Ancient Monuments

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Bell barrow and two bowl barrows on Old Knowle, 835m NNW of Whitcombe Vale Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Winfrith Newburgh, Dorset

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Latitude: 50.6893 / 50°41'21"N

Longitude: -2.286 / 2°17'9"W

OS Eastings: 379895.264552

OS Northings: 87776.225539

OS Grid: SY798877

Mapcode National: GBR 0ZX.QVZ

Mapcode Global: FRA 6738.1UK

Entry Name: Bell barrow and two bowl barrows on Old Knowle, 835m NNW of Whitcombe Vale Farm

Scheduled Date: 14 August 1958

Last Amended: 11 July 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016193

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29049

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Winfrith Newburgh

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Moreton St Nicholas

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes a bell barrow and two bowl barrows situated on a natural
hill, known as Old Knowle, on the southern side of Moreton Heath, overlooking
the Frome Valley to the north.
The bell barrow is situated on the western side of the group. It has a central
mound composed of sand, earth and turf, with maximum dimensions of 25m in
diameter and approximately 3m in height. The mound has a hollow 6m by 7m on
the top, which may indicate antiquarian excavation. The mound is surrounded by
a berm, or gently sloping platform, 3.5m wide, and a ditch from which material
was quarried during the construction of the monument. The ditch is visible as
a depression 7m wide, although it is partly overlain by a later bank which may
represent a tree clump enclosure.
The two bowl barrows are situated to the east of the bell barrow and are
aligned north west by south east. The north western bowl barrow has a mound
with maximum dimensions of 16m in diameter and approximately 2m in height.
This is surrounded by a quarry ditch 2m wide and approximately 0.35m deep. The
south eastern bowl barrow has a mound 8m in diameter and approximately 0.8m
high. This is known to be surrounded by a quarry ditch visible in the 1960s.
The ditch has since become infilled, but will survive as a buried feature 1.5m

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.

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,
but 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 organisation amongst early prehistoric
communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a
substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of
The bell barrow and two bowl barrows on Old Knowle survive well and will
contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the landscape in
which they were constructed. The bell barrow represents an unusually large
example of its class.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 446
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 446

Source: Historic England

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