Ancient Monuments

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Four bowl barrows 270m west of The Downs

A Scheduled Monument in Thurlestone, Devon

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Latitude: 50.274 / 50°16'26"N

Longitude: -3.866 / 3°51'57"W

OS Eastings: 267124.131579

OS Northings: 43225.057648

OS Grid: SX671432

Mapcode National: GBR QB.L8LY

Mapcode Global: FRA 28S9.PPB

Entry Name: Four bowl barrows 270m west of The Downs

Scheduled Date: 9 May 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019534

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33782

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Thurlestone

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Thurlestone All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


This monument includes four bowl barrows of Late Neolithic to Bronze Age date,
aligned along an east to west ridge with wide coastal views to the north and
west. It overlooks the post-Roman settlement site of Bantham Ham which is the
subject of a separate scheduling, about 1km to the north west.
The largest barrow lies at the west end of the group and measures 50m in
diameter, surviving up to 1.6m high. It was partly built on a rock outcrop
which has been exposed on the north side of the mound by a small post-medieval
quarry which survives as a depression 35m wide and 0.8m deep. A small barrow
to the north west overlies the edge of the larger mound and measures 20m in
diameter and is up to 0.8m high. To the east, a third mound on rising ground
measures 39m in diameter and is up to 0.9m high. A fourth, very slight mound
immediately to its south east is 22m in diameter, survives up to 0.4m high and
is crossed by a later hedge. None of the barrows' quarry ditches are visible,
but all survive as buried features.

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

The four bowl barrows 270m west of The Downs survive well. The mounds and
their surrounding ditches will contain archaeological and environmental
information relating to their construction and use as well as the contemporary

Source: Historic England


MPP fieldwork by R Waterhouse, Waterhouse, R, (2000)

Source: Historic England

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