MSO7736 - Bronze Age cist burial east of Yenworthy Common (possibly Culbone Cist) (Monument)


The ploughed remains of a Bronze Age burial cairn are visible as an ill defined turf covered raised area, c. 15 metres in diameter and up to 0.3 metres high. A cist containing a skeleton and beaker found in 1896 probably came from this cairn.

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Full Description

A cist containing a skeleton and beaker (Abercromby B4) [1] was found in 1896 while quarrying about 50 yards north of the Porlock to Lynton road, not far from Broomstreet Stables. The cist (3 foot 6 inches by 22 inches) comprised four uprights and two cover stones. Finds are in the Taunton Museum. Nothing was seen on the ground to mark the grave. [2] Boyd-Dawkins describes the site as a tumulus. [3] No quarry 50 yards north of the road can be identified in the area, although there are old quarry pits adjacent to the road and to the south of it. Grinsell notes a barrow (Oare 1) shown on the Ordnance Survey 2 inch 1804, at SS 812 479. This cannot be found on the ground, but may possibly have been that containing the cist burial. [4] SS 815 478 approx. Oare 7a. The cist was 3 foot 6 inches long, 1 foot 10 inches wide and 1 foot 6 inches high, floored with several thin slabs and roofed by two large slabs. It contained an adult crouched male laid on the right side. Near the head was a Bi (or type Bc) beaker with hyphenated decoration in horizontal zones. The skull was brachycephalic with index 82. It may have been a flat grave . SS 812479 approx. Oare 1. Barrow shown on Ordnance Survey 2 inch drawing 1804/5. The above cist burial may have been from this site. [5] The impression of a barley grain can be seen on the surface of the beaker. [6] The beaker, Corpus No 803, is of the Developed Northern British Group. In Taunton Museum, Accession Number: A917. [7] The remains of a cairn located in a pasture field on the summit of an unnamed hill at about 392 metres above Ordnance Datum. It is visible as a rather ill defined turf covered raised area, approximately 15 metres in diameter and 0.3 metres high at best. Probing showed a heavy consolidated stone content, more so than the surrounding area which has large amounts of small surface stone. The raised area has an even surface with no trace of quarrying or disturbance, although this is to be expected as it is ploughed. Prominently situated on an isolated summit, near the western end of Culbone ridge from Pittcombe Head to Yenworthy Common, this is obviously the site of burial cairn. It is at the same reference as the barrow shown on the 1804 Ordnance Survey 2 inch map. The site was also used as a Triangulation Point which is shown on the 1890 Ordnance Survey map in an area of moorland. The exact findspot of the cist burial and beaker is not known, however although this is not the site of a quarry it is quite probable that this is the tumulus where the beaker burial was found in 1896. Note: [2] does not actually say it was found in a quarry but merely gives that impression. The "quarrying" could have been into this barrow as it is only 110 metres north of the road. The only quarry in the vicinity, centred at SS 8124 4782 some 110 metres to the southeast of this barrow, is only 20 metres north of the road. It is not on the 1890 map [11], but is shown on the 1903 Revision [13]. It does not appear to be a likely situation for a barrow. [8-13] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [14]

Sources/Archives (14)

  • <1> Monograph: Dobson, D.P.. 1931. The Archaeology of Somerset. P. 39, 237-8.
  • <2> Article in serial: Elworthy, F.T.. 1896. An Ancient British Internment. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeology and Natural History Society. 42. 56-66.
  • <3> Monograph: Page, W. (editor). 1906. The Victoria History of the County of Somerset. Archibald Constable and Company, Limited (London). 1. P. 129, 189 (W. Boyd-Dawkins).
  • <4> Unpublished document: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Field Investigators Comments. NV Quinnell, F1, 20 July 1965.
  • <5> Article in serial: Grinsell, L.V.. 1969. Somerset Barrows, Part 1: West and South. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Nat. 113. P. 36, 37.
  • <6> Article in serial: Helbaek, H.. 1952. Early Crops in Southern England. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society. 18. P. 199, 226.
  • <7> Monograph: Clarke, D.L.. 1970. Beaker Pottery of Great Britain and Ireland. Cambridge University Press. p 343, 495.
  • <8> Monograph: Abercromby, J.. 1912. A Study of the Bronze Age Pottery of Great Britain and Ireland and its Associated Grave-Goods. Clarendon Press. p88.
  • <9> Serial: Archaeologia Cambrensis . 7th Series (WF Grimes), p 343.
  • <10> Monograph: Fox, A.. 1973. South-West England, 3500BC-AD600 . David and Charles Limited. Revised Edition. p58.
  • <11> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1890, Somerset 33(2).
  • <12> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1902-1907. County Series, 2nd Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1903, Somerset 33(2).
  • <13> Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 2 November 1995.
  • <14> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 35884, Extant 21 February 2022.



Grid reference Centred SS 8119 4791 (18m by 18m)
Map sheet SS84NW

Finds (2)

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Related Events/Activities (2)

Related Articles (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 NW3
  • National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 35884
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 33846

Record last edited

Feb 22 2022 9:44AM


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