Scheduled Monument: Round barrow on Rowley Down
21 October 1968
Date last amended
10 November 2015
Summary of Monument
A bowl barrow 800m SSE of Rowley Cross.
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 reduction in its height through cultivation the bowl barrow 800m SSE of Rowley Cross survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, use, longevity, territorial significance, funerary and ritual activity as well as its 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 includes a bowl barrow situated on a prominent hill on the northern side of Rowley Down close to the source of a tributary to the River Heddon. The barrow survives as an oval mound which measures up to 15.6m long by 11.2m wide and 0.6m high. The surrounding quarry ditch from which material to construct the mound was derived is preserved as a buried feature up to 3m wide.
A further barrow to the north-west 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:-34706
National Grid Reference: SS 66459 43272