Four bowl barrows 270m west of The Downs


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019534

Date first listed: 09-May-2001


Ordnance survey map of Four bowl barrows 270m west of The Downs
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: South Hams (District Authority)

Parish: Thurlestone

National Grid Reference: SX 67127 43226


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 four bowl barrows 270m west of The Downs survive well. The mounds and their surrounding ditches will contain archaeological and environmental information relating to their construction and use as well as the contemporary landscape.


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


This monument includes four bowl barrows of Late Neolithic to Bronze Age date, aligned along an east to west ridge with wide coastal views to the north and west. It overlooks the post-Roman settlement site of Bantham Ham which is the subject of a separate scheduling, about 1km to the north west. The largest barrow lies at the west end of the group and measures 50m in diameter, surviving up to 1.6m high. It was partly built on a rock outcrop which has been exposed on the north side of the mound by a small post-medieval quarry which survives as a depression 35m wide and 0.8m deep. A small barrow to the north west overlies the edge of the larger mound and measures 20m in diameter and is up to 0.8m high. To the east, a third mound on rising ground measures 39m in diameter and is up to 0.9m high. A fourth, very slight mound immediately to its south east is 22m in diameter, survives up to 0.4m high and is crossed by a later hedge. None of the barrows' quarry ditches are visible, but all survive as buried features.

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: 33782

Legacy System: RSM


MPP fieldwork by R Waterhouse, Waterhouse, R, (2000)

End of official listing