Bowl barrow 210m NE of Starved Oak Cross


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010633

Date first listed: 16-May-1951

Date of most recent amendment: 27-Sep-1991


Ordnance survey map of Bowl barrow 210m NE of Starved Oak Cross
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: East Devon (District Authority)

Parish: Brampford Speke

National Grid Reference: SX 91412 98972


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

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 protection.

The limited excavation at this bowl barrow has confirmed the excellent survival of detailed evidence for the mound's construction and for its central funerary deposits, while leaving extensive areas unexcavated. The unusual low-lying position of the Upton Pyne barrow group, its good overall preservation, and the quality of the dating, constructional and artefactual information that it has already produced, have all resulted in its frequent mention in national reviews of Bronze Age funerary monuments. This barrow has been one of the major contributors to that importance, and retains the potential to add still more.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument is a bowl barrow which survives as a low mound, 30m in diameter and 0.5m high, in an arable field. The original circular barrow mound has surface irregularities caused by the removal of field boundaries that formerly crossed it, leaving a shallow trough to the S and a slight bank to the W, while a central depression derives from partial excavations, only in the barrow's central area, undertaken in 1967. These excavations revealed that the barrow mound, built on a platform terraced into the slope, had a layered construction with a central sand core covered by succesive layers of turf, sand and clay. A primary infant cremation covered by a lug-handled `Trevisker' urn (a middle Bronze Age pottery style of SW England) lay at the centre of the sand core; 2.75m from the primary burial was a small stone cist containing an inverted Collared Urn, and two more lugged Trevisker urns were inverted over cremations next to the cist. Two more cremations, lacking grave-goods, and three deposits of oak charcoal were also found in the sand core. A radiocarbon date obtained from the charcoal gave a date of 1386 bc, about the start of the middle Bronze Age. Evidence from barrows excavated elsewhere leaves a high probability that more burials will be located in the outer layers around the mound periphery, not disturbed by these excavations. This barrow lies on a gentle SW-facing slope in a broad shallow valley, and is one of a loose concentration of barrows, with two other barrows spaced 110m and 120m from it to the NNE and NNW respectively, near the centre of the area covered by the Upton Pyne barrow group. This group comprises over thirty recorded barrows dispersed about a low-lying alluvial basin north of the confluences of the River Exe with the Rivers Culm and Creedy. Within the overall group, barrows occur both as isolated examples and forming localised clusters. Grave goods and a radiocarbon date derived from the few partly excavated barrows in the group indicate burials during the early and middle Bronze Age (around 2000 - 1000 BC). All of the upstanding barrows in this group present the appearance of unditched bowl barrows, the absence of ditches being supported by air photographic evidence and confirmed for all examples that have been excavated.

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: 15018

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Todd, M, The South-West to A.D. 1000, (1987), 148-50
Pollard, S H M, Russell, P, 'Proc. Devon Arch. Soc.' in Excavation of Round Barrow 248b, Upton Pyne, Exeter, , Vol. 27, (1969), 49-78
Pollard, S H M, Russell, P, 'Proc. Devon Arch. Soc.' in Radiocarbon Dating, Excavations Of Round Barrow 248b, Upton Pyne, , Vol. 34, (1976), 95
Devon SMR entries for SX 99 NW-026, -027 and -052,
Devon SMR entries for SX 99 NW-119 and -120,
Devon SMR entry for SX 99 NW-021,
Fox, A., South-West England, (1964)

End of official listing