Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Bowl barrow 700m NNE of Duke's Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Michaelchurch Escley, Herefordshire,

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Latitude: 52.0108 / 52°0'39"N

Longitude: -3.022 / 3°1'19"W

OS Eastings: 329948.52995

OS Northings: 235204.259462

OS Grid: SO299352

Mapcode National: GBR F5.HH0J

Mapcode Global: VH787.KQQC

Entry Name: Bowl barrow 700m NNE of Duke's Farm

Scheduled Date: 22 March 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014776

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27498

County: Herefordshire,

Civil Parish: Michaelchurch Escley

Traditional County: Herefordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Herefordshire

Church of England Parish: Craswall

Church of England Diocese: Hereford


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a bowl barrow,
situated on a slight mound on the top of the Cefn Hill ridge, overlooking the
Monnow Valley and just west of the Cefn Track. The remains include an earthen
mound, c.10m in diameter and c.0.5m high. The mound has an uneven surface and
flattish top, in the centre of which is a stone-lined burial chamber, or cist.
The cist was revealed when the owner attempted to level the mound in the early
1980s, and consists of four slate slabs set on their sides to enclose a
sub-rectangular area, aligned roughly north-south. The two short sides, both
0.76m long and 0.15m wide, are set inside the longer stones, the eastern of
which is 1.7m long and 0.25m wide, and the western 1.4m long by 0.16m wide.
The chamber is 0.5m deep, and is now empty. Its fill of loose soil was removed
by the owner and examined by members of the Herefordshire Archaeology Unit;
two flints and some very small bones were recovered. No cap stone was found,
and it is possible that this was removed during an early investigation of the
site, probably along with further finds from within the chamber. The cist is
similar to those found in the Olchon Valley earlier this century, and c.4km to
the north west, again just below the Cefn Track, is another example with the
same south west aspect (the subject of a separate scheduling); both command
impressive views and it is likely that more await discovery along the ridge.
The track, which may itself be prehistoric in origin, is also the parish
boundary, and these monuments may have served as territorial markers, defining
land divisions which have been retained to the present day.

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 having the contents of its burial chamber removed, the barrow 700m NNE
of Dukes Farm is a well preserved example of this class of monument. The
barrow mound will retain further evidence for its method of construction, and
additional burial remains may be preserved within it. The structural
components can tell us about the technology and burial practices of the
prehistoric community who built and used the monument. The ground surface
sealed beneath the mound will retain environmental evidence for the land use
at and around the monument immediately prior to its construction. The barrow's
close association with the Cefn Track, which is also the parish boundary,
increases its interest as a possible territorial marker as well as a burial
monument. When viewed alongside other examples in the area, the monument can
contribute to our understanding of the social organisation and demography of
the Bronze Age population.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
'Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club' in Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club, , Vol. 1930/2, (1930), 147
Shoesmith, Ron, (1995)

Source: Historic England

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