HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Devon & Dartmoor HER Result
Devon & Dartmoor HERPrintable version | About Devon & Dartmoor HER | Visit Devon & Dartmoor HER online...

See important guidance on the use of this record.

If you have any comments or new information about this record, please email us.


HER Number:MDV1780
Name:Prehistoric Barrow Cemetery on Crownhill Down

Summary

A barrow cemetery on Crownhill Down comprise 12 barrows and cairns, probably dating from the Early to Mid-Bronze Age.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 571 598
Map Sheet:SX55NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishSparkwell
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishPLYMPTON ST.MARY

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 438398
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 438398
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX55NE/1
  • Old SAM County Ref: 759
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SX55NE4

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • BARROW CEMETERY (Early Bronze Age to Early Iron Age - 2200 BC to 700 BC (Between))

Full description

Fox, A., Untitled Source (Personal Comment). SDV343771.

Crownhill Down barrow cemetery. A linear cemetery of 10 barrows extending from SX57165993 to SX57255969 - all small and low but none apparently robbed. Classic beaker/Middle Bronze Age type cairn cemetery.


English Heritage, 02/06/2014, Prehistoric Barrow, Cemetery on Crownhill Down, 900m north of Drakelands Farm (Schedule Document). SDV356759.

The extent of the Scheduled area in the south-east corner has been slightly reduced.

The Scheduled area includes 12 barrows and cairns, probably dating from the Early to Mid-Bronze Age. They are aligned north to south, near the summit of the prominent ridge known as Crownhill Down.

History
The prehistoric barrow cemetery at Crownhill Down includes a linear arrangement of barrows and cairns. The main period of round barrow construction occurred in the Early Bronze Age between about 2200-1500 BC, although Neolithic examples are known from as early as 3000 BC. They were constructed as earthen mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials, and occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus of burials in later periods. Round barrows and cairns sometimes form mixed cemeteries, which are concentrations of one or more round barrows in close proximity to two or more cairns. Cairns can include ring cairns which are low, circular banks of stone defining a central space, sometimes with a mound in the centre, though often the central space is empty; and embanked platform cairns comprising low, circular platforms of stone or earth, topped with a low bank, and often with a central mound. Contemporary or later `flat' graves may lie between individual barrows. Barrow cemeteries occur throughout most of upland Britain; their distribution pattern complements that of contemporary lowland earthen round barrows. Most cemeteries developed over a considerable period and they can exhibit considerable diversity of burial rite, plan and form. The barrow cemetery on Crownhill Down dates from the prehistoric period, probably the Bronze Age. The English Heritage PastScape entry states that at least two of its barrows show signs of possible antiquarian disturbance. In 2002 English Heritage carried out an archaeological landscape survey of Crownhill Down and the adjacent Riding Down creating a multi-phase plan of the area.

PRINCIPAL ELEMENTS
This monument includes twelve barrows and cairns, probably dating from the Early to Mid-Bronze Age. They are aligned north to south, near the summit of the prominent ridge known as Crownhill Down.

DESCRIPTION
The cemetery survives as a linear arrangement of round barrows, a ring cairn and two platform cairns. The ring cairn is visible as a level, circular area measuring up to 8.7m in diameter, surrounded by a circular bank of up to 1.5m wide and 0.5m high. The two platform cairns take the form of flat-topped stony mounds measuring up to 13.5m in diameter and 0.4m high. The earthworks of the round barrows comprise circular stony mounds which vary in diameter from 8.9m up to 16m in diameter and from 0.3m up to 0.8m high. The associated quarry ditches, some 2m wide, from which the construction material was derived survive as earthworks around some of the mounds, those that have become filled in over time are likely to survive as buried features. Two of the round barrows appear to be conjoined.

EXCLUSIONS: the modern fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, however, the ground beneath
them is included.


English Heritage, 11/12/2014, Crownhill Down, Barrow Cemetery, Sparkwell (Correspondence). SDV355560.

