Ancient Monuments

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Bowl barrow 210m north east of Starved Oak Cross

A Scheduled Monument in Brampford Speke, Devon

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Latitude: 50.7801 / 50°46'48"N

Longitude: -3.5416 / 3°32'29"W

OS Eastings: 291412.189433

OS Northings: 98971.771183

OS Grid: SX914989

Mapcode National: GBR P0.L324

Mapcode Global: FRA 37G0.XS7

Entry Name: Bowl barrow 210m NE of Starved Oak Cross

Scheduled Date: 16 May 1951

Last Amended: 27 September 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010633

English Heritage Legacy ID: 15018

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Brampford Speke

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Brampford Speke

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument is a bowl barrow which survives as a low mound, 30m in
diameter and 0.5m high, in an arable field. The original circular
barrow mound has surface irregularities caused by the removal of field
boundaries that formerly crossed it, leaving a shallow trough to the S
and a slight bank to the W, while a central depression derives from
partial excavations, only in the barrow's central area, undertaken in
1967. These excavations revealed that the barrow mound, built on a
platform terraced into the slope, had a layered construction with a
central sand core covered by succesive layers of turf, sand and clay.
A primary infant cremation covered by a lug-handled `Trevisker' urn (a
middle Bronze Age pottery style of SW England) lay at the centre of the
sand core; 2.75m from the primary burial was a small stone cist
containing an inverted Collared Urn, and two more lugged Trevisker urns
were inverted over cremations next to the cist. Two more cremations,
lacking grave-goods, and three deposits of oak charcoal were also found
in the sand core. A radiocarbon date obtained from the charcoal gave a
date of 1386 bc, about the start of the middle Bronze Age. Evidence
from barrows excavated elsewhere leaves a high probability that more
burials will be located in the outer layers around the mound periphery,
not disturbed by these excavations. This barrow lies on a gentle
SW-facing slope in a broad shallow valley, and is one of a loose
concentration of barrows, with two other barrows spaced 110m and 120m
from it to the NNE and NNW respectively, near the centre of the area
covered by the Upton Pyne barrow group. This group comprises over
thirty recorded barrows dispersed about a low-lying alluvial basin
north of the confluences of the River Exe with the Rivers Culm and
Creedy. Within the overall group, barrows occur both as isolated
examples and forming localised clusters. Grave goods and a radiocarbon
date derived from the few partly excavated barrows in the group
indicate burials during the early and middle Bronze Age (around 2000 -
1000 BC). All of the upstanding barrows in this group present the
appearance of unditched bowl barrows, the absence of ditches being
supported by air photographic evidence and confirmed for all examples
that have been excavated.

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

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. There are over 10,000 surviving bowl
barrows recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring
across most of lowland Britain. 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
and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of

The limited excavation at this bowl barrow has confirmed the excellent
survival of detailed evidence for the mound's construction and for its central
funerary deposits, while leaving extensive areas unexcavated. The unusual
low-lying position of the Upton Pyne barrow group, its good overall
preservation, and the quality of the dating, constructional and artefactual
information that it has already produced, have all resulted in its frequent
mention in national reviews of Bronze Age funerary monuments. This barrow has
been one of the major contributors to that importance, and retains the
potential to add still more.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Todd, M, The South-West to A.D. 1000, (1987), 148-50
Pollard, S H M, Russell, P, 'Proc. Devon Arch. Soc.' in Excavation of Round Barrow 248b, Upton Pyne, Exeter, , Vol. 27, (1969), 49-78
Pollard, S H M, Russell, P, 'Proc. Devon Arch. Soc.' in Radiocarbon Dating, Excavations Of Round Barrow 248b, Upton Pyne, , Vol. 34, (1976), 95
Devon SMR entries for SX 99 NW-026, -027 and -052,
Devon SMR entries for SX 99 NW-119 and -120,
Devon SMR entry for SX 99 NW-021,
Fox, A., South-West England, (1964)

Source: Historic England

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