Ancient Monuments

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The Rainbarrows, a group of three bowl barrows on Duddle Heath

A Scheduled Monument in Puddletown, Dorset

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Latitude: 50.7275 / 50°43'38"N

Longitude: -2.3766 / 2°22'35"W

OS Eastings: 373517.037184

OS Northings: 92050.796753

OS Grid: SY735920

Mapcode National: GBR 0ZD.CY4

Mapcode Global: FRA 57X5.1Y1

Entry Name: The Rainbarrows, a group of three bowl barrows on Duddle Heath

Scheduled Date: 13 December 1929

Last Amended: 10 June 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018270

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29065

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Puddletown

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Puddletown with Athelhampton and Burleston St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument, which falls into two separate areas, includes a group of three
bowl barrows aligned north west by south east and situated on an upper terrace
of south-facing slope overlooking the Frome Valley.
The barrows each have a mound composed of earth, gravel and turf, with maximum
dimensions of between 17m-25m in diameter and between approximately
1.25m-1.6m in height. The upper mounds of the northern and southern barrows
are each associated with a hollow. These are likely to mark the locations of
the part excavations conducted by Edward Cunnington in 1887.
These investigations revealed a cremation burial situated beneath a cairn
(stone mound) with dimensions of 3.6m in diameter and approximately 1.2m in
height. Three bucket urns containing cremations recovered from the Rainbarrows
are now held in the Dorset County Museum.
The southern barrow mound also has a hollow 1m in diameter; this is likely to
represent the site of a former military observation post. The mounds are each
surrounded by a ditch from which material was quarried during the construction
of the monument. The ditches have become partly infilled over the years,
but each is visible at intermittent points as earthworks 2m wide and
approximately 0.25m deep.

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 Rainbarrows, a group of three bowl barrows on Duddle Heath, survive well
and are known from part excavations 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), 230
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 230
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 230
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 230
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 230
Grinsell, L V, 'Procs Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Soc.' in Dorset Barrows, (1959), 129

Source: Historic England

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