The Kinson round barrows are important. The two round barrows on Kinson Common are probably about 4000 years old and probably mark the graves of important people in the local community of that time.

Only two other barrows survive today in Bournemouth: a hundred years ago there were about sixty. Most of those were destroyed to make room for housing.

Kinson was an important area in the Bronze Age. It is the only place in Bournemouth where the point of a Bronze Age sword has been found (in 1934).

Research into the barrows

An archaeology research student from Southampton University is studying them using techniques which don’t harm the barrows but help us see what is in them and under the ground around them.

You would be very welcome to help him do this. Because no one has ever looked before we don’t know whether there is anything to find apart from the barrows. At the very least the study should help us uncover the extent of the barrows and the ditches surrounding them.

Geophysical survey

The techniques, that you could help carry out, look down into the ground to see what is below the surface. One is magnetometry, which detects buried features such as ditches, areas of burning, traces of human activity, or traces of other barrows, by measuring slight variations in the earth’s magnetic field. It involves walking along a marked out grid carrying a piece of equipment which does not make contact with the ground.

The second technique measures variations in the electrical resistance of the earth which can indicate buried features. This involves walking moving around a piece of equipment which is a bit like a Zimmer frame, which makes electrical contact with the ground.

What would volunteering involve?

• Both methods involve walking carefully along marked out grids, so that we can map out the results.

• The ground is uneven and sloping and so it will be slow steady work.

• If you volunteered we would teach you what to do, and this would involve both helping with the grids to keep the survey on track and also using the resistance machine.

• Hopefully it will be warmer than it has been recently: but bring clothes for cold weather and something rainproof and hope that you may not need them. Rain would stop play.

• In order to use the magnetometer people have to be free of any metal or magnetic objects that might interfere with the performance of this very sensitive machine. Therefore those who operate it do need to wear only metal-free clothes, without wire, studs, buckles, metal adornments, shoes with metal strengthening or eyelets, underwire bras, let alone watches, rings, mobile phones: metal gets everywhere. When carrying out magnetometry its best to think about each piece of clothing and footwear: many people wear trainer bottoms and wellington boots.

• There is more to magnetometry than operating the machine. Magnetometry is a team effort and keeping the grid working is equally important and more relaxing. You can do this if you are not magnetic-free, so long as you keep several metres away from the machine.

• The full results will be available after a couple of months and volunteers will receive copies immediately.


• We will be carrying out magnetometry on two of the following days, depending on which are most popular: Friday 2nd March, Saturday 3rd March Sunday 4th March and Monday 5th March

• We will carry out electrical resistance survey on two of the following days, depending on which are most popular: Saturday 10th March, Sunday 11th March, Monday 12th March, and Tuesday 13th March.

• We start at 930 and finish by 3pm to 4pm, with a break for lunch. On each day we can accommodate up to 3 volunteers If you’d like to volunteer for this please do let the Friends of Kinson Common know which date(s) you could do (and how many you’d like to do) and we will get back to you to confirm the dates we will be working and where to meet.

If you have any queries? If you have any queries please do ring the researcher, Gerald Bennett, on 07906 758456 and he will be happy to help.

Based on information supplied by Friends of Kinson Common.