Two bowl barrows called West Anstey Barrows.
Reasons for Designation
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. Despite partial early excavation or robbing the two bowl barrows called West Anstey Barrows survive comparatively well and the western one is a slight deviation from the more standard bowl barrow to the east because it has an outer bank as well as a ditch. Together they display some of the variety in form which such barrows can take and may reflect subtle differences internally, in burial practices or chronology. Both will contain important archaeological and environmental evidence relating to their construction, longevity, territorial significance, funerary and ritual practices and general landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 10 November 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
This monument which falls into two areas includes two bowl barrows situated close to the summit of a prominent ridge known as West Anstey Common which forms the watershed between the Rivers Yeo and Barle. The western barrow survives as a circular mound measuring 24m in diameter and 1.9m high. The surrounding quarry ditch from which material to construct the mound was derived survives as a partially buried feature up to 3m wide and 0.1m deep. There is a central hollow and trench cutting across the north east of the mound indicative of early partial excavation. The eastern barrow survives as a circular mound measuring up to 32m in diameter and 2.1m high. The partially buried ditch measures up to 3m wide and 0.4m deep and there is an outer bank measuring up to 0.7m high. This mound also has evidence of partial early excavation having a central hollow and a trench to the south west.
Other similar monuments in the vicinity are the subject of separate schedulings.