Three round barrows on Withycombe Common, 360m north of Fire Tower

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1021119

Date first listed: 11-Aug-2003

Map

Ordnance survey map of Three round barrows on Withycombe Common, 360m north of Fire Tower
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Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Somerset

District: West Somerset (District Authority)

Parish: Withycombe

National Park: EXMOOR

National Grid Reference: SS 98668 39592, SS 98674 39727, SS 98683 39445

Summary

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

Reasons for Designation

Exmoor is the most easterly of the three main upland areas in the south western peninsula of England. In contrast to the others, Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor, there has been no history of antiquarian research and little excavation of its monuments. However, detailed survey work by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England has confirmed a comparable richness of archaeological remains, with evidence of human exploitation and occupation from the Mesolithic period to the present day. Many of the field monuments surviving on Exmoor date from the later prehistoric period. Examples include stone settings, stone alignments, standing stones, and burial mounds (`barrows'). Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating to the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500BC. 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. Over 370 bowl barrows, varying in diameter from 2m to 35m, have been recorded on Exmoor. Many of these are found on or close to the summits of the three east-west ridges which cross the moor - the southern escarpment, the central ridge, and the northern ridge - whilst individual barrows and groups may also be found on lower lying ground and hillslopes. Those which occupy prominent locations form a major visual element in the modern landscape. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.



Despite the barrow mounds having been disturbed, probably in antiquity, the three round barrows on Withycombe Common, 360m north of Fire Tower survive comparatively well. They will contain archaeological deposits and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. They also form a visual element in the landscape, being located close to a well-used footpath across the open moorland of Withycombe Common.

History

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

Details

The monument, which lies in three separate areas of protection, includes three round barrows of prehistoric date located on Withycombe Common on the summit of Black Hill. The barrows form a linear group of three which are aligned from north to south along the spine of the hill. The southernmost barrow is formed by an irregular circular mound with a height of 2.2m and a diameter of between 25.8m and 29.3m. It is surrounded by a narrow berm with an external ditch from which material was quarried during the mound's construction, and it has an overall diameter of 31.6m. It is surmounted by an Ordnance Survey triangulation pillar. The central barrow of the three, located 145m to the north of the former, has a flat-topped mound, 0.4m in height and 11.7m in diameter. The mound has been disturbed in the past; the south east side has been removed and stone has been dug from its centre and placed on its top. The northernmost barrow is located a further 130m to the north and is formed by a flat-topped earth and stone mound, 11.6m in diameter and 0.5m high. A modern stone-heap, about 2m in diameter and 0.75m high lies at the centre of the mound. Both the central and northernmost barrow mounds, in keeping with the southenmost barrow and with other barrows in the region, are surrounded by quarry ditches. Although these are no longer visible at ground level they will survive as buried features up to 2m wide.

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.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 35707

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of Somerset Archaelogical & Natural History Society' in Somerset Barrows, , Vol. 113, (1969), 42
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of Somerset Archaelogical & Natural History Society' in Somerset Barrows, , Vol. 113, (1969), 42
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of Somerset Archaelogical & Natural History Society' in Somerset Barrows, , Vol. 113, (1969), 42
Other
SS 93 NE 4, National Monuments Record,

End of official listing