Ancient Monuments

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Bowl barrow cemetery and a cross dyke on Horton Common 800m south of Bridge Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Verwood, Dorset

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Latitude: 50.8644 / 50°51'51"N

Longitude: -1.8943 / 1°53'39"W

OS Eastings: 407534.330787

OS Northings: 107215.418269

OS Grid: SU075072

Mapcode National: GBR 429.MX7

Mapcode Global: FRA 66XT.9V2

Entry Name: Bowl barrow cemetery and a cross dyke on Horton Common 800m south of Bridge Farm

Scheduled Date: 4 October 1932

Last Amended: 19 March 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018411

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29597

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Verwood

Built-Up Area: Three Legged Cross

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Woodlands The Ascension

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes a cemetery of five bowl barrows and a cross dyke on
Horton Common 800m south of Bridge Farm.
The barrows vary in diameter from 8.5m to 15m and in height from 0.75m to
1.5m. All the barrows are surrounded by quarry ditches from which material to
construct the mounds was derived. These ditches are visible around three of
the barrows as slight depressions up to 3m wide and will survive as buried
features around the other two, approximately 2m wide. All of the mounds have
depressions in the top suggesting antiquarian excavation although there is no
record of this. These barrows are possibly those mentioned in a Charter of AD
The cross dyke crosses a low spur, extending approximately 650m from a low
lying marshy area at its south western end to the River Crane in the north
east. The south western section of the earthwork, extending over a length of
about 350m, is included in the scheduling and has two parallel banks 4.5m wide
and a medial ditch, 4m wide. The western bank ranges in height from 0.6m to
0.4m externally and from 2m to 0.6m from the bottom of the ditch, while the
eastern bank ranges in height from 1m to 0.4m externally and from 1.7m to 0.6m
from the bottom of the ditch, being more substantial at the north eastern end
of the scheduled earthwork. The eastern end of the linear earthwork in the
area of protection is truncated by the railway cutting. To the east of the
railway cutting area the earthwork has been reduced in height by ploughing and
is poorly preserved in Homer's Wood and this section of the cross dyke is not
included in the scheduling. The cross dyke within the area of protection has
been crossed by a hollow way, one of several that pass from north west - south
east through the cemetery, by a path and bridle way and by more recent
breaches to create farm tracks.
All fence posts and the footpath 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

Round barrow cemeteries date to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They comprise
closely-spaced groups of up to 30 round barrows - rubble or earthen mounds
covering single or multiple burials. Most cemeteries developed over a
considerable period of time, often many centuries, and in some cases acted as
a focus for burials as late as the early medieval period. They exhibit
considerable diversity of burial rite, plan and form, frequently including
several different types of round barrow, occasionally associated with earlier
long barrows. Where large scale investigation has been undertaken around them,
contemporary or later "flat" burials between the barrow mounds have often been
revealed. Round barrow cemeteries occur across most of lowland Britain, with a
marked concentration in Wessex. In some cases, they are clustered around other
important contemporary monuments such as henges. Often occupying prominent
locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape, whilst
their diversity and their longevity as a monument type provide important
information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst early
prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period
and a substantial proportion of surviving or partly-surviving examples are
considered worthy of protection.

Cross dykes are substantial linear earthworks typically between 0.2km and 1km
long and comprising one or more ditches arranged beside and parallel to one or
more banks. They generally occur in upland situations, running across ridges
and spurs. The evidence of excavation and analogy with associated monuments
demonstrates that their construction spans the millennium from the Middle
Bronze Age, although they may have been re-used later. Current information
favours the view that they were used as territorial boundary markers, probably
demarcating land allotment within communities, although they may also have
been used as trackways, cattle droveways or defensive earthworks. Cross
dykes are one of the few monument types which illustrate how land was divided
up in the prehistoric period. They are of considerable importance for any
analysis of settlement and land use in the Bronze Age. Very few have survived
to the present day and hence all well preserved examples are considered to be
of national importance.

The bowl barrow cemetery and cross dyke on Horton Common 800m south of Bridge
Farm are well preserved examples of their class and an unusual association.
The bowl barrows will contain archaeological remains providing information
about Bronze Age economy, environment and burial practices. The cross dyke
will contain archaeological remains providing information about the
organisation and environment of the later Prehistoric landscape.

Source: Historic England

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