Ancient Monuments

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Oval barrow at the western end of Stonehill Down, 800m south west of East Creech Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Church Knowle, Dorset

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Latitude: 50.6384 / 50°38'18"N

Longitude: -2.1097 / 2°6'35"W

OS Eastings: 392335.698898

OS Northings: 82087.473152

OS Grid: SY923820

Mapcode National: GBR 33D.TP8

Mapcode Global: FRA 67GD.3WV

Entry Name: Oval barrow at the western end of Stonehill Down, 800m south west of East Creech Farm

Scheduled Date: 22 July 1964

Last Amended: 19 March 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014136

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28313

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Church Knowle

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Wareham Lady St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes an oval barrow situated at the western end of Stonehill
Down in the Isle of Purbeck, overlooking Poole Harbour to the east and the
Purbeck Hills to the south.
The barrow has a mound composed of earth, flint and chalk with maximum
dimensions of 24m from north-south, 31m from east-west and a maximum height of
c.0.8m. The mound is flanked to the north and south by ditches from which
material was quarried during the construction of the monument. These were
recorded as earthworks in the 1960s, when they had dimensions of between 4m
and 6m. They have since become partly infilled, but remain visible as
earthworks 3m wide.

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

Oval barrows are funerary and ceremonial monuments of the Early to Middle
Neolithic periods, with the majority of dated monuments belonging to the later
part of the range. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds of
roughly elliptical plan, usually delimited by quarry ditches. These ditches
can vary from paired "banana-shaped" ditches flanking the mound to "U-shaped"
or unbroken oval ditches nearly or wholly encircling it. Along with the long
barrows, oval barrows 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, oval barrows have
produced two distinct types of burial rite: communal burials of groups of
individuals, including adults and children, laid directly on the ground
surface before the barrow was built; and burials of one or two adults interred
in a grave pit centrally placed beneath the barrow mound. Certain sites
provide evidence for several phases of funerary monument preceding the barrow
and, consequently, it is probable that they may have acted as important ritual
sites for local communities over a considerable period of time. Similarly, as
the filling of the ditches around oval barrows often contains deliberately
placed deposits of pottery, flintwork and bone, periodic ceremonial activity
may have taken place at the barrow subsequent to its construction. Oval
barrows are very rare nationally, with less than 50 recorded examples in
England. As one of the few types of Neolithic structure to survive as
earthworks, and due to their rarity, their considerable age and their
longevity as a monument type, all oval barrows are considered to be nationally

The oval barrow at the western end of Stonehill Down survives well and will
contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and
the landscape in which it was constructed. The monument represents one of only
a very few examples of its class known in the area.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 431
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 431
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 431
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 431

Source: Historic England

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