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Five bowl barrows and a bell barrow forming a round barrow cemetery on the western part of Godlingston Heath

A Scheduled Monument in Corfe Castle, Dorset

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.6473 / 50°38'50"N

Longitude: -1.9927 / 1°59'33"W

OS Eastings: 400609.623791

OS Northings: 83066.870636

OS Grid: SZ006830

Mapcode National: GBR 33K.70S

Mapcode Global: FRA 67QC.7JF

Entry Name: Five bowl barrows and a bell barrow forming a round barrow cemetery on the western part of Godlingston Heath

Scheduled Date: 29 April 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013837

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22973

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Corfe Castle

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Studland St Nicholas

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury

Details

The monument includes five bowl barrows and a bell barrow forming a round
barrow cemetery on a prominent ridge of Godlingston Heath in the Isle of
Purbeck, with views over the surrounding heathland and Brand's Bay to the
north east.
The cemetery, which is arranged in a semicircle, is bounded by a steep
natural cliff to the north and encloses a crescent-shaped area abutting the
cliff which has the appearance of an `arena'. This feature is likely to have
been deliberately created by the careful location of the barrow mounds.
The bowl barrows each have a mound composed of sand and turf, with diameters
ranging between 12m and 18m and a maximum height of between c.1m and 1.5m.
Each mound is surrounded by a ditch from which material was quarried during
its construction. These have become infilled over the years, but will survive
as buried features c.2m wide.
The bell barrow, which is situated on the northern side of the group, has a
central mound composed of sand and turf, with a maximum diameter of 20m. This
is surrounded by a berm or gently sloping platform 5m wide, itself surrounded
by a ditch from which material was quarried during the construction of the
monument. The ditch has become infilled over the years but will survive as a
buried feature c.2.5m wide.
The cemetery has been the focus of recent military activity, some trenches
having been dug into some of the mounds.

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.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Round barrow cemeteries date to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They comprise
closely-spaced groups of up to 30 round barrows - rubble or earthen mounds
covering single or multiple burials. 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, occasionally associated with earlier
long barrows. Where large scale investigation has been undertaken around them,
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. In some cases, they are clustered around other
important contemporary monuments such as henges. Often occupying prominent
locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape, whilst
their diversity and their longevity as a monument type provide important
information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst early
prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period
and a substantial proportion of surviving or partly-surviving examples are
considered worthy of protection.

The round barrow cemetery on Godlingston Heath survives well, although some
minor disturbance has been caused by the construction of a number of military
trenches around the fringe of the monument. Despite this, the barrows will
contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the cemetery and
the landscape in which it was constructed.
The configuration of barrows in this cemetery is unusual, with an `arena'
defined by the barrow mounds and their position in relation to a natural
cliff. Research at comparable sites suggests that such areas might contain
evidence for some of the rituals associated with Bronze Age burial practices.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
Papworth M D J, (1988)
Papworth, MDJ, National Trust Archaeological Survey and Data Collection Sheet, (1988)
Papworth, MDJ, National Trust Archaeological Survey and Data Collection Sheet, (1988)
Papworth, MDJ, National Trust Archaeological Survey and Data Collection Sheet, (1988)
Papworth, MDJ, National Trust Archaeological Survey and Data Collection Sheet, (1988)
Papworth, MDJ, National Trust Archaeological Survey and Data Collection Sheet, (1988)
Papworth, MDJ, National Trust Archaeological Survey and Data Collection Sheet, (1988)
Title: National Trust Archaeological Survey Field Collection Sheet
Source Date:
Author:
Publisher:
Surveyor:
Sketch plan of barrow cemetery

Source: Historic England

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