Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Multi-period landscape on Hengistbury Head

A Scheduled Monument in East Southbourne and Tuckton, Bournemouth

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Latitude: 50.7169 / 50°43'0"N

Longitude: -1.7561 / 1°45'22"W

OS Eastings: 417311.791172

OS Northings: 90831.622301

OS Grid: SZ173908

Mapcode National: GBR 55K.SZS

Mapcode Global: FRA 7765.X8K

Entry Name: Multi-period landscape on Hengistbury Head

Scheduled Date: 1 February 1951

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1002367

English Heritage Legacy ID: BO 824

County: Bournemouth

Electoral Ward/Division: East Southbourne and Tuckton

Traditional County: Hampshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Bournemouth St Katharine, Southbourne

Church of England Diocese: Winchester


The monument includes a multi-period landscape including settlement, ritual, funerary, agricultural, manufacturing, trading, quarrying and defence activity ranging from the Palaeolithic to the Victorian periods. It is situated on the coastal promontory of Hengistbury Head, overlooking Christchurch Harbour. The focus of extensive periods of excavation from the 19th century up until the 1980s, this landscape includes a huge variety of archaeological evidence surviving as either earthworks - including bowl barrows and linear boundaries- or buried features, structures and deposits with no visible surface remains - including settlements and industrial sites from the Palaeolithic to the Romano British periods. These are extensively discussed in various excavation reports and include at least twelve bowl barrows with a wide variety of cremations, pottery and other associated flints and grave goods; Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic settlement and flint production sites; Late Iron Age to Romano British settlement and industrial sites including defended settlements (a possible promontory fort, port and oppidum), glass, salt, iron, bronze, shale and silver working sites, agricultural activity in the form of plough marks, and evidence for extensive trading of commodities with the South West of England, Spain and France. There is even Victorian ironstone quarrying. Finds representing all the periods and classes of activity have been recovered together with significant quantities of dateable evidence.

Other archaeological remains in the vicinity are scheduled separately.

Sources: PastScape 884835, 884858, 884862, 858762, 458775,884843, 884854,458716, 458726, 458731, 458741, 458749, 458772, 1463895, 458744, 458767, 458754, 458641, 458736, 458759, 458711 and 458721

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The extensive nature of the archaeological evidence from Hengistbury Head make this one of the best known case studies in British archaeology. With its wide variety of dates, settlement, industrial, agricultural, ritual, funerary, strategic, economic and trading activity, its overall importance cannot be over estimated. It has been extensively excavated, studied and documented with much academic discussion and has contributed significantly to archaeological understanding of all the areas represented which, given the incredible diversity both in terms of chronology and types of monument, is in itself extremely significant.

Source: Historic England

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