MSO7443 - Bronze Age bowl barrow on Monkham Hill (Monument)


A Bronze Age bowl barrow is visible as an earthen mound measuring 17.4 metres by 19 metres and up to 1.4 metres high, with a ditch on its eastern side. It has been disturbed by robbing and now lies in a cleared area of commercial forestry.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

(SS 9921 3913) Tumulus (NR). [1] Luxborough No 2, a bowl barrow 25 paces in diameter and 8 feet high with a hollow in centre. Now in impenetrable forest. [2] This is a large bowl barrow 2 metres high. There is a 1 metre hole in the centre. Published survey (1/2500) revised. [3] A very well defined barrow lying in an area of commercial forestry. It occupies an impressive topographic location at the crest of the eastern escarpment of Exmoor.The barrow comprises a prominent circular earthen mound measuring 17.4 metres north to south by 19 metres west to east, and standing to 1.4 metres high. An encircling ditch 0.2 metres deep is visible on the eastern side. The barrow has a disturbed and robbed summit, and it appears that the spoil from the robbing has been heaped on its southern crest giving a false impression of extra height. Further disturbance has been caused by forestry planting over the barrow and by a narrow ?excavation trench measuring 3.2 metres long by 1.3 metres wide dug into the southeast side. [4] The Bronze Age bowl barrow described by the previous authorities was seen as an earthwork centred at SS 9921 3913 and mapped from aerial photographs. [7-8] This barrow may have been one of those recorded in the early literature as being further to the southwest. [10] SS 9921 3913. Bowl barrow on Monkham Hill. Scheduled on 6th October 2003. [11] The Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment of 2009 gave the site a survival score of 9. [12] The monument is in area of cleared forestry plantation which appears to regenerating naturally. As such the monument was infested with a variety of vegetation. One of the main threats to the site since its last assessment in 2004/5 has been rapidly growing fir trees. The work undertaken as part of the Exmoor National Park Monument Management Scheme for 2011-12 involved clearing the bracken, gorse and bramble and cutting the fir trees. [13] The site was surveyed in May 2015 as part of the 2015 Exmoor Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment. It was given a survival score of 10. [14] A large scale survey of a nearby cairn, SM1021231, on Monkham Hill was undertaken in 2017 for Historic England and the Forestry Commission following clearance of scrub across the site. The scrub clearance included this site (SM 1021227, MSO7443) but it was not the subject of a new measured survey, although photographs were taken. A cairn in a plot of mature conifers was discovered (MEM23805) to the north. These monuments form a group of three distinct types of funerary monuments in a prominent location on the NE edge of the Exmoor escarpment, looking out north across the Bristol Channel and east towards the Quantock Hills. The structural differences may well relate to the different way that the sites were used: cremation, perhaps on the site of the platform cairn, followed by the interment of the ashes in the barrow, and the disposal of the cremation pyre within the embanked platform cairn [15]

Sources/Archives (16)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1962. 6 Inch Map: 1962. 1:10560.
  • <2> Article in serial: Grinsell, L.V.. 1969. Somerset Barrows. Part I: West and South. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. 113. P. 35.
  • <3> Unpublished document: PALMER, JP. Mid 1960s. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, F1, 25 August 1965.
  • <4> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 19 May 1998.
  • <5> Monograph: Phelphs, W. 1839. History of Somersetshire. 2. P. 116 & 125.
  • <6> Monograph: Savage, J.. 1830. A History of the Hundred of Carhampton. P. 249.
  • <7> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF CPE/UK/1980 3289 (11 April 1947).
  • <8> Collection: RCHME: Brendon Hills Mapping Project, SS93NE.
  • <9> Article in serial: Williams, E.F.. 1978. Parish surveys in Somerset two: Luxborough. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeology and Natural History Society. 2. P. 18.
  • <10> Unassigned: Dennison, E, Somerset County Council. 20.07.88. E Dennison, Somerset County Council, 20 July 1988.
  • <11> Unpublished document: English Heritage. 15/10/2003. English Heritage to Somerset County Council.
  • <12> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2010. Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment 2009, Exmoor National Park.
  • <13> Report: Turner, J.. Monument Management Scheme: 2011-12.
  • <14> Report: Gent, T. and Manning, P.. 2015. Exmoor National Park Scheduled Monument Condition Survey 2015. Archaedia.
  • <15> Report: Riley, H.. 2017. Metric Survey of an Embanked Platform Cairn on Monkham Hill, Luxborough, Exmoor National Park. Hazel Riley. Site B, Fig 2; Fig 9.
  • <16> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 36602, Extant 11 April 2022.



Grid reference Centred SS 9921 3913 (35m by 33m)
Map sheet SS93NE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO194
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11391
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 93 NE3
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 36602
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 33747

Record last edited

Apr 11 2022 6:21PM


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