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BU lecturer brings ancient landscape to life

22 July 2010

Research on the ancient South Dorset Ridgeway A BU Lecturer shares his expertise on the South Dorset Ridgeway in a downloadable audio trail.
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A new audio trail highlighting the historic features of the ancient South Dorset Ridgeway is now available to download.

One of the audio segments - a feature describing the significant barrow cemetery at Bronkham Hill approximately seven kilometres north east of Dorchester – is recorded by BU academic John Gale.

The Ridgeway is a designated area of outstanding natural beauty covering just over 40% of Dorset, stretching from Lyme Regis to Poole Harbour and inland as far as Blandford Forum.

Gale is a Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at BU. Over the last two years he has worked alongside other experts and local volunteers on a project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund to put the area’s important history firmly on the map. He has focused his attention on the many Bronze Age barrows and other parts of the prehistoric funerary landscape that feature along the Ridgeway.

"The density of Bronze Age burial mounds along the Ridgeway is second to none in England," said Gale.

The range in type and size of barrow mounds on the Ridgeway and the quantity of monuments indicates that the area not only formed a focus for funerary activity during the period circa 2200BC -1700BC but must also have been a landscape of great significance and importance to the belief systems of the resident population.

Gale has welcomed the opportunity to tell the story behind these special places to the local community and visitors from further a field.

“Prehistory is a mysterious and distant place and having the opportunity to communicate knowledge in this type of format hopefully helps bridge the gap between the archaeological community and those who wish to know more about the people who once lived in the same space as ourselves”.

The audio trail also features the voices of experts and local residents who talk about the landscape, wildlife and personalities associated with Dorset’s Barrow Circle.

The walk starts in Martinstown and explores villages both long forgotten and modern. It passes ancient burial grounds and working farms and leads to some of the most spectacular coastal views in Dorset.

The tour is designed to be downloaded and played on an iPod, mobile phone or mp3 player whilst walking along the Ridgeway.

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