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Three bowl barrows in Holme Lane Plantation, 200m south west of Squirrel's Cottages

A Scheduled Monument in Steeple with Tyneham, Dorset

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Latitude: 50.6672 / 50°40'1"N

Longitude: -2.1334 / 2°8'0"W

OS Eastings: 390668.139889

OS Northings: 85286.481765

OS Grid: SY906852

Mapcode National: GBR 21V.1GR

Mapcode Global: FRA 67F9.SSR

Entry Name: Three bowl barrows in Holme Lane Plantation, 200m south west of Squirrel's Cottages

Scheduled Date: 22 April 1963

Last Amended: 7 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016728

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29095

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Steeple with Tyneham

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Wareham Lady St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes three bowl barrows arranged around the crest of a knoll,
overlooking the Frome Valley to the north, and seven later mounds of unknown
The barrows each have a mound with maximum dimensions of between 12m to 15m in
diameter and between about 0.65m to 1m in height. Partial excavations by J
Austen in 1860 identified two urns and a cremation. Further investigation
conducted by Wessex Archaeology in 1991 included a contour survey and limited
trenching. The barrow mounds were found to be composed of turves, with an
upper layer of sand derived from the shallow quarry ditches surrounding the
base of the mounds. The quarry ditches varied between 1.2m to 1.9m in width.
The barrow mounds were found to overlie an old land surface which was
associated with a pollen sample dominated by heather, suggesting that the area
already formed heathland prior to the construction of the barrows.
The western barrow mound is partially overlain by a small mound on the western
side. This is part of a group of 107 such mounds noted by J Austen in 1860.
Survey by the Royal Commission on the Historic Monuments of England in 1956
identified 45 examples, set out in parallel rows; most were circular in plan
with dimensions of between 2.7m to 4.5m in diameter and between about 0.3m to
0.45m in height. Austen recorded that many examples supported larger trees
than the surrounding area and excavation of several of the mounds revealed a
composition of burnt furze.
In 1956, excavation of a mound by the Royal Commission on the Historic
Monuments of England indicated that it was composed of earth and turf piled
over an old land surface. The only find was of a stray flint scraper and no
internal structure or ditch was identified. Environmental evidence suggests a
date between the Iron Age and Medieval period, although the function of these
features is uncertain. Many of the mounds recorded in 1860 and 1956 have since
been destroyed by clay extraction. Seven mounds within the group mapped in
1956 are included in the scheduling.

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 in Holme Lane Plantation, 200m south west of Squirrel's
Cottages survive well and are known from partial excavation to contain
archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the
landscape in which it was constructed. The group of small mounds within the
vicinity of the barrows represent an unusual association which is not yet
fully understood.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 445
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 445
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 481-2
Heath est. before const. of barrow,
Heath present before const. of barrow,
Location of ditch by Wessex Arch,
Location of quarry ditch by Wessex Ar,
Mention 1956 RCHME partial excavation, RCHME, National Monuments Record,
Mention identification by Austen, RCHME, National Monuments Record,
Mention part excav. by Wessex Arch,
Mention part excavation by Austen,
RCHME, National Monuments Record,

Source: Historic England

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