Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Bowl barrow on Godlingston Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Swanage, Dorset

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Latitude: 50.6305 / 50°37'49"N

Longitude: -1.9807 / 1°58'50"W

OS Eastings: 401458.311666

OS Northings: 81198.827917

OS Grid: SZ014811

Mapcode National: GBR 33R.B25

Mapcode Global: FRA 67RD.L64

Entry Name: Bowl barrow on Godlingston Hill

Scheduled Date: 7 July 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015375

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28319

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Swanage

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Studland St Nicholas

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes a bowl barrow situated on the upper south east facing
slope of Godlingston Hill, a prominent chalk ridge overlooking Swanage Bay to
the south east and Poole Bay to the north east. The barrow is one of three
recorded on Godlingston Hill.
The barrow has a mound composed of earth, flint and chalk, with maximum
dimensions of 13.5m in diameter and about 0.75m in height. This is surrounded
by a ditch from which material was quarried during the construction of the
monument. The ditch is no longer visible as it has become infilled over the
years, but will survive as a buried feature 1.5m wide.
Two small quarry hollows situated to the north west and south east of the
barrow could also relate to the construction of the monument, as similar
features are known to be associated with other barrows nearby. The south
eastern example is 7m in diameter and the north western example has maximum
dimensions of 9m in length and 4.5m in width.
During the 19th century, the barrow was partially excavated by W A Miles and,
later, by J H Austen. The investigations identified a cremation burial lying
between two horizontal stones. Spoil from the excavations is situated to the
south east of the barrow and forms a mound 7m in diameter and about 0.45m in

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

The bowl barrow on Godlingston Hill survives well and is known from partial
excavation to contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to
the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Procs Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Soc.' in Dorset Barrows, (1959), 33
Interpretation of quarries as later, RCHME, National Monuments Record,
Mention excavation by Austen, RCHME, National Monuments Record,
Mention excavation by Miles, RCHME, National Monuments Record,
Papworth, M D J, National Trust Archaeological Record,
Papworth, M D J, National Trust Archaeological Record,
Papworth, M D J, National Trust Archaeological Record,
Papworth, M D J, National Trust Archaeological Record,

Source: Historic England

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