Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Bowl barrow 610m ESE of the fire tower on Monkham Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Luxborough, Somerset

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Latitude: 51.1426 / 51°8'33"N

Longitude: -3.4421 / 3°26'31"W

OS Eastings: 299213.77587

OS Northings: 139134.365

OS Grid: SS992391

Mapcode National: GBR LK.8CSP

Mapcode Global: VH6GT.9J4Y

Entry Name: Bowl barrow 610m ESE of the fire tower on Monkham Hill

Scheduled Date: 6 October 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021227

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35710

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Luxborough

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset


The monument includes a bowl barrow located on the east side of Monkham
Hill which forms the eastern end of an east-west ridge across Exmoor. The
barrow, which is of prehistoric date, is situated in a prominent position
just below the summit of the hill. It is formed by a near circular,
earthen, bowl-shaped mound, 19m in diameter and 1.4m in height. It is
surrounded by a ditch up to 2m wide from which material was quarried for
the construction of the mound. Although the quarry ditch has become
largely infilled over the years it survives as a slight depression of 0.2m
deep on the eastern side of the mound, giving the bowl barrow an overall
diameter of 23m.

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

Exmoor is the most easterly of the three main upland areas in the south
western peninsula of England. In contrast to the others, Dartmoor and
Bodmin Moor, there has been no history of antiquarian research and little
excavation of its monuments. However, detailed survey work by the Royal
Commission on the Historical Monuments of England has confirmed a
comparable richness of archaeological remains, with evidence of human
exploitation and occupation from the Mesolithic period to the present day.
Many of the field monuments surviving on Exmoor date from the later
prehistoric period. Examples include stone settings, stone alignments,
standing stones, and burial mounds (`barrows'). Bowl barrows, the most
numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating to the Late
Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to
the period 2400-1500BC. 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. Over 370 bowl barrows, varying in diameter
from 2m to 35m, have been recorded on Exmoor. Many of these are found on
or close to the summits of the three east-west ridges which cross the moor
- the southern escarpment, the central ridge, and the northern ridge -
whilst individual barrows and groups may also be found on lower lying
ground and hillslopes. Those which occupy prominent locations form a major
visual element in the modern landscape. Their considerable variation in
form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the
diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric
communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a
substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of

Despite the centre of the mound's surface having been disturbed by limited
forestry activity, the bowl barrow 610m ESE of the fire tower on Monkham
Hill survives comparatively well. It will contain environmental evidence
and archaeological deposits relating to the monument and the wider
landscape in which it was constructed. In addition, it forms one of a
number of prehistoric burial mounds which occupy prominent positions along
the central ridge of Exmoor.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of Somerset Archaelogical & Natural History Society' in Somerset Barrows, , Vol. 113, (1969), 35
SS 93 NE 3, National Monuments Record,

Source: Historic England

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