Application received to amend entry for the above Scheduled Monument.


English Heritage, 13/12/2013, Crownhill Down, Barrow Cemetery (Correspondence). SDV355208.

Initial assessment of Crownhill Down completed. Changes to detail of Scheduled Monument may follow.


English Heritage, 17/01/2014, Prehistoric Barrow Cemetery on Crownhill Down (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV356150.

The barrow cemetery on Crownhill Down represents an important prehistoric funerary site which
is situated on the crest of the hill, providing an important focal point. The cemetery is one of a number of prehistoric funerary monuments in the immediate area which includes a second barrow cemetery, located 500m to the west on the western slope of Crownhill Down, as well as other barrows and cairns in the surrounding area, including those to the north at Ridding Down, which have also been designated as scheduled monuments. An archaeological survey of Crownhill Down and Ridding Down was undertaken for English Heritage (Fletcher, 2002). This survey notes that the cemetery forms part of a significant group of funerary monuments across this landscape which demonstrate the intensive use of the downs during the prehistoric period. The Bronze Age cemetery on Crownhill Down includes several different types of barrows and cairns; these may indicate differing funerary practices through time, chronological changes or a combination of these. They will contain important archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the society, religious beliefs, construction techniques and overall landscape context of these prominently positioned and territorially significant burial mounds through time. When the scheduled area was amended in 1986, it was extended to include six more earthwork mounds and a larger extent of the surrounding land. As excavations of similar cemetery sites have demonstrated there is potential for the presence of further flat inhumation and cremation burials, and the possible survival of other mortuary structures such as pyres in the areas between and around barrows. An archaeological evaluation, comprising a single trench, 100m long by 2.5 m wide, at the southern end of the site, was carried out with Scheduled Monument Consent in 2011 to assess an area of land included within the scheduled monument since 1986 which had extant planning permission for china clay extraction. The planning permission had been granted prior to the extension of the scheduled area. The excavation trench did not contain any archaeological features or deposits and no finds were recovered, and the natural subsoil was exposed at a maximum depth of 0.2m below ground level. The area which we have been asked to remove from the scheduling is not, therefore, considered to contain any archaeological remains. It is, therefore, recommended that the corner of land in the south-west part of the scheduled area which has been excavated, and the small section of land to the east of the trench line should be removed from the scheduled area.

The barrow cemetery at Crownhill Down has considerable potential for contributing to our
understanding of Bronze Age funerary practices and social organisation and its significance is enhanced by its association with a number of other funerary sites in the area. The monument boundary should, however, be amended to exclude the area with extant planning permission for china clay extraction and to better reflect the known extent of archaeological features. The Schedule entry has also been updated in line with current practice and to provide clarity for the site's future management.


Department of Environment, 1970, Crownhill Down Barrow Cemetery (Schedule Document). SDV343785.

Crownhill Down barrow cemetery. A linear cemetery of nine barrows all small and low but none apparently robbed. Classic beaker type cairn cemetery of the Middle Bronze Age. Other details: Monument 759.


Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1972, SX55NE4 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV343787.

A group of nine barrows as surveyed on 6" plan. (OS 6")

Other details: Map.


Grinsell, L. V., 1978, Dartmoor Barrows, 170 (Article in Serial). SDV273224.


Edwards, C., 1979, An archaeological survey of an area surrounding Hemerdon Ball (Report - Survey). SDV337241.

Visited on 15th June 1979.


Gilbertson, D. + Collis, J., 1982, Mapping Three Millennia of Settlement and Land Use on Crownhill Down, South West Dartmoor, 58 (Article in Serial). SDV362901.

Cemetery 'E' with twelve barrows.


Gilbertson, D. + Collis, J., 1985, Linear Banks on Crownhill Down, Dartmoor, 58 (Article in Serial). SDV337244.

Cemetery 'E' with twelve barrows.


Department of Environment, 1986, Crownhill Down Barrow Cemetery (Schedule Document). SDV343786.

