Ancient Monuments

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A ring cairn and bowl barrow 540m NNE of Putts Corner, forming part of a round barrow cemetery on Gittisham Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Honiton, Devon

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Latitude: 50.7637 / 50°45'49"N

Longitude: -3.2095 / 3°12'34"W

OS Eastings: 314792.787865

OS Northings: 96711.096763

OS Grid: SY147967

Mapcode National: GBR P9.B8WV

Mapcode Global: FRA 4752.7FG

Entry Name: A ring cairn and bowl barrow 540m NNE of Putts Corner, forming part of a round barrow cemetery on Gittisham Hill

Scheduled Date: 15 January 1948

Last Amended: 11 April 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014253

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27408

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Honiton

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Gittisham St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The Gittisham Hill barrow cemetery is situated in south east Devon, 8km
south of Honiton, on the high ground of an extensive Greensand plateau where
it forms the watershed of the south-flowing River Sid. The monument includes a
ring cairn and a bowl barrow, and the archaeologically sensitive ground
between them, situated within an area of heathland on level ground on
Gittisham Hill.
The ring cairn consists of a bank in the form of a continuous annular ring,
up to 2.5m in width and with an overall diameter of 21m. The bank varies in
height from c.0.15m on the south side to c.0.4m on the north side.
The bowl barrow consists of a mound of evenly rounded profile, 21m in
diameter and c.1m in height, which is located 12m to the north west of the
ring cairn. There is no evidence that it was surrounded by a ditch.
Antiquarian investigation in 1869, when a trench was cut from the centre of
the mound towards the south east, revealed the barrow to be composed of a
central mound of earth covered with a layer of stones, and encircled by a kerb
of large flints ranging from 30cm-45cm (12-18 inches) in size. This in turn is
covered with a substantial layer of dark soil. Traces of a funeral pyre were
found beneath the central mound, and four shapeless pieces of bronze, together
weighing over 1.5 pounds, were found under part of the kerb. A slight hollow
in the south east sector of the mound may indicate the location of the
excavation trench.
The area of ground between the ring cairn and the bowl barrow is
archaeologically sensitive in that it will contain burials, and evidence of
related activity, or archaeological evidence for the chronological
relationship between them.

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 Gittisham Hill barrow cemetery comprises the western area of one of the
most extensive and densest concentrations of barrows in Devon. Limited
archaeological excavations of some of the barrows in this concentration have
revealed that they show a remarkable diversity in size and form, and in the
nature of their funerary contents.
These two monuments are part of 13 that form the Gittisham Hill group.
The bowl barrow, although partly disturbed by antiquarian investigation,
remains largely intact and will retain archaeological and environmental
evidence relating to its construction and use.
The ring cairn is well preserved example of this class of monument and is
the only one so far identified in the Gittisham Hill group. Its close
association with a bowl barrow adds to its importance.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Fox, A, 'Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society' in The Broad Down (Farway) Necropolis, , Vol. 4, (1952), 1-19
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society' in The Barrows of South and East Devon, , Vol. 41, (1983), 5-46
Hutchinson, , 'Report and Transactions of the Devonshire Association' in Report on Barrows near Sidmouth, , Vol. 12, (1880)
Kirwan, R, 'Report of the Transactions of the Devonshire Association' in Notes On The Prehistoric Archaeology of East Devon, Part III, , Vol. 4, (1870), 295-304
Simpson, S, Noble, S, 'Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report' in Archaeological Survey & Management Study of Areas of E Devon, , Vol. 93.38, (1993)

Source: Historic England

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