Ancient Monuments

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Bowl barrow on St Aldhelm's Head, 470m north east of St Aldhelm's Chapel

A Scheduled Monument in Worth Matravers, Dorset

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Latitude: 50.5833 / 50°34'59"N

Longitude: -2.0532 / 2°3'11"W

OS Eastings: 396328.317736

OS Northings: 75954.573341

OS Grid: SY963759

Mapcode National: GBR 347.9QR

Mapcode Global: FRA 67LJ.FXL

Entry Name: Bowl barrow on St Aldhelm's Head, 470m north east of St Aldhelm's Chapel

Scheduled Date: 14 March 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017267

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33176

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Worth Matravers

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Worth Matravers St Nicholas

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes a bowl barrow on St Aldhelm's Head, situated at the head
of a dry valley.
The barrow, which was recorded by the Royal Commission on the Historical
Monuments of England in 1970, has a mound composed of limestone and earth,
with maximum dimensions of 15m in diameter and about 1m in height. Surrounding
the mound is a ditch from which material was quarried during the construction
of the monument. This has become infilled over the years, but will survive as
a buried feature 1.5m wide.
Partial excavations were conducted at the site by J H Austin in 1850. These
revealed a central stone-filled pit, above which were seven or eight
inhumations, three of which were extended. Four skulls were set around the
feet of one inhumation and these were also associated with a glass bead and a
crushed urn. A quantity of Romano-British pottery was also discovered in the
upper levels of the mound.
The barrow is situated within an extensive area of field system which is
likely to have prehistoric origins. However, this has been reduced by
ploughing to the extent that only fragmented remains will survive. The field
system is not included within the scheduling.
All fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath
them 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 bowl barrow on St Aldhelm's Head 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
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 474

Source: Historic England

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