the south west were recorded by the Royal Commission for Historical Monuments for England in 1972, but these have since been destroyed by the construction of the military camp. Aerial photographs of the area taken in the 1930s show considerable military trenching in the area of the barrows. It is possible that some of the barrows were partially excavated in the 19th century. W Shipp recorded finding a human leg bone beneath a large cairn in a barrow near the Telegraph. J H Austen opened two barrows in the area, finding a primary cremation in a cist in one barrow and nothing in the other. In 1840 Austen excavated another barrow in the area which contained a primary crouched burial with a long-necked Beaker. The barrows have been ploughed in the past, but most of them survive as earthworks, up to a maximum of 0.5m in height, ranging in diameter between 6m and 21m. One of the northerly barrows overlies the lynchet of a field system encompassing the cemetery and extending to the north. This has largely been reduced by ploughing over the years and is now visible mainly on aerial photographs. The lynchet, visible in the vicinity of the barrow as a slight earthwork 7m wide and 0.3m high, extends for about 100m to the west of the barrow before turning south towards the nucleus of the cemetery. All fence and gate posts, buildings and tanks 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.


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

Legacy System number: 33580

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume IV, (1972), 100-101
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume IV, (1972), 100-101
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume IV, (1972), 100-101
Sumner, H, The Ancient Earthworks of Cranborne Chase, (1913), 75-75
Sumner, H, The Ancient Earthworks of Cranborne Chase, (1913), 74-75
Sumner, H, The Ancient Earthworks of Cranborne Chase, (1913), 74-75
Valentin, J, An Archaeological Evaluation of the New Northern Perimeter Fence, (1996)

End of official listing