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Bowl barrow and cross dyke on Knowle Hill, 500m NNE of St Peter's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Church Knowle, Dorset

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.641 / 50°38'27"N

Longitude: -2.0808 / 2°4'50"W

OS Eastings: 394383.63888

OS Northings: 82372.192965

OS Grid: SY943823

Mapcode National: GBR 33F.NRV

Mapcode Global: FRA 67JC.WQH

Entry Name: Bowl barrow and cross dyke on Knowle Hill, 500m NNE of St Peter's Church

Scheduled Date: 22 July 1964

Last Amended: 14 February 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014838

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28325

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Church Knowle

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Church Knowle St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury

Details

The monument includes a bowl barrow and a north-south aligned cross dyke
situated on Knowle Hill, a chalk ridge of the Isle of Purbeck, overlooking
Poole Harbour to the north east. The bowl barrow forms part of a group of
three which occur at the eastern end of Knowle Hill. The cross dyke forms the
eastern outlier of a group which is associated with an Iron Age hilltop
enclosure on Knowle Hill.

The bowl barrow has a mound composed of earth, flint and chalk, with a maximum
diameter of 18m and a maximum height of c.0.7m. This is surrounded by a ditch
from which material was quarried during the construction of the monument. The
ditch has become infilled over the years, but it will survive as a buried
feature c.2m wide.

Part excavations by J H Austen in 1856 identified a central contracted
inhumation within a central chalk-cut grave with dimensions of 2.4m by 2.7m
and 2.8m deep. Antler pottery and shale fragments were discovered within the
chalk packing of the grave. Two contracted inhumations were discovered in
stone cists 2.7m west and south east of the centre and an extended inhumation
was identified c.0.6m below the surface of the mound protected by a layer of
stones.

The cross dyke includes a bank composed of earth, flint and chalk with maximum
dimensions of 82m in length, 7m wide and c.0.6m high. The bank is breached by
a gap 6.5m wide, 20m from the northern end. This is likely to represent a
comparatively modern entrance.

The bank is bordered to the east by a quarry ditch visible as an earthwork
4.5m wide and c.0.5m deep. The area of ditch to the north of the gap in the
bank has been infilled by spoil from part excavations at the adjacent bowl
barrow.

The fence posts relating to the modern field boundaries are excluded from the
scheduling 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

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
protection.

Cross dykes are substantial linear earthworks typically between 0.2km and 1km
long and comprising one or more ditches arranged beside, and parallel to, one
or more banks. They generally occur in upland situations, running across
ridges and spurs. They are recognised as earthworks or as cropmarks on aerial
photographs, or as a combination of both. The evidence of excavation and
analogy with associated monuments demonstrates that their construction spans
the millennium from the Middle Bronze Age, although they may have been reused
later. Current information favours the view that they were used as boundary
markers, probably demarcating land allotment within communities, although they
may have been used as trackways, cattle droveways or defensive earthworks.
Cross dykes are one of the few monument types which illustrate how land was
divided up in the prehistoric period. They are of considerable importance for
any analysis of settlement and land use in the Bronze Age. All well preserved
examples are considerd to be of national importance.

Despite some plough reduction, the bowl barrow and cross dyke on Knowle Hill,
500m NNE of St Peter's Church survive well and are known from part excavation
to contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument
and the landscape in which it was constructed. The bowl barrow forms the
western of a group of three situated on the eastern part of Knowle Hill.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 442
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 442
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 442
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 442
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 442
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 442
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 442
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 442
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 442

Source: Historic England

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