Ancient Monuments

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Two bowl barrows and a bell barrow on Matley Heath

A Scheduled Monument in Denny Lodge, Hampshire

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Latitude: 50.873 / 50°52'22"N

Longitude: -1.5238 / 1°31'25"W

OS Eastings: 433604.600371

OS Northings: 108275.621182

OS Grid: SU336082

Mapcode National: GBR 76R.5LM

Mapcode Global: FRA 76PS.Q5Z

Entry Name: Two bowl barrows and a bell barrow on Matley Heath

Scheduled Date: 16 September 1963

Last Amended: 11 June 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009880

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20226

County: Hampshire

Civil Parish: Denny Lodge

Traditional County: Hampshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Hampshire


The monument includes a cluster of three round barrows situated on a north to
south orientated ridge overlooking the valley of the River Beaulieu. All
three barrows have a hollow in the centre of the mound suggesting previous
robbing or early partial excavation. The eastern bowl barrow mound measures
15m in diameter and stands up to 1.5m high. A ditch, from which material was
quarried during the construction of the barrow, surrounds the mound. This has
become partly infilled over the years but survives as a slight earthwork 1.5m
wide and 0.35m deep. On the north-eastern outside edge of the ditch a slight
bank measuring 2m wide and up to 0.2m high survives. The northern bell barrow
mound measures 6m in diameter, stands up to 0.9m high and has a 3.25m wide
berm. The ditch has become partly infilled but survives as a slight earthwork
0.8m wide and 0.15m deep. The western bowl barrow mound measures 15m in
diameter and stands up to 1.8m high. The associated ditch survives as a 1.6m
wide and 0.4m deep earthwork which is particularly pronounced on the south
edge of the mound.

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.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments
dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most
examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed 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 variations in form
and a diversity of burial practices. There are over 10,000 surviving bowl
barrows recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring
across most of lowland Britain. Often occupying prominent locations, they are
a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable
variation of form and longevity as a monument type provide important
information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early
prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period
and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of

Bell barrows, the most visually impressive form of round barrow, are funerary
monuments dating to the early and middle Bronze Age, with most examples
belonging to the period 1600 - 1300 bc. The burials are frequently
accompanied by weapons, personal ornaments, and pottery and appear to be those
of aristocratic individuals, usually men. Bell barrows are rare nationally,
with less than 250 known examples, most of which are in Wessex. Their
richness in terms of grave goods provides evidence for chronological and
cultural links amongst early Prehistoric communities over most of southern and
eastern England. As a particularly rare form of round barrow, all identified
bell barrows would normally be considered to be of national importance.
Despite evidence for partial excavation, the Matley Heath monument is
important in view of the association between bowl and bell barrows, giving an
indication of the nature of burial in this area during the Bronze Age period.
Furthermore, the New Forest is known to have been important in terms of
lowland Bronze Age occupation. A considerable amount of archaeological
evidence has survived in this area because of a lack of agricultural activity,
the result of later climatic deterioration, development of heath and the
establishment of a Royal Forest.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club' in Hampshire Barrows, , Vol. 14, (1938), 360
Darvill, T C, Monument Class Description - Bell Barrows, 1989,
Darvill,T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Bowl Barrows, (1988)
Hampshire County Planning Department, SU30NW39A,

Source: Historic England

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