Ancient Monuments

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Round barrow cemetery 400m and 500m south east of Hyde Hill Plantation

A Scheduled Monument in Tarrant Launceston, Dorset

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Latitude: 50.8912 / 50°53'28"N

Longitude: -2.0665 / 2°3'59"W

OS Eastings: 395418.641248

OS Northings: 110192.911962

OS Grid: ST954101

Mapcode National: GBR 30K.0C7

Mapcode Global: FRA 66KR.8R9

Entry Name: Round barrow cemetery 400m and 500m south east of Hyde Hill Plantation

Scheduled Date: 28 March 1958

Last Amended: 24 July 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020443

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33554

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Tarrant Launceston

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Tarrant Monkton with Tarrant Launceston All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument, which falls into two separate areas of protection, includes
a round barrow cemetery on Cranbourne Chase. It is situated on Launceston
Down, about 500m south east of Hyde Hill Plantation, on the crest of a
chalk ridge between two streams. It is one of several cemeteries to
survive in this area. The cemetery includes a nucleus of four bowl barrows
lying in woodland with an outlier 100m to the north west which has been
reduced in height by ploughing. A further outlying barrow situated 40m to
the north cannot be verified on the ground and is therefore not included
in the scheduling.

The barrows each have mounds varying in diameter between 12m and 19m and
in height between 0.10m and 1.2m. Surrounding the mounds are quarry
ditches from which material was derived for their construction. These are
sometimes visible as depressions around the mound but will survive as
buried features up to 2m wide.

Two barrows excavated by Warne in 1840 may have been in this group,
revealing a primary cremation under a flint cairn in one of them, and
charcoal and ashes in the other. The `Launceston Sepulchralia' examined by
Warne in the same year probably also lay in this area and appears to have
been a cremation cemetery, with the cremations in groups of holes in the
chalk, each group being covered with a layer of closely packed flint

All fence posts 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

Cranborne Chase is an area of chalkland well known for its high number,
density and diversity of archaeological remains. These include a rare
combination of Neolithic and Early Bronze Age sites, comprising one of the
largest concentrations of burial monuments in England, the largest known
cursus (a linear ritual monument) and a significant number and range of henge
monuments (Late Neolithic ceremonial centres). Other important remains include
a variety of enclosures, settlements, field systems and linear boundaries
which date throughout prehistory and into the Romano-British and medieval
periods. This high level of survival of archaeological remains is due largely
to the later history of the Chase. Cranborne Chase formed a Royal Hunting
Ground from at least Norman times, and much of the archaeological survival
within the area resulted from associated laws controlling land-use which
applied until 1830. The unique archaeological character of the Chase has
attracted much attention over the years, notably during the later 19th
century, by the pioneering work on the Chase of General Pitt-Rivers, Sir
Richard Colt Hoare and Edward Cunnington, often regarded as the fathers of
British archaeology. Archaeological investigations have continued throughout
the 20th century and to the present day.
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 - or ring ditches, visible only from the
air due to levelling of the mounds by cultivation in the historic and modern
periods. 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.
On Cranborne Chase, round barrow cemeteries are associated with earlier
features such as long barrows, the Dorset Cursus, and henge monuments. Where
excavation has taken place around the barrows, 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, of which that on Cranborne Chase is significant. They are
particularly representative of their period, whilst their diversity and their
longevity as a monument class provide important information on the variety of
beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. Often
occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern
landscape and constitute a significant component of the archaeology of
Cranborne Chase. All examples with surviving remains are, therefore,
considered to be of national importance.

This round barrow cemetery 400m and 500m south east of Hyde Hill
Plantation is one of several to survive in this part of Cranborne Chase.
Although one of the barrows has been reduced in height by ploughing,
others are well-preserved examples of their type. The cemetery will
contain archaeological deposits providing information about Late Neolithic
to Bronze Age beliefs and funerary practices, society and the contemporary

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
An Inventory of the Historical Monuments of Dorset: Volume 1 , (1952)
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970)
Warne, C, Celtic Tumuli of Dorset, (1886)
Warne, C, Celtic Tumuli of Dorset, (1886)
Warne, C, Celtic Tumuli of Dorset, (1886)

Source: Historic England

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