Ancient Monuments

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Earl's Hill bowl barrow: part of the round barrow cemetery on Therfield Heath

A Scheduled Monument in Royston, Hertfordshire

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Latitude: 52.0451 / 52°2'42"N

Longitude: -0.041 / 0°2'27"W

OS Eastings: 534448.098067

OS Northings: 240329.147118

OS Grid: TL344403

Mapcode National: GBR K7P.NH6

Mapcode Global: VHGNB.7VQM

Entry Name: Earl's Hill bowl barrow: part of the round barrow cemetery on Therfield Heath

Scheduled Date: 10 August 1923

Last Amended: 16 July 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010426

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20630

County: Hertfordshire

Civil Parish: Royston

Built-Up Area: Royston

Traditional County: Hertfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Hertfordshire

Church of England Parish: Therfield

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans


Earl's Hill bowl barrow is situated on Therfield Heath. It is an outlier to a
wider round barrow cemetery and is located 300m north-east of a Neolithic long
barrow. The monument includes a hemispherical earth mound 26m in diameter and
c.2.5m in height. Although no longer visible at ground level, a ditch, from
which material was quarried during the construction of the monument, surrounds
the barrow mound. This has been infilled over the years but survives as a
buried feature c.2m wide. The barrow was partly excavated in 1855 by E B
Nunn, although no details are known.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Round barrow cemeteries date to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They comprise
closely-spaced groups of up to 30 round barrows - rubble or earthen mounds
covering single or multiple burials. Most cemeteries developed over a
considerable period of time, often many centuries, and in some cases acted as
a focus for burials as late as the early medieval period. They exhibit
considerable diversity of burial rite, plan and form, frequently including
several different types of round barrow, occasionally associated with earlier
long barrows. Where large scale investigation has been undertaken around them,
contemporary or later "flat" burials between the barrow mounds have often been
revealed. Round barrow cemeteries occur across most of lowland Britain, with a
marked concentration in Wessex. In some cases, they are clustered around other
important contemporary monuments such as henges. Often occupying prominent
locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape, whilst
their diversity and their longevity as a monument type provide important
information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst early
prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period
and a substantial proportion of surviving or partly-surviving examples are
considered worthy of protection.

The round barrow cemetery on Therfield Heath is the largest known example of
its type in Hertfordshire. Despite partial excavation, this distant outlier
is a well-preserved component of the cemetery and retains potential for the
recovery of archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the
monument and the landscape in which it was constructed.

Source: Historic England


NAR No TL 63 SE 9, Information from NAR,

Source: Historic England

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