Ancient Monuments

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Platform barrow and four bowl barrows south of Carn Maer forming part of a round barrow cemetery on Goonhilly Downs

A Scheduled Monument in Grade-Ruan, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.0318 / 50°1'54"N

Longitude: -5.1955 / 5°11'43"W

OS Eastings: 171248.543

OS Northings: 19525.0588

OS Grid: SW712195

Mapcode National: GBR Z6.G0CP

Mapcode Global: FRA 080X.MQF

Entry Name: Platform barrow and four bowl barrows south of Carn Maer forming part of a round barrow cemetery on Goonhilly Downs

Scheduled Date: 10 January 1962

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004367

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 609

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Grade-Ruan

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Ruan Minor

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument, which falls into five areas of protection, includes a platform barrow and four bowl barrows situated on the western side of Goonhilly Downs. It forms part of an extensive and dispersed round barrow cemetery. The northern platform barrow survives as a low circular mound measuring up to 24m in diameter and 0.7m high, with a slightly raised outer rim and a partially buried surrounding quarry ditch of up to 0.3m deep, cut by later peat cutting in places. The bowl barrows all survive as circular mounds, surrounded by buried quarry ditches from which the construction material was derived. The eastern barrow mound is 21m in diameter and 1.3m high, with an external retaining kerb of stones visible for much of the circumference. The ditch has been cut slightly by a field boundary on the western side and the top of the mound is crossed by a linear trench. To the west, and contained within a small enclosure, is a further barrow standing up to 33.5m in diameter and 1.1m high. A secondary off-centre mound and a number of surrounding flat-bottomed shallow pits suggest its re-use as a Second World War gun emplacement. To the west is a 15m diameter and up to 0.7m high barrow built on a rock outcrop. The westernmost barrow measures 20m in diameter and 1.2m high. It has a trench across the summit and a further hollow to the north west.

Further barrows, which form part of the cemetery, are the subject of separate schedulings.

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-426575, 426572, 426617 and 426687

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Platform barrows, funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age (2000-700 BC), are the rarest of the recognised types of round barrow, with fewer than 50 examples recorded nationally. They occur widely across southern England with a marked concentration in East and West Sussex and can occur either in barrow cemeteries (closely-spaced groups of barrows) or singly. They were constructed as low, flat-topped mounds of earth surrounded by a shallow ditch, occasionally crossed by an entrance causeway. None of the known examples stands higher than 1m above ground level, and most are considerably lower than this. Due to their comparative visual insignificance when compared to the larger types of round barrow, few were explored by 19th century antiquarians. As a result, few platform barrows are disturbed by excavation and, consequently, they remain a poorly understood class of monument. Their importance lies in their potential for illustrating the diversity of beliefs and burial practices in the Bronze Age.

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Often superficially similar, although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form and a diversity of burial practices. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation of form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period.

Despite some partial excavation and adaptive re-use, the platform barrow and four bowl barrows south of Carn Maer forming part of a round barrow cemetery survive comparatively well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to their construction, relative chronologies, territorial significance, social organisation, ritual and funerary practices, adaptive re-use and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England

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