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Three bowl barrows on The Knoll 450m north west of Treetops

A Scheduled Monument in Puncknowle, Dorset

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Latitude: 50.689 / 50°41'20"N

Longitude: -2.6601 / 2°39'36"W

OS Eastings: 353468.983

OS Northings: 87910.818

OS Grid: SY534879

Mapcode National: GBR PS.07LS

Mapcode Global: FRA 5798.5HZ

Entry Name: Three bowl barrows on The Knoll 450m north west of Treetops

Scheduled Date: 19 March 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018412

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31053

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Puncknowle

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Puncknowle St Mary the Blessed Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes three bowl barrows, in three separate areas of
protection, on The Knoll, a prominent hill with extensive views out to sea,
450m north west of Treetops.
The barrows range from 16m to 20m in diameter and from 0.7m to 1.5m in height.
Only around the northern barrow is there any visible sign of a quarry ditch,
from which material to construct the mound was derived. Partial excavation in
1959, by Mr E Greenfield, of the northern and western barrows confirmed that
the northern barrow is surrounded by a quarry ditch 6m wide and about 0.7m
deep, while very slight depressions observed around the western barrow
suggests that the mound was constructed of material scraped up from the
surrounding surface. Both barrows contained primary burials in Bronze Age
urns. In the western barrow this was located in the north west quadrant of the
barrow and was placed in a stone lined oval pit dug into an area of burning,
interpreted as the remains of a pyre, and sealed by a slab capstone. The
northern barrow had been disturbed by digging in the medieval period (13th or
14th centuriess) but fragments of cremated bone and urn suggested that the
burial was placed on the old land surface. Both urns were then covered over
with cairns of loosley packed stone. The cairn in the western barrow was
capped by slabs of Quarr stones from the Isle of Wight. Mounds of soil sealing
the cairns completed both barrows. The remains of two possible secondary
Bronze Age cremation burials were found at the southern edge of the northern
mound. The top of the western mound was disturbed by the insertion of a sand-
bagged trench in World War II. The southern barrow had been flattened on top
to accommodate a small stone building, which is Listed Grade II, thought to be
a look out and signal station built in about 1800, with a small modern
extension. In the 1890s Mr Frederick Cheney and his father found a Bronze Age
urn containing a human jaw fragment on the southern side of the mound where it
had been exposed by rabbits burrowing under the foundations of this building.
It was said to be protected by a stone slab cist with a capstone. Comparisons
between this barrow and the other two barrows suggest that it may not have had
a quarry ditch surounding the mound. Analysis of the pottery suggests that the
southern barrow may have been in use in the 15th century BC while the other
two were constructed a century or so later.
Evidence of Romano-British occupation was identified around the western barrow
but the extent and nature of this is not known and it is not included in the
The Knoll is shown as `Puncknoll Beacon' on Isaac Taylor's 1765 map of Dorset
but there are no visible remains of a beacon.
Excluded from the scheduling are the 19th century building on top of the
southern barrow, all fence posts, and the tanks on the northern side of the
southern barrow, 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

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 barrows on The Knoll 450m north west of Treetops are well preserved
examples of their class and two are known from partial excavation to contain
archaeological remains providing information about Bronze Age burial
practices, economy and environment. The construction of the look-out and
signal station is an interesting and unusual feature, although its
construction has caused some damage to the barrow on which it was built.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Greenfield, E, 'Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeology Soc' in The Excavation For Three Round Barrows at Punknowle, Dorset 1959, , Vol. 106, (1984), 63-76
Greenfield, E, 'Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeology Soc' in The Excavation For Three Round Barrows at Punknowle, Dorset 1959, , Vol. 106, (1984), 63-76
Greenfield, E, 'Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeology Soc' in The Excavation For Three Round Barrows at Punknowle, Dorset 1959, , Vol. 106, (1984), 63-76

Source: Historic England

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