Ancient Monuments

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Long barrow, round barrow and cairn on Pen Hill

A Scheduled Monument in St Cuthbert Out, Somerset

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Latitude: 51.2357 / 51°14'8"N

Longitude: -2.6265 / 2°37'35"W

OS Eastings: 356356.862298

OS Northings: 148688.480738

OS Grid: ST563486

Mapcode National: GBR MP.2GD6

Mapcode Global: VH89S.F6BK

Entry Name: Long barrow, round barrow and cairn on Pen Hill

Scheduled Date: 19 December 1929

Last Amended: 9 April 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020018

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34861

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: St Cuthbert Out

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset


The monument, which lies in two separate areas of protection, includes a
Neolithic long barrow, a round barrow and a round cairn. They are located on
the south and west-facing slope of Pen Hill, which is situated at the eastern
edge of the Mendip Hills. The round barrow and the cairn are believed to date
from the Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age period.
The long barrow is aligned from east to west and is located below the crest of
the hill. It is 44m in length, has an average width of 13m, and has a maximum
height of approximately 2m on the south, downslope side. The barrow is flanked
by side ditches which widen towards the south west. Side ditches, from which
material was quarried for the construction of the mound, often become infilled
over the millennia but they will survive as buried features. In this case,
they are approximately 3m wide on either side of the barrow mound; the ditch
to the north of the mound was visible at least as recently as 1971.
A bowl shaped round barrow is located 3m from the eastern end of the long
barrow; the barrow mound is 14m in diameter and approximately 1.5m in height.
It is believed to be encircled by an associated quarry ditch of about 2m in
width from which material would have been extracted for the construction of
the mound.
The cairn is located 140m to the north east of the long barrow. The cairn is
reported in a mid-19th century excavation to have contained a large deposit of
charred wood and ashes overlain by fine earth and capped by pieces of red
sandstone. It is 10m in diameter and approximately 1m high and has an Ordnance
Survey triangulation pillar set into its surface. This is included in the
The television mast anchorage points together with all fencing and fence
posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these
features 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.

Long barrows are the earliest visible funerary monuments in the country and
are relatively rare in this region. Despite a little erosion on its south
side, the long barrow on Pen Hill is a good example of its class and acts as a
focus for the later round barrow and cairn.
Round barrows and cairns are a similar class of funerary monument which
normally covered a single or a multiple burial and date from the Late
Neolithic period through to the Late Bronze Age. Round barrows are constructed
as earthen mounds, usually with an enclosing ditch. Cairns are constructed as
stone or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched.
All three burial mounds on Pen Hill survive well and will contain
archaeological deposits and environmental evidence relating to the monument
and the landscape in which it was constructed.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Grinsell, L, 'Proceedings of Somerset Archaeology and Natural History Society' in Somerset Barrows, , Vol. 115, (1971), 86
Grinsell, L, 'Proceedings of Somerset Archaeology and Natural History Society' in Somerset Barrows, , Vol. 115, (1971), 116
Grinsell, L, 'Proceedings of Somerset Archaeology and Natural History Society' in Somerset Barrows, , Vol. 115, (1971), 116

Source: Historic England

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