Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Bowl barrow and pillow mound on Earl's Hill, 650m and 780m north east of Furzey Down Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Tarrant Gunville, Dorset

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Latitude: 50.9274 / 50°55'38"N

Longitude: -2.1332 / 2°7'59"W

OS Eastings: 390737.07

OS Northings: 114224.669

OS Grid: ST907142

Mapcode National: GBR 1YK.TR7

Mapcode Global: FRA 66FN.DS6

Entry Name: Bowl barrow and pillow mound on Earl's Hill, 650m and 780m north east of Furzey Down Farm

Scheduled Date: 3 August 1961

Last Amended: 10 January 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019396

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33549

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Tarrant Gunville

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Tarrant Gunville St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument, which lies in two separate areas of protection, includes a Late
Neolithic to Bronze Age bowl barrow and part of a post-medieval rabbit warren
on Earl's Hill. The barrow lies on a gentle north east facing slope and the
pillow mound, 180m to the south west, occupies the steep southern slope of
Earl's Hill.
The barrow has a mound 11m in diameter and up to 1m high surrounded by a
quarry ditch. This has become infilled over the years but will survive as a
buried feature about 2m wide. There are large flint nodules visible on the top
of the mound representing the material extracted from the ditch and used for
the mound's reconstruction. A second mound is recorded 14m to the north east
but cannot be verified on the ground and it is not included in the scheduling.
The pillow mound, one of two similar mounds 150m apart, aligned east-west
along the slope, has a square-ended mound 27m long, 5m wide and 0.6m high
from the north and up to 1m high from the south. A drainage ditch up to 3m
wide is visible on all sides except the western end of the mound. The western
mound which has been reduced in height by ploughing, is no longer clearly
visible on the ground and is not included in the scheduling.

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 Earl's Hill 780m north east of Furzey Down Farm is a well-
preserved example of its class and will contain archaeological remains
providing information about burial practices, the economy and environment at
the time the barrow was constructed.
A warren is an area of land set aside for the breeding and management of
rabbits or hares in order to provide a constant supply of fresh meat and
skins. Although the hare is an indigenous species, the tradition of warren
construction and use dates from the 12th century, following the introduction
of rabbits into England from the continent. Warrens usually contain a number
of purpose-built breeding places known as pillow mounds or rabbit buries,
which were intended to centralise the colony and make catching the animals
easier, using nets, ferrets or dogs. The mounds are usually surrounded by
ditches and contain underlying channels or are situated on sloping ground to
facilitate drainage. The interior of the mound may also contain nesting places
constructed of stone slabs or cut into the underlying subsoil or bedrock. A
typical warren may contain between one and forty pillow mounds and occupy an
area of up to 600ha. Many warrens were enclosed by a bank, hedge or wall
intended to contain and protect the stock.
The pillow mound on Earl's Hill is a well-preserved example of its class and
will contain archaeological deposits providing information about rabbit
husbandry and the contemporary environment.

Source: Historic England

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