Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Bowl barrow: one of two round barrows on Pen Hills

A Scheduled Monument in Therfield, Hertfordshire

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Latitude: 52.0423 / 52°2'32"N

Longitude: -0.0584 / 0°3'30"W

OS Eastings: 533262.378927

OS Northings: 239991.923267

OS Grid: TL332399

Mapcode National: GBR K7N.XQS

Mapcode Global: VHGN9.YX0R

Entry Name: Bowl barrow: one of two round barrows on Pen Hills

Scheduled Date: 23 June 1975

Last Amended: 16 July 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010430

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20633

County: Hertfordshire

Civil Parish: Therfield

Traditional County: Hertfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Hertfordshire

Church of England Parish: Therfield

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans


The monument includes a bowl barrow situated on a ridge north of Pen Hills,
some 750m west of the barrow cemetery on Therfield Heath. It is visible as a
hemispherical shaped earth mound measuring 18m in diameter and between 0.75m
and 1.75m 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 become infilled over the years but
survives as a buried feature c.2m wide.

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 bowl barrow on Pen Hills is well-preserved and as such will provide
archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the
landscape in which it was constructed. It is situated in close proximity
to a pond barrow some 140m east and the round barrow cemetery on Therfield
Heath about 750m east. As a group these provide a detailed insight into the
exploitation of the downland during the later Prehistoric period.

Source: Historic England

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