Oval barrow on Felton Hill 100m east of The Round House
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1008300
Date first listed: 17-Feb-1927
Date of most recent amendment: 20-May-1994
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: North Somerset (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference: ST 51624 64906
Reasons for Designation
Oval barrows are funerary and ceremonial monuments of the Early to Middle
Neolithic periods, with the majority of dated monuments belonging to the later
part of the range. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds of
roughly elliptical plan, usually delimited by quarry ditches. These ditches
can vary from paired "banana-shaped" ditches flanking the mound to "U-shaped"
or unbroken oval ditches nearly or wholly encircling it. Along with the long
barrows, oval barrows 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, oval barrows have
produced two distinct types of burial rite: communal burials of groups of
individuals, including adults and children, laid directly on the ground
surface before the barrow was built; and burials of one or two adults interred
in a grave pit centrally placed beneath the barrow mound. Certain sites
provide evidence for several phases of funerary monument preceding the barrow
and, consequently, it is probable that they may have acted as important ritual
sites for local communities over a considerable period of time. Similarly, as
the filling of the ditches around oval barrows often contains deliberately
placed deposits of pottery, flintwork and bone, periodic ceremonial activity
may have taken place at the barrow subsequent to its construction. Oval
barrows are very rare nationally, with less than 50 recorded examples in
England. As one of the few types of Neolithic structure to survive as
earthworks, and due to their rarity, their considerable age and their
longevity as a monument type, all oval barrows are considered to be nationally
The oval barrow 100m east of The Round House survives well and will contain information relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. This is one of only very few examples of an oval barrow occurring in the south-west of England and one of only two known examples within Avon.
The monument includes an oval barrow orientated north-south and situated 100m
east of The Round House on Felton Hill. The oval barrow has a mound c.1m high
and c.16m by 20m across. Several large stones which protrude from the
northern area of the mound may represent a collapsed burial chamber. The
smaller stones lying on the mound are likely to have been deposited during the
clearance of the common during the Second World War.
The barrow mound is surrounded by a ditch from which material was quarried
during the construction of the monument. This is no longer visible at ground
level, having become infilled over the years, but survives as a buried feature
MAP EXTRACT 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.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: 22812
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeology and Natural Hist Soc' in Somerset Barrows (Volume 115) (1970), , Vol. 115, (1970), 87
Iles' suggestion of Post Mill use, Iles' suggestion of Post Mill use,
Mention of 1946 deposition of stones, Mention of 1946 deposition of stones,
Tratman's identification of barrow, Tratman's identification of barrow,
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing