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Two cairns and two bowl barrows on Weacombe Hill, 440m south of Bicknoller Post

A Scheduled Monument in Bicknoller, Somerset

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Latitude: 51.1516 / 51°9'5"N

Longitude: -3.2472 / 3°14'50"W

OS Eastings: 312862.437214

OS Northings: 139890.531608

OS Grid: ST128398

Mapcode National: GBR LV.7M56

Mapcode Global: VH6GX.NBP0

Entry Name: Two cairns and two bowl barrows on Weacombe Hill, 440m south of Bicknoller Post

Scheduled Date: 29 January 1976

Last Amended: 9 February 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014126

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22083

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Bicknoller

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset


The monument includes two cairns and two bowl barrows on the south facing
slope of Weacombe Hill at the north west end of the Quantocks. The cairns and
barrows form part of a wider mixed cemetery on the hill which includes three
barrows and two cairns.
The cairns and barrows, which form an inverted `C' shape, facing west, have
mounds which measure 5m, 10m, 14m and 23m in diameter and are 0.4m, 0.5m, 0.5m
and 1m high respectively. Surrounding the mound of each of the two barrows is
a ditch from which material was quarried during its construction. This ditch
has become infilled over the years and can no longer be seen at ground level,
but survives as a buried feature c.3m wide. One of the cairns was first
identified by A T Wicks in 1933.
One of the cairns is spread, and the barrows show signs of disturbance
indicative of previous investigation.

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 earthwork features are one of the key components
of the Quantocks' broader landscape character.
Round barrows and cairns on the Quantock Hills sometimes form mixed cemeteries
which are concentrations of two or more cairns in close proximity to one or
more round barrows. The cairns may be clearance cairns or funerary cairns.
Clearance cairns, built with stone from the surrounding land surface to
improve its use for agriculture, can sometimes define field plots. Funerary
round cairns, covering single or multiple burials, are difficult to
differentiate from clearance cairns without excavation, both being circular
mounds. Clearance cairns were constructed from the Neolithic period (from
c.3400 BC), although the majority of examples appear to be the result of field
clearance which began during the earlier Bronze Age and continued into the
later Bronze Age (2000-700 BC). Funerary cairns date to the Bronze Age.
Round barrows are constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched,
covering single or multiple burials. They also date to the Bronze Age, and
often acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Most cemeteries developed
over a considerable period of time, sometimes many centuries. Often occupying
prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern
landscape. Their longevity and variation in size, content and associations
provide important information on the variety of beliefs, social organisation,
development of land use and agricultural practices amongst early prehistoric
communities. Only a small number of round cairn cemeteries have been recorded
on the Quantocks, although the original figure is likely to have been higher.
A substantial proportion of surviving or partly surviving examples are
considered worthy of protection.

Despite one of the cairns and the two barrows having been disturbed, the
cairns and the bowl barrows on Weacombe Hill are integral to the Weacombe Hill
mixed cemetery and will contain archaeological remains and environmental
evidence relating to the mixed cemetery and the landscape in which it was

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Wicks, A T, Barrow Lore, (1933), 104-108
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of the Smerset Archaeological and Nat.Hist Society' in Somerset Barrows Part 1, (1969), 27
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of the Smerset Archaeological and Nat.Hist Society' in Somerset Barrows Part 1, (1969), 27

Source: Historic England

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