A ring cairn and bowl barrow 540m NNE of Putts Corner, forming part of a round barrow cemetery on Gittisham Hill


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Ordnance survey map of A ring cairn and bowl barrow 540m NNE of Putts Corner, forming part of a round barrow cemetery on Gittisham Hill
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

East Devon (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SY 14793 96711

Reasons for Designation

Round barrow cemeteries date to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They comprise closely-spaced groups of up to 30 round barrows - rubble or earthen mounds covering single or multiple burials. Most cemeteries developed over a considerable period of time, often many centuries, and in some cases acted as a focus for burials as late as the early medieval period. They exhibit considerable diversity of burial rite, plan and form, frequently including several different types of round barrow, occasionally associated with earlier long barrows. Where large scale investigation has been undertaken around them, contemporary or later "flat" burials between the barrow mounds have often been revealed. Round barrow cemeteries occur across most of lowland Britain, with a marked concentration in Wessex. In some cases, they are clustered around other important contemporary monuments such as henges. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape, whilst their diversity and their longevity as a monument type provide important information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving or partly-surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

The Gittisham Hill barrow cemetery comprises the western area of one of the most extensive and densest concentrations of barrows in Devon. Limited archaeological excavations of some of the barrows in this concentration have revealed that they show a remarkable diversity in size and form, and in the nature of their funerary contents. These two monuments are part of 13 that form the Gittisham Hill group. The bowl barrow, although partly disturbed by antiquarian investigation, remains largely intact and will retain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction and use. The ring cairn is well preserved example of this class of monument and is the only one so far identified in the Gittisham Hill group. Its close association with a bowl barrow adds to its importance.


The Gittisham Hill barrow cemetery is situated in south east Devon, 8km south of Honiton, on the high ground of an extensive Greensand plateau where it forms the watershed of the south-flowing River Sid. The monument includes a ring cairn and a bowl barrow, and the archaeologically sensitive ground between them, situated within an area of heathland on level ground on Gittisham Hill. The ring cairn consists of a bank in the form of a continuous annular ring, up to 2.5m in width and with an overall diameter of 21m. The bank varies in height from c.0.15m on the south side to c.0.4m on the north side. The bowl barrow consists of a mound of evenly rounded profile, 21m in diameter and c.1m in height, which is located 12m to the north west of the ring cairn. There is no evidence that it was surrounded by a ditch. Antiquarian investigation in 1869, when a trench was cut from the centre of the mound towards the south east, revealed the barrow to be composed of a central mound of earth covered with a layer of stones, and encircled by a kerb of large flints ranging from 30cm-45cm (12-18 inches) in size. This in turn is covered with a substantial layer of dark soil. Traces of a funeral pyre were found beneath the central mound, and four shapeless pieces of bronze, together weighing over 1.5 pounds, were found under part of the kerb. A slight hollow in the south east sector of the mound may indicate the location of the excavation trench. The area of ground between the ring cairn and the bowl barrow is archaeologically sensitive in that it will contain burials, and evidence of related activity, or archaeological evidence for the chronological relationship between them.

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.

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Books and journals
Fox, A, 'Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society' in The Broad Down (Farway) Necropolis, , Vol. 4, (1952), 1-19
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society' in The Barrows of South and East Devon, , Vol. 41, (1983), 5-46
Hutchinson, , 'Report and Transactions of the Devonshire Association' in Report on Barrows near Sidmouth, , Vol. 12, (1880)
Kirwan, R, 'Report of the Transactions of the Devonshire Association' in Notes On The Prehistoric Archaeology of East Devon, Part III, , Vol. 4, (1870), 295-304
Simpson, S, Noble, S, 'Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report' in Archaeological Survey & Management Study of Areas of E Devon, , Vol. 93.38, (1993)


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.

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