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Conquer Barrow

Hob Uid: 453934
Location :
Dorset
West Stafford, Dorchester
Grid Ref : SY7079089900
Summary : A large round barrow abutting the enclosure bank of the Mount Pleasant henge (SY 78 NW 3) on its western side. The barrow has been damaged to a certain extent by the encroachment of gardens, and it is covered by a coppice of trees. The only known excavation occurred in 1970-71, when parts of the ditch and mound were examined in the course of work focused primarily on the henge. This suggested that the barrow mound had been 30 metres in diameter and 4 metres high, on top of a henge enclosure bank itself circa 4 metres high. On the north and east sides at least the barrow was surrounded by a penannular ditch which featured at least one causeway and stopped short of the main henge enclosure ditch. An antler pick from the primary fill of the ditch produced a radiocarbon date in the early 3rd millennium BC (calibrated), and was presumed by the excavator to represent a residual item associated with the henge rather than the barrow's construction. However, Sparey-Green (1994) has argued that on the basis of the stratigraphical evidence presented in Wainwright's (1979) excavation report, the barrow's ditch may well pre-date the henge ditch, and thus be of later Neolithic origin. Flints plus a Beaker sherd and a Bronze Age sherd were also found. Re-evaluation of the Conquer Barrow's relationship with Mount Pleasant, following detailed study of aerial photographs of the latter, supports the idea that the ditch at least may have pre-dated the henge enclosure.
More information : (SY 70798990) Conquer Barrow (NR) (1)

Conquer Barrow is about 90ft in diameter and lies on the west bank of the enclosure (SY 78 NW 4) at the highest point of the hill. It has a flat top 24ft across and on the east is 7ft high above a shelf 24ft wide, possibly representing part of the original top of the bank from which there is another drop to a 'berm' immediately above the inner ditch. On the west the mound falls 15ft without a break to a very distrubed sloping shelf up to 30ft wide. A bank 2ft high and 10ft across runs up to the outer edge of this from the south. This shelf could be due to interference, perhaps deliberate remodelling connected with the name 'Mount Pleasant'. Conquer Barrow is probably a Bronze Age round barrow since its situation on the bank of a Neolithic earthwork has parallels (e.g. Robin Hood's Ball, Shrewton, Wilts). It is shown without the 'henge' on I Taylor's one inch map of Dorset (1765). (2,3)

Conquer Barrow (NR) (4)

SY 70788990. Conquer Barrow (name in local use) is generally as described by RCHM (2); it is thickly overgrown with trees and bushes. (See ground photograph). Published survey (1:2500) revised. (5)

In 1971, a series of trenches were excavated across the terminal end of a ditch located at the west entrance of the enclosure in 1970. The ditch, which terminated 20.0m south-west of the main enclosure ditch, was that of the Conquer Barrow. On the south and south-east of the barrow, the ditch was flat bottomed, 7.0 - 8.20m wide and 2.70m deep with steep vertical walls. It was broken by a causeway, 6.20m wide, continuing into the gardens on the west. On the north, the ditch is not so clear and appears to run out of the field to the west under the modern hedgerow.

An antler pick from the ditch in Cutting XLVI (see illustration), produced a C14 date of 2127 + or - 52 BC, and must be from an earlier context, probably a pre-enclosure settlement. A total of 306 flint artefacts were found. Cutting XLVI produced a Beaker and a Bronze Age sherd. Animal bone fragments were found in the plough soil. (6)

Wainwright's proposed sequence of construction has been questioned. The rejected radiocarbon date is indistinguishable from those obtained from primary contexts at the henge's northern entrance. The principal reason for rejection seems to have been a belief that the barrow must post-date the henge earthworks, which at the point where they meet Conquer Barrow are much later in date, representing an extension of the henge bank and ditch across much of the original western entrance several centuries after the henge was initially constructed. However, as Sparey-Green argued, there is good reason on the basis of the excavated evidence to place the digging of the Conquer Barrow ditch either before the henge was constructed, or broadly contemporary with it. Re-assessment in the wake of AP analysis of the henge has further complicated the situation, but there is no reason to regard Conquer Barrow as a single phase monument. The suggestion that the Conquer Barrow ditch came first seems highly plausible, but need not rule out the suggestion that the barrow mound sits on the henge bank, as this may reflect a later enhancement of the mound. However, the suggestion that the mound sits on top of the bank, rather than an existing mound being incorporated in the bank, has yet to be supported by excavation - it has simply been assumed. (7, 8)


Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1963
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Source Number : 2
Source : An inventory of historical monuments in the County of Dorset. Volume two : south-east [in three parts]
Source details :
Page(s) : 504
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Source Number : 3
Source : Dorset barrows
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Page(s) : 105
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Source Number : 4
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 25" 1976
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Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 JGB 21-NOV-79
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Source Number : 6
Source : Mount Pleasant, Dorset : excavations 1970-1971, incorporating an account of excavations undertaken at Woodhenge in 1970
Source details :
Page(s) : 65-8
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Vol(s) : no.37
Source Number : 7
Source : Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society
Source details : C Sparey-Green. Observations on the site of the 'Two Barrows', Fordington Farm, Dorchester; with a note on the 'Conquer Barrow'.
Page(s) : 45-54
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Vol(s) : 116, 1994
Source Number : 8
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Mount Pleasant, Dorset. A Survey of the Neolithic Henge and associated features as seen on aerial photographs. EH Aerial Survey Report, Research Dept. Report Series.
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Late Neolithic
Display Date : Late Neolithic
Monument End Date : -2200
Monument Start Date : -2900
Monument Type : Round Barrow
Evidence : Earthwork, Conjectural Evidence
Monument Period Name : Early Bronze Age
Display Date : Early Bronze Age
Monument End Date : -1600
Monument Start Date : -2600
Monument Type : Round Barrow
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Iron Age
Display Date : Iron Age
Monument End Date : 43
Monument Start Date : -800
Monument Type : Findspot
Evidence : Find

Components and Objects:
Period : Late Neolithic
Component Monument Type : Round Barrow
Object Type : PICK
Object Material : Antler
Period : Early Bronze Age
Component Monument Type : Round Barrow
Object Type : LITHIC IMPLEMENT, VESSEL
Object Material : Flint, Pottery
Period : Iron Age
Component Monument Type : Findspot
Object Type : VESSEL
Object Material : Pottery

Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : DO 397
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SY 78 NW 3
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 453935
Relationship type : Is referred to by

Related Activities :