Scheduled Monument: Two round barrows on Twitchen Ridge
Department for Culture, Media and Sport
29 January 1969
Date last amended
10 November 2015
Summary of Monument
Two bowl barrows called Twitchen Barrows.
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. Despite partial early excavation or robbing the two bowl barrows called Twitchen Barrows survive comparatively well and will contain important archaeological and environmental evidence relating to their construction, use, relative chronology, territorial significance, funerary and ritual practices and overall 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 two areas includes two bowl barrows situated on the summit of the prominent Twitchen Ridge overlooking the valley of Litton Water. The western barrow survives as a circular mound measuring up to 11.5m in diameter and 1.4m high. The top has a rectangular trench indicating early partial excavation. The eastern barrow survives as a circular mound measuring up to 23m in diameter and 1.3m high. It has irregular trench across the summit and the surface is uneven particularly to the south, again the result of partial early excavation or robbing. For both barrows the surrounding quarry ditches from which material to construct the mounds was derived survive as buried features up to 3m wide.
Other similar monuments in the vicinity are the subject of separate schedulings.
PastScape Monument No:-35817
National Grid Reference: SS 80333 32262, SS 80424 32264