| 7 February 2004
Two Bronze Age barrows discovered in Dorset
Quetly hidden among the rolling hills of Purbeck (Dorset, England) is a unique and important archaeological landscape. A report just published by English Heritage reveals the extent of earthworks, medieval field patterns and trackways at Corfe Common, near Corfe Castle. The area has attracted the interest of antiquarians for centuries because of its eight Bronze Age barrows.
English Heritage's latest research has revealed another two barrows on East Common and identified other features showing how the land has been used for farming over the centuries. An impressive prehistoric or Romano-British field system known as 'Celtic fields' were identified on the southern flank of the common. National Trust archaeologist Nancy Grace, based at Corfe Castle, said: "A lot of it was hidden under gorse and scrub so it was not very clear how it all fitted together - until now."
The barrows indicate high-status burials and their position on hill tops made them useful landscape markers in an era when there were no compasses or maps. Iron Age field systems were also known in the area but the survey has uncovered indepth details showing how everything fits together. In a disused sand quarry on West Common archaeologists have found a Mesolithic axe and several small flints.
Corfe Common is used as rough grazing and is a public open space.
Source: This is Purbeck (5 February 2004)
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