Ancient Monuments

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Bowl barrow on summit of Little Mell Fell

A Scheduled Monument in Matterdale, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.608 / 54°36'28"N

Longitude: -2.8945 / 2°53'40"W

OS Eastings: 342320.814689

OS Northings: 524017.182559

OS Grid: NY423240

Mapcode National: GBR 8H74.4Y

Mapcode Global: WH81G.HFWS

Entry Name: Bowl barrow on summit of Little Mell Fell

Scheduled Date: 17 September 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011361

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22564

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Matterdale

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Watermillock

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument is a partly mutilated bowl barrow located on the summit of Little
Mell Fell. It includes a flat-topped oval mound of earth and stone up to 0.9m
high with maximum dimensions of 12.5m by 10.8m. There is an Ordnance Survey
column on the western half of the barrow's summit. This column was
repositioned in 1952. During this operation workmen discovered a cinerary urn
0.48m tall containing calcined bones together with two small pieces of bronze
c.0.5m below the barrow's surface.
The column is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it is

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

Despite partial mutilation of the eastern side of the monument, the bowl
barrow on the summit of Little Mell Fell survives reasonably well. Limited
disturbance to the monument has revealed a cremation, pottery and bronze, and
further evidence of interments and grave goods will exist within the mound and
upon the old landsurface beneath.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Huddleston, C R, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Notes - A Bronze Age Burial on Little Mell Fell, , Vol. LII, (1952), 178
Darvill,T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Bowl Barrows, (1988)

Source: Historic England

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