Bowl barrow on Thorncombe Hill 500m north west of Halsway Post
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1015208
Date first listed: 28-Jun-1996
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This copy shows the entry on 22-Feb-2019 at 19:02:09.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: West Somerset (District Authority)
Parish: East Quantoxhead
National Grid Reference: ST 13668 38892
Reasons for Designation
The area of the Quantock Hills, although small in extent, is one of the few
remaining expanses of open moorland in southern Britain. Its archaeological
importance lies in the existence of a landscape displaying examples of
monuments tracing the exploitation of the hills from the Bronze Age onwards.
Well-preserved monuments from the Bronze Age and Iron Age, including round
barrows, cairns, settlements, hillforts and a trackway, as well as later
industrial remains, give insights into changes in the pattern of land use on
the hills through time. These earthworks are one of the key components of the
Quantocks' broader landscape character.
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. In excess of 30 bowl barrows can be found on
the Quantock Hills. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major
historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation in
form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the
diversity of beliefs and social organisations among early prehistoric
communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a
substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of
Despite indications of previous investigation, the bowl barrow on Thorncombe Hill survives well and will contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the barrow and the landscape in which it was constructed. The barrow lies in a damp peaty area; waterlogged deposits are therefore likely to survive.
The monument includes a bowl barrow on the crest of the north east facing
slope of a hill on the Quantocks.
The barrow has a mound which measures c.16m in diameter and is c.1.3m high on
its west side and 1.8m high on its east side. Surrounding the mound is a ditch
from which material was excavated during the construction of the mound. This
can no longer be seen at ground level, but survives as a buried feature 3m
A depression in the centre of the mound is indicative of antiquarian
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: 22090
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of the Smerset Archaeological and Nat.Hist Society' in Somerset Barrows Part 1, , Vol. 113, (1969), 31
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