Ancient Monuments

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The Harp Stone

A Scheduled Monument in Steeple with Tyneham, Dorset

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.6249 / 50°37'29"N

Longitude: -2.1121 / 2°6'43"W

OS Eastings: 392163.902661

OS Northings: 80579.049226

OS Grid: SY921805

Mapcode National: GBR 33L.LV3

Mapcode Global: FRA 67GF.2ZF

Entry Name: The Harp Stone

Scheduled Date: 19 March 1968

Last Amended: 1 August 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014740

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28320

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Steeple with Tyneham

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Steeple with Tyneham St Michael and All Angels

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury

Details

The monument includes a standing stone situated on the bank of a stream,
within the valley of the Corfe River, in the Isle of Purbeck.
The standing stone, which is known as The Harp Stone, is a rough limestone
block with maximum dimensions of 0.75m from north-south, 1m from east-west and
c.1.7m in height. The standing stone is situated on a natural river bank which
formed the boundary between the medieval manorial estates of Herpston and
Hyde. The stone is also adjacent to the course of a former road linking the
settlements of Creech and Kimmeridge.
Excluded from the scheduling are all fence posts relating to the modern field
boundaries which fall within the stone's protective margin, although the
underlying ground 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.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Standing stones are prehistoric ritual or ceremonial monuments with dates
ranging from the Late Neolithic to the end of the Bronze Age for the few
excavated examples. They comprise single or paired upright orthostatic slabs,
ranging from under lm to over 6m high where still erect. They are often
conspicuously sited and close to other contemporary monument classes. They can
be accompanied by various features: many occur in or on the edge of round
barrows, and where excavated, associated subsurface features have included
stone cists, stone settings, and various pits and hollows filled in with earth
containing human bone, cremations, charcoal, flints, pots and pot sherds.
Similar deposits have been found in excavated sockets for standing stones,
which range considerably in depth. Several standing stones also bear cup and
ring marks. Standing stones may have functioned as markers for routeways,
territories, graves, or meeting points, but their accompanying features show
they also bore a ritual function and that they form one of several ritual
monument classes of their period that often contain a deposit of cremation and
domestic debris as an integral component. No national survey of standing
stones has been undertaken, and estimates range from 50 to 250 extant
examples, widely distributed throughout England but with concentrations in
Cornwall, the North Yorkshire Moors, Cumbria, Derbyshire and the Cotswolds.
Standing stones are important as nationally rare monuments, with a high
longevity and demonstrating the diversity of ritual practices in the Late
Neolithic and Bronze Age. Consequently all undisturbed standing stones and
those which represent the main range of types and locations would normally be
considered to be of national importance.

The Harp Stone survives well as one of only a few such stones known in Dorset.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 515
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 515
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 515
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 515
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 515
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 515
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 515

Source: Historic England

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