Ancient Monuments

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Two bowl barrows and a disc barrow 960m north west and a bowl barrow 880m north west of Crab Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Shapwick, Dorset

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Latitude: 50.8311 / 50°49'52"N

Longitude: -2.0751 / 2°4'30"W

OS Eastings: 394803.910875

OS Northings: 103514.965189

OS Grid: ST948035

Mapcode National: GBR 313.XW9

Mapcode Global: FRA 66JW.Z8R

Entry Name: Two bowl barrows and a disc barrow 960m north west and a bowl barrow 880m north west of Crab Farm

Scheduled Date: 17 August 1961

Last Amended: 22 December 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016380

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29585

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Shapwick

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Shapwick St Bartholomew

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument, which lies within two areas, includes two bowl barrows and a
disc barrow 960m north west and a bowl barrow 880m north west of Crab Farm,
part of a dispersed group on the former Shapwick Common Down. The bowl barrows
range in diameter between 22m and 30m and between 0.4m and 1m in height.
Surrounding the mounds are quarry ditches from which material was excavated
during their construction. The ditch survives partly as a depression on the
northern side of the most westerly barrow but otherwise they have become
infilled over the years and now survive as buried features approximately 3m
wide. A linear feature visible on aerial photographs passes close to both
barrows on the south west side and lies partly within the scheduled area. The
disc barrow is no longer visible on the ground but can be seen on aerial
photographs, and part excavation by the National Trust in 1988 showed that it
survives as a ring ditch, 4.2m wide and 1.7m deep, forming a circle about 60m
in diameter. Sherds of Middle Bronze Age pottery and a fragment of human
pelvis were recovered from the ditch fills suggesting a funerary function. The
ditch fills confirm the presence of an original external bank.
All fence posts are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath
these features is included.

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 three bowl barrows north west of Crab Farm are comparatively well
preserved examples of their class and will contain archaeological remains
providing information about Bronze Age burial practices, economy and
Disc barrows, the most fragile type of round barrow, are funerary monuments of
the Early Bronze Age, with most examples dating to the period 1400-1200 BC.
They occur either in isolation or in barrow cemeteries. Disc barrows were
constructed as a circular or oval area of level ground defined by a bank and
internal ditch and containing one or more centrally or eccentrically located
small, low mounds covering burials, usually in pits. The burials, normally
cremations, are frequently accompanied by pottery vessels, tools and personal
ornaments. It has been suggested that disc barrows were normally used for the
burial of women, although this remains unproven. However, it is likely that
the individuals buried were of high status. Disc barrows are rare nationally,
with about 250 known examples, most of which are in Wessex. Their richness in
terms of grave goods provides important evidence for chronological and
cultural links amongst prehistoric communities over a wide area of southern
England as well as providing an insight into their beliefs and social
organisation. As a particularly rare and fragile form of round barrow, all
identified disc barrows would normally be considered to be of national
The disc barrow north west of Crab Farm, despite being reduced in height by
ploughing, has been shown by part excavation to survive as a buried feature
and will contain archaeological remains.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Papworth, M, Archaeological Survey, Shapwick, Kingston Lacy Estate, (1994), 66-67
'Procs Dorset Natural History and Archaeology Society' in The Swan Way Ring Ditch, (1992), 40-64
Papworth M, Archaeological Survey, Shapwick, Kingston Lacy, (1994)

Source: Historic England

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