MSO6853 - Late Mesolithic flintworking site at Larkbarrow Farm (Monument)


A large quantity of Late Mesolithic flint has been recovered near Larkbarrow Farm. This suggests that this location was used as a flintworking site.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

Flint core-trimmings have been found near Larkbarrow and donated to the County Museum, Taunton (56.A.49). [1] These are pebble core trimmings classified as Mesolithic/Neolithic by Mr. Hallam, who found them at SS 8215 4285, in 1956. [2,4] Six further flints were collected from the surface of the track in front of the Larkbarrow Farm ruins. [5] Several worked flints were recovered from the valley mire below the site in 2005. [11] A stratified chert blade and an unstratified flint microlith were recovered in a probable sheep scrape at NGR SS 82251 42827 in 2007-8. Both items were considered to be Mesolithic. [9,10] Further flint was discovered by archaeologists at ENPA, which led to the commissioning of a geophysical survey of the site in March 2008. The survey identified a number of potential archaeological features including at least one possible in situ burning event, as well as a number of possible circular features and a linear feature. It was, however, hampered by the presence of widespread fragments of shrapnel across the site resulting from artillery shell impacts during World War Two. Further flint was also recovered during this survey, including a micro-core. [11,12,15] The site was subject to evaluation excavations in Spring 2008. The evaluation was aimed at establishing the preservation of archaeological remains, particularly due to recent disturbance, and to recover a flint assemblage to allow assessment of the material and the establishment of a date for the site. Seven trenches of c.2m x 2m were opened. The excavations recovered 505 pieces of flint debitage and 75 retouched tools, classified as late Mesolithic but no datable deposits were encountered. The finds provide evidence that flint was knapped on site, with raw materials being derived from beach pebble (perhaps partly from Porlock Beach) and the tools produced being useable for a variety of purposes, suggesting the site was more than a hunting camp. However, no evidence of structures was noted. It was suggested the site may have been used by hunter gatherers also using Hawkcombe Head (MSO7889) as the flint typology is the same. 17 of the pieces of flint found here were of a honey coloured stone, whereas only 3 or 4 of this type have been found at Hawkcombe. [12,15] The combe south of Larkbarrow was subject to palaeoecological research and assessment. This included macrofossil analysis from a section. It was noted that the density of late Mesolithic flint work, adjacent to a high potential palaeoecological site, is unparalleled on Exmoor. [13] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [17]

Sources/Archives (17)

  • <1> Article in serial: Anon. 1954-5. Additions to the Museum. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeology and Natural History Society. 99 and 100. P. 7.
  • <2> Index: Ordnance Survey. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Record Card. 1965, SS 84 SW 2.
  • <3> Map: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Map Collection Reference . Corr 6 inches. JG Rutter, 22 January 1958.
  • <4> Unpublished document: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Field Investigators Comments. D King, F1, 15 March 1967.
  • <5> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. Comment from Western Archaeological Trust Survey or Site Visit. 18 January 1984.
  • <6> Article in serial: Wilson-North, R.. 2009. Hunter Gatherers on Exmoor - Lessons From the Past. Exmoor Visitor.
  • <7> Article in serial: Wilson-North, R.. 2011. From Barrows to Burnt Mounds. Exmoor Review. 52. 85-89. P.85.
  • <8> Article in serial: Wilson-North, R.. 2005/2006. Larkbarrow - Fact, Folly and Failure. Exmoor Visitor.
  • <9> Serial: Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. 1851-. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. Volume 151 (2008); 'Lithic Finds from Larkbarrow Farm, Exmoor' (Richard McDonnell) p183-185.
  • <10> Report: McDonnell, R.. 2007. Mesolithic Finds from Larkbarrow Farm, Exmoor.
  • <11> Report: Dean, R.. 2008. Lark Barrow, Exmoor, Somerset: Results of an Archaeological Gradiometer Survey.
  • <12> Report: Wilson-North, R.. 2011. Larkbarrow, Somerset: Interim Report on Archaeological Excavations and Other Fieldwork 2008.
  • <13> Report: Fyfe, R. and Adams, H.. 2008. Assessment of the areas of exceptional archaeological and historical importance, Exmoor National Park.
  • <14> Report: Jamieson, E.. 2001. Larkbarrow Farm, Exmoor, Somerset. English Heritage. 8.
  • <15> Serial: Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. 1851-. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. Volume 155 (2012), 193-7 A Late Mesolithic site at Larkbarrow on Exmoor (R Wilson-North, P Gardiner).
  • <16> Report: Riley, H.. 2017. Agricultural Reclamation at Larkbarrow Farm, Exmoor. Exmoor Mires Partnership ELB17 Project Report.
  • <17> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 36208, Extant 12 July 2021.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Local Heritage List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SW2
  • National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 36208
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 33053



Grid reference Centred SS 8219 4287 (237m by 149m) Estimated from sources
Map sheet SS84SW

Finds (13)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (4)

Related Articles (2)

Record last edited

Oct 12 2022 2:45PM


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