Scheduled Monument: Three round barrows E of Brockenburrow Lane
Department for Culture, Media and Sport
25 October 1968
Date last amended
10 November 2015
Summary of Monument
Three bowl barrows 720m NNE of Brockenbarrow Farm.
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. The three bowl barrows 720m NNE of Brockenbarrow Farm have all been the subject of early excavation and revealed great differences in internal construction for bowl barrows which looked similar on surface inspection. This highlights the importance of the buried evidence contained within such barrows and shows that superficial similarities should not be over estimated since different techniques for construction are not always clearly visible at the surface. These barrows will still contain important archaeological and environmental evidence relating to their, relative dates and landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 10 November 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
This monument which falls into three areas includes three bowl barrows situated on a prominent ridge known as Higher Down overlooking the valleys of two tributaries to the River Bray. The bowl barrows survive as circular mounds with diameters which range in size from 10m up to 16m and in height from of 0.5m up to 1.4m. The surrounding quarry ditches from which material to construct the mounds was derived survive as buried features measuring up to 3m wide. All three barrows were excavated by Chanter in 1906.The western barrow produced 17th century pottery, a central pit and the mound was entirely composed of soil. This was referred to as ‘Broaken Barrow’ by Westcoate. The southernmost barrow produced a cairn under which was a cist containing a cremation burial in an urn with some charcoal and a flint flake. The urn was presented to the North Devon Athenaeum and was apparently smashed in around 1914. The eastern barrow produced two internal concentric retaining kerbs, a possible cist, charcoal and a flint flake. A fourth barrow was revealed by aerial photographs, this is not included in the scheduling because it has not been formally assessed.
Other barrows in the vicinity are the subject of separate schedulings.
PastScape Monument No:-34681
National Grid Reference: SS 66619 42532, SS 66799 42489, SS 66820 42529