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Two bell barrows 630m north west of West Down Barn

A Scheduled Monument in Winterborne Whitechurch, Dorset

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.7842 / 50°47'3"N

Longitude: -2.2277 / 2°13'39"W

OS Eastings: 384042.928407

OS Northings: 98319.687558

OS Grid: SY840983

Mapcode National: GBR 205.MML

Mapcode Global: FRA 6760.RXT

Entry Name: Two bell barrows 630m north west of West Down Barn

Scheduled Date: 24 July 1961

Last Amended: 24 July 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014851

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27393

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Winterborne Whitechurch

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Winterbourne Kingston St Nicholas

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury

Details

The monument includes two adjacent bell barrows, aligned east-west, situated
on the parish boundary 630m north west of West Down Barn.
The western barrow has a mound which in 1960 was recorded as being c.13m in
diameter and now survives as a slightly elongated mound, reduced in width by
ploughing, c.1.3m high and covered in dense vegetation. On the northern side
of the mound there are slight traces of a berm c.4m wide and a quarry ditch
surrounding this, neither of which are visible in the arable field to the
south. The ditch will survive as a buried feature c.3m wide.
The eastern barrow has a mound, formerly 12m in diameter and c.1m high,
surrounded by a berm, c.3m wide and then a ditch, c.3m wide and up to 1.8m
deep. The southern half of the eastern barrow was damaged when a hedge and
track were bulldozed to enlarge the field, and it now survives as an elongated
and irregular earthwork contained within the hedge. The ditch is visible as a
slight depression in the hedgeline to the east. Following the disturbance of
the mound the southern part of the barrow was excavated in 1968, during which
several phases of activity were identified. Following burning and the removal
of the topsoil a platform of clay was constructed with a hollow at its centre.
A pyre supported on four stakes was built in the hollow. Charcoal from this
structure produced a radiocarbon date of 1000 BC. When this had been burnt
some of the bones and ash were removed for burial elsewhere after which the
mound was constructed. Two secondary cremations in urns were found in pits on
the southern part of the berm. Romano-British pottery and two ditches of this
date were also found.
All fence posts are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath
these features 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

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 1500-1100 BC. They occur either in isolation or in
round barrow cemeteries and were constructed as single or multiple mounds
covering burials, often in pits, and surrounded by an enclosure ditch. The
burials are frequently accompanied by weapons, personal ornaments and pottery
and appear to be those of aristocratic individuals, usually men. Bell barrows
(particularly multiple 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 well as
providing an insight into their beliefs and social organisation. As a
particularly rare form of round barrow, all identified bell barrows would
normally be considered to be of national importance.

Despite the fact that one of the two bell barrows 630m north west of West Down
Barn has been damaged the other is comparatively well preserved, and it is
known from part excavation of one of the barrows that both will contain
archaeological remains, providing information about Bronze Age burial
practices and economy.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Procs Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Soc.' in Dorset Barrows, (1959), 150
Grinsell, L V, 'Procs Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Soc.' in Dorset Barrows, (1959), 150
White, D A, 'Procs Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Soc.' in The Excavation Of A Bell Barrow At Winterborne Kingston, Dorset, , Vol. 94, (1972), 37-43

Source: Historic England

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