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Seven round barrows and a ring barrow on Bear's Downs and Denzell Downs, 850m north east of Higher Denzell

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Seven round barrows and a ring barrow on Bear's Downs and Denzell Downs, 850m north east of Higher Denzell

List entry Number: 1021007

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County:

District: Cornwall

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Mawgan-in-Pydar

County:

District: Cornwall

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: St. Ervan

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 10-Feb-1958

Date of most recent amendment: 11-Aug-2003

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 32977

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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

Reasons for Designation

Round barrows 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 mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus of 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 examples recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring across most of Britain, including the Wessex area where it is often possible to classify them more closely, for example as bowl or bell barrows. 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 amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Despite limited modification and reduction by ploughing, the eight barrows on Bear's Downs and Denzell Downs survive well. The underlying old land surfaces, and remains of structures or other deposits associated with these and with the upstanding earthworks, will also survive. The barrows show the variety of form typical of this monument type, while the kerbing with white quartz, and the general absence of external ditches, provide examples of local or regional variations in barrow construction. The hill- and ridge-top locations of the barrows illustrate well the important role of topography in Bronze Age ritual activity.

History

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

Details

The scheduling includes seven round barrows and a ring barrow, situated on the summit and shoulders of Denzell Downs and on the adjoining Bear's Downs, north of St Columb Major. The barrows lie in eight separate areas of protection. They are closely associated with other barrows to the north east which are the subject of a separate scheduling, forming a distinctive elevated group within a wider prehistoric barrow cemetery. The eight barrows are spaced relatively widely but evenly; four of them form a fairly close alignment running north west-south east along the top of a ridge sloping down north west from the summit. One of the barrows was excavated in 1871 by an antiquarian, who found burnt human bones and Bronze Age pottery in a central cavity, and evidence for layered construction of the mound. Also included within the scheduling are the remains of three military installations from World War II. Taking first the barrow on the north west in the scheduling, and in the ridge-top alignment, this has an earth and stone mound approximately 30m in diameter and 2m high, with a regular rounded profile. There is no evidence for a ditch surrounding the mound. Moving south east along the ridge, the next barrow is approximately 30m in diameter. It has a mound of earth and stone approximately 20m across and 3.5m high. An early 20th century account provides evidence of a kerb of quartz stones, each up to approximately 1m across, set around the base of the mound. A curving depression up to 5m wide and 0.3m deep on the west of the mound is considered to derive from an external ditch. The mound shows signs of limited disturbance, having a concave top with a central hollow, thought to be used for a gun emplacement in World War II. The third round barrow from the north west is sub-circular in plan, measuring approximately 24m across overall, and 3m-4m high. The barrow is visible as a mound of earth and shillet (local stone) rubble 18m in diameter, with a rounded top above steep sides, trimmed by modern ploughing, and a band of levelled mound material up to 3m wide around this. No external ditch is known. The centre of the mound is modified to form the site of a World War II defence post. The fourth barrow from the north west, and in the alignment of four, has an earth and shillet mound approximately 19m in diameter and 2.5m high, with no clear evidence of a surrounding ditch. In profile, the mound has a fairly flat top and curving upper sides, with a more gently sloping skirt below. Protruding from the skirt are several pieces of the white quartz stone found outcropping in the area, each 0.5m-1m across. These are thought to be remains of a kerb. There is limited disturbance to the barrow, resulting from modern agricultural practices. On the summit of Denzell Downs is the fifth of the barrows, lying south east of the four on the ridge but not closely aligned with them. This is considered to be a ring type barrow, with no external ditch. An early record produced by the antiquarian W C Borlase provides evidence of an outer ring bank with kerbed faces, and a round platform type or flat topped mound within this, with a small central rise containing the remains of an associated cist or box-like burial structure. The barrow is visible as an oval plan mound of dark soil and shillet measuring approximately 22m WSW-ENE by 15m NNW-SSE and 0.3m high, truncated on the north and reduced by modern ploughing. The southernmost barrow in the scheduling lies further south east; again, it is not closely aligned with the four on the ridge, and being south east of the summit it is not intervisible with them. It may have been positioned to exploit the natural prominence of its site, a marked shoulder of the hill with a steep south east slope below. The barrow has an oval platform-like mound of earth and shillet, with some irregularity of profile showing modification by ploughing. It measures around 15.5m east-west by 10m north-south. There are traces of kerbing, in the form of two quartz stones in the southern edge of the mound, but no signs of an external ditch. Moving to the west on the more uniformly sloping western side of the Downs is a barrow considered to be that known as Denzell Barrow. It has an earth, shillet, and quartz mound approximately 22m in diameter and 2.5m high, with no known ditch. Quartz kerbing can be seen in the south and west edges of the mound. In profile, the mound has a gently sloping base, curving upper sides, and a concave top. The faces of two kerb stones, on the west, are clearly visible and are around 0.9m long and 0.3m high. These slabs are set with their ends touching, indicating continuous kerbing. The centre of the mound contains remains of a World War II military installation, and its edges are trimmed and spread by ploughing. The antiquarian account of W C Borlase referred to above indicates that an urn containing burnt bones and a bronze knife was found in the edge of this barrow during farming in 1869. Lastly, the moderate slope east of the summit is the site of the easternmost barrow in the scheduling. It is visible as an earth mound 16m in diameter and 0.3m high. This is considered to be spread by modern ploughing so that its edge overlies traces of an external ditch.

