Ancient Monuments

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Oval barrow and three bowl barrows 250m and 330m south of Whitcombe Barn

A Scheduled Monument in Whitcombe, Dorset

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Latitude: 50.6749 / 50°40'29"N

Longitude: -2.4155 / 2°24'55"W

OS Eastings: 370739.241538

OS Northings: 86214.840532

OS Grid: SY707862

Mapcode National: GBR PZ.F1T0

Mapcode Global: FRA 57T9.BS8

Entry Name: Oval barrow and three bowl barrows 250m and 330m south of Whitcombe Barn

Scheduled Date: 30 October 1959

Last Amended: 24 November 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019414

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33188

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Whitcombe

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Dorchester and West Stafford

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument, which falls into two separate areas of protection, includes an
oval barrow and three bowl barrows aligned north west by south east and
situated on a low ridge overlooking a dry valley to the south. The barrows
form part of a dispersed group of eight similar monuments, the rest of which
are the subject of separate schedulings.
The four barrows were recorded by the Royal Commission on the Historical
Monuments of England in 1970. The oval barrow, which is situated to the south
east, has a mound composed of earth and chalk, with maximum dimensions of 40m
from north west to south east, 20m from north east to south west and about
0.8m in height. The barrow mound is surrounded by a ditch from which material
was quarried during the construction of the monument. The ditch has become
infilled over the years, but is known from aerial photographs to survive as a
buried feature about 2m wide.
The three bowl barrows each have mounds with maximum dimensions of between
16m to 35m in diameter and about 0.45m to 0.8m in height. Surrounding each
mound is a quarry ditch, which has become infilled over the years. However,
these ditches will survive as buried features about 2m wide.
All fence posts of the modern field boundary are excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath them 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

Oval barrows are funerary and ceremonial monuments of the Early to Middle
Neolithic periods. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds of
roughly elliptical plan, usually delimited by quarry ditches. They tend to
either contain communal burials or burials of one or two adults interred in a
central grave pit. Oval barrows are rare nationally, with less than 50
recorded examples.
Despite some reduction by ploughing, the oval barrow and three bowl barrows
250m and 330m south of Whitcombe Barn survive comparatively well and will
contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the use of this
monument between the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods and the landscape in
which it was constructed.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 459
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 459

Source: Historic England

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