Ancient Monuments

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A bell barrow, a bowl barrow and a platform barrow 620m west of Higher Cransworth

A Scheduled Monument in St. Breock, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.4764 / 50°28'35"N

Longitude: -4.8821 / 4°52'55"W

OS Eastings: 195603.5154

OS Northings: 68034.8147

OS Grid: SW956680

Mapcode National: GBR ZQ.R4VR

Mapcode Global: FRA 07NS.XG8

Entry Name: A bell barrow, a bowl barrow and a platform barrow 620m west of Higher Cransworth

Scheduled Date: 24 March 1959

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004406

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 476

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Breock

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Wenn

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument, which falls into three areas of protection, includes a bell barrow, a bowl barrow and a platform barrow, situated on the prominent upland ridge known as Roseannon Downs. The bell barrow lies to the north and survives as a steep-sided circular mound with traces of an outer berm measuring up to 19.5m in diameter and 3.1m high. It has a buried outer ditch. There are several early partial excavation trenches and hollows on the mound. The central bowl barrow survives as a circular mound measuring approximately 19m in diameter and 1.8m high with a buried surrounding quarry ditch. There is a deep central excavation hollow and a partial stone kerb. The southern platform barrow survives as a low, 13m diameter, circular flat-topped mound with a buried outer ditch. The low mound has been disturbed by partial early excavation and varies in height from 0.3m to 1.1m.
Further archaeological remains survive in the vicinity of the monument and are the subject of separate schedulings.

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-430263

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Bell barrows, the most visually impressive form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating to the Early and Middle Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 1500-1100 BC. They were constructed as single or multiple mounds covering burials, often in pits, and surrounded by an enclosure ditch. The burials are frequently accompanied by weapons, personal ornaments and pottery and appear to be those of aristocratic individuals, usually men. Bell barrows (particularly multiple barrows) are rare nationally, with less than 250 known examples. They provide evidence for chronological and cultural links amongst early prehistoric communities over most of southern and eastern England as well as providing an insight into their beliefs and social organisation.

Bowl barrows are the most numerous form of round barrow, 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 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.

Platform barrows 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. 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. 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 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.

Despite partial early excavation, the bell barrow, bowl barrow and platform barrow 620m west of Higher Cransworth survive comparatively well and form a rare and informative group. They will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to their construction, relative chronologies, territorial significance, social organisation, ritual and funerary practices and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England

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