All modern fencing is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it is included.

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.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Borlase, W, Parochial Memoranda, (1740), 142
Borlase, W C, Naenia Cornubiae, (1872), 242-247
Tangye, M, Sheppard, P, 'Cornish Archaeology' in Parochial Check-Lists of Antiquities 6, Parish of St Ervan, , Vol. 18, (1979), 125
Other
CAU Report No 2000RO60. Confidential., Jones, A, Bear's Down, Cornwall, (2000)
CAU Report No 2001RO17, Lawson Jones, A, Bear's Down to Ruthvoes SWW Pipeline, (2001)
CAU Report No 2001RO34, Thorpe, C, Bear's Downs Wind Farm, Cornwall, (2001)
CAU Report No 2001RO34, Thorpe, C, Bear's Downs Wind Farm, Cornwall, (2001)
MS at RIC library, Truro. Date approx, Henderson, C, Notebooks of Parochial Antiquities, Notebooks of Parochial Antiquities, (1920)
MS at RIC library, Truro. Date approx, Henderson, C, Notebooks of Parochial Antiquities, Notebooks of Parochial Antiquities, (1920)
MS at RIC library, Truro. Date approx, Henderson, C, Notebooks of Parochial Antiquities, Notebooks of Parochial Antiquities, (1920)
Preston-Jones, A, AM107, (1990)
Preston-Jones, A, FMW file note, (1998)
Saunders, A, AM7, (1959)
Saunders, AD, AM7, (1958)
Saunders, AD, AM7, (1959)
Sheppard, PA, AM12, (1981)
SW 86 NE 11, Pitcher, GH, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1964)
SW 86 NE 20, Pitcher, GH, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1964)
SW 86 NE 20, Pitcher, GH, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1964)
SW 86 NE 9, Pitcher, GH, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1964)
SW 96 NW 10, Fletcher, MJ, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1972)
SW 96 NW 10, Quinnell, NV, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1977)
SW 96 NW 11, Fletcher, MJ, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1972)
SW 96 NW 11, Quinnell, NV, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1977)
SW 96 NW 8, Fletcher, MJ, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1972)
SW 96 NW 8, Quinnell, NV, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1977)
Title: Cornwall Mapping Project Source Date: 1995 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: Cornwall Mapping Project Source Date: 1995 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: National Mapping Project Source Date: 1997 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 Map Source Date: 1880 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 Map Source Date: 1908 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: Ordnance Survey 2" drawing Source Date: 1810 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: Ordnance Survey 2" drawing Source Date: 1810 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: 230
Title: Ordnance Survey 2" Map Source Date: 1810 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: Ordnance Survey Index Card Source Date: 1977 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: SW 96 NW 9
Title: St Ervan Tithe Apportionment Source Date: 1842 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: St Ervan Tithe Apportionment Source Date: 1842 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: 229
Title: St Mawgan Tithe Apportionment Source Date: 1840 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: St Mawgan Tithe Apportionment Source Date: 1840 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: 290
Title: St Mawgan Tithe Apportionment Source Date: 1840 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: 291

National Grid Reference: SW 89825 67905, SW 89905 67822, SW 89945 67261, SW 89977 67666, SW 90048 67530, SW 90265 67298, SW 90338 67121, SW 90426 67419

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 24-Nov-2017 at 03:13:56.

End of official listing