Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Bowl barrow on Swyre Head

A Scheduled Monument in Kimmeridge, Dorset

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Latitude: 50.6058 / 50°36'20"N

Longitude: -2.0944 / 2°5'39"W

OS Eastings: 393412.716766

OS Northings: 78454.976494

OS Grid: SY934784

Mapcode National: GBR 33S.Z61

Mapcode Global: FRA 67HG.PVM

Entry Name: Bowl barrow on Swyre Head

Scheduled Date: 14 March 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017271

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33180

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Kimmeridge

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Kingston St James

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes a bowl barrow situated on Swyre Head, a prominent ridge.
The barrow, which was recorded by the Royal Commission on the Historical
Monuments of England in 1970, has a mound composed of earth and chalk, with
maximum dimensions of 25m in diameter and about 2.5m in height. The mound is
steep-sided and flat-topped, with a large square stone situated in the centre.
The form of the mound is likely to reflect later modification of the barrow in
order to act as a windmill mound, evidence for which is visible as two shallow
trenches which cross the mound. There are also short causeways to the north
and south of the mound which may have served as approach paths.
Surrounding the mound is a ditch from which material was quarried during the
construction of the original monument. The ditch has become infilled over the
years, but will survive as a buried feature 2m wide.

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 Swyre Head generally survives well and will contain
archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the
landscape in which it was constructed and used. The monument is unusual as it
was later modified to support a windmill.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 442-3
Photographic evidence,

Source: Historic England

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