Ancient Monuments

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Two bowl barrows on Beacon Hill

A Scheduled Monument in West Quantoxhead, Somerset

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.1615 / 51°9'41"N

Longitude: -3.2535 / 3°15'12"W

OS Eastings: 312444.393632

OS Northings: 140996.869948

OS Grid: ST124409

Mapcode National: GBR LT.75L3

Mapcode Global: VH6GX.K2CF

Entry Name: Two bowl barrows on Beacon Hill

Scheduled Date: 29 January 1976

Last Amended: 9 February 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014122

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22079

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: West Quantoxhead

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset

Details

The monument includes two bowl barrows on the top of Beacon Hill at the north
west end of the Quantocks. The barrows form part of a wider mixed cemetery on
the hill which includes two barrows and three cairns.
The barrows which are aligned north west to south east have mounds which
measure 24m and 23m in diameter and are 0.7m and 1m high respectively. There
is a distance of 3m between the two barrows. Surrounding each mound is a ditch
from which material was quarried during its construction. These ditches have
become infilled over the years and can no longer be seen at ground level, but
survive as buried features c.3m wide. Where the barrows are closest together
the ditches will run into one.
The southernmost barrow has an Ordnance Survey triangulation point on its top.
The Ordnance Survey triangulation point is excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath it is included.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The area of the Quantock Hills, although small in extent, is one of the few
remaining expanses of open moorland in southern Britain. Its archaeological
importance lies in the existence of a landscape displaying examples of
monuments tracing the exploitation of the hills from the Bronze Age onwards.
Well-preserved monuments from the Bronze Age and Iron Age, including round
barrows, cairns, settlements, hillforts and a trackway, as well as later
industrial remains, give insights into changes in the pattern of land use on
the hills through time. These earthworks are one of the key components of the
Quantocks' broader landscape character.
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. In excess of 30 bowl barrows can be found on
the Quantock Hills. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major
historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation in
form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the
diversity of beliefs and social organisations among early prehistoric
communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a
substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of
protection.

Despite having been damaged, the two bowl barrows on Beacon Hill are integral
to the Beacon Hill mixed cemetery and will contain archaeological remains and
environmental evidence relating to the cemetery and the landscape in which it
was constructed.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of the Smerset Archaeological and Nat.Hist Society' in Somerset Barrows Part 1, (1969), 40
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of the Smerset Archaeological and Nat.Hist Society' in Somerset Barrows Part 1, (1969), 40

Source: Historic England

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