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Long barrow and two bowl barrows, 200m south east of Chapelcombe

A Scheduled Monument in Bigbury, Devon

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Latitude: 50.3079 / 50°18'28"N

Longitude: -3.8737 / 3°52'25"W

OS Eastings: 266673.080544

OS Northings: 47005.504808

OS Grid: SX666470

Mapcode National: GBR QB.J0PF

Mapcode Global: FRA 28S7.0NX

Entry Name: Long barrow and two bowl barrows, 200m south east of Chapelcombe

Scheduled Date: 18 July 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019239

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33748

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Bigbury

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Bigbury St Lawrence

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument includes three barrows on a WNW to ESE alignment, on a level
hilltop. The western mound represents a Neolithic long barrow on a north east
to south west axis. It is of tapering form, with the south west end 37.5m wide
and 0.4m high. The north east end is 22m wide by 0.2m high and the total
length is 60m. No flanking ditches are visible. The barrow is composed of
orange sandy soil with many fragments of slate. A cropmark at the south west
end of the mound suggests the presence of a buried stone chamber. A flint core
of Neolithic or Early Bronze Age date was picked up on the south side of this
associated cropmark.
The central mound represents a small bowl barrow of late Neolithic to Bronze
Age date, between 29m and 34m diameter, and 0.8m high. The eastern mound, also
representing a bowl barrow, is the largest in the group and is slightly oval,
between 43.5m and 50m diameter and 1.7m high. The lane passing along the north
east side has cut into the mound, removing a segment of between 10m and 15m
thick, although buried deposits will survive beneath this level of
disturbance. Both of the bowl barrow mounds are composed of orange sandy soil
with many large pieces of white quartz scattered over the surface. Although no
longer visible at ground level, a buried ditch will surround each of the bowl
barrow mounds.
The modern road surfaces are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
beneath them is included.

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

Long barrows were constructed as earthen or drystone mounds with flanking
ditches and acted as funerary monuments during the Early and Middle Neolithic
periods (3400-2400 BC). They represent the burial places of Britain's early
farming communities and, as such, are amongst the oldest field monuments
surviving visibly in the present landscape. Where investigated, long barrows
appear to have been used for communal burial, often with only parts of the
human remains having been selected for interment. Certain sites provide
evidence for several phases of funerary monument preceding the barrow and,
consequently, it is probable that long barrows acted as important ritual sites
for local communities over a considerable period of time. Some 500 examples of
long barrows and long cairns, their counterparts in the uplands, are recorded
nationally. As one of the few types of Neolithic structure to survive as
earthworks, and due to their comparative rarity, their considerable age and
their longevity as a monument type, all long barrows are considered to be
nationally important.

The long barrow south east of Chapelcombe is one of only seven known in Devon,
the majority being on the fringes of Dartmoor. Like the other known examples
in the county, there may be a simple stone chamber at the wider, southern end.
The mound's relatively short length gives it a squat appearance which may be
misleading, as some of the tail may have been cut away by the construction of
the lane to the east. As is common with long barrows, this example is aligned
north east to south west, yet its proximal end is, unusually, at the south
west. The apparent lack of side ditches is typical of long barrows in upland
areas, as is its low profile. The cropmark at the proximal end with no
evidence of robbing suggests an intact or partly preserved chamber.
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 to 1500 BC. They were constructed as
earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple
The alignment of the two bowl barrows at right angles to the Neolithic long
barrow is rare in England and unique in Devon, where no other such
associations are known. The level of survival of burials within these barrows
is likely to be good, as they survive to a good height with no evidence of

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society' in The Barrows of South and East Devon, , Vol. 41, (1983), 5-46

Source: Historic England

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