Scheduled area extended to include twelve barrows. Cemetery oriented north-north-west to south-south-east on a false crest of Crownhill Down. The twelve mounds range in diameter from 8 to 12 metres diameter and up to 1 metre high. Six barrows 'A' to 'F' were scheduled in 1970. Three further barrows have been identified to the north and three to the south. Research indicates that unmarked flat graves, urn fields and a variety of subsurface features connected with ritual and religious use of the area, may be expected to survive in the vicinity. The revised scheduling boundary accommodates these additional elements of the monument. This is one of the finest barrow cemeteries on Datmoor in its own right and can be shown to form part of a larger ritual and funery complex covering the upper part of Crownhill Down. Other details: Monument 759.


Griffith, F. M., 1988, DAP/JT, 4-12 (Aerial Photograph). SDV343788.


Griffith, F. M., 1988, DAP/KA, 5-12 (Aerial Photograph). SDV337242.


Griffith, F., 1988, Devon's Past. An Aerial View, 29 (Monograph). SDV64198.


Fletcher, M., 2002, The Archaeological Landscape of Crownhill Down and Ridding Down: Survey Report, 8 (Report - Survey). SDV343412.

Remains of Bronze Age barrows or cairns forming a cluster or cemetery. Other details: Figure 3 and Crownhill Down Survey.


Dyer, M. J., 2003, Archaeological Survey, Evaluation and Recording of a Trial Extraction Site at Hemerdon Pit, Crownhill Down, 1 (Report - Evaluation). SDV159627.


National Monuments Record, 2010, 438398 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV343789.

A linear group of ten round barrows plus three small mounds set on a similar alignment are situated on high ground on Crownhill Down with impressive vistas in every direction. The barrows lie in close-cropped moorland turf and little surface stone is evident. Their average diameter is 9.6 metres and 0.5 metres high. The majority are round barrows with flat tops although one ring barrow survives. Most have been superficially disturbed.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV159627Report - Evaluation: Dyer, M. J.. 2003. Archaeological Survey, Evaluation and Recording of a Trial Extraction Site at Hemerdon Pit, Crownhill Down. Exeter Archaeology Report. 03.65. A4 stapled + Digital. 1.
SDV273224Article in Serial: Grinsell, L. V.. 1978. Dartmoor Barrows. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 36. A5 Paperback. 170.
SDV337241Report - Survey: Edwards, C.. 1979. An archaeological survey of an area surrounding Hemerdon Ball. Devon Committee for Rescue Archaeology Report. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV337242Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1988. DAP/KA. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 5-12.
SDV337244Article in Serial: Gilbertson, D. + Collis, J.. 1985. Linear Banks on Crownhill Down, Dartmoor. Landscape History. 7. Unknown. 58.
SDV343412Report - Survey: Fletcher, M.. 2002. The Archaeological Landscape of Crownhill Down and Ridding Down: Survey Report. English Heritage Report. AI/31/2002. A4 Stapled + Digital. 8.
SDV343771Personal Comment: Fox, A..
SDV343785Schedule Document: Department of Environment. 1970. Crownhill Down Barrow Cemetery. The Schedule of Monuments. A4 Stapled.
SDV343786Schedule Document: Department of Environment. 1986. Crownhill Down Barrow Cemetery. The Schedule of Monuments. A4 Stapled. [Mapped feature: #82126 ]
SDV343787Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1972. SX55NE4. OSAD Card. Card Index + Digital.
SDV343788Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1988. DAP/JT. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 4-12.
SDV343789National Monuments Record Database: National Monuments Record. 2010. 438398. National Monuments Record Database. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV355208Correspondence: English Heritage. 13/12/2013. Crownhill Down, Barrow Cemetery. Initial Assessment of Scheduled Monument. Digital.
SDV355560Correspondence: English Heritage. 11/12/2014. Crownhill Down, Barrow Cemetery, Sparkwell. Application Received to Amend the Entry. Digital.
SDV356150List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: English Heritage. 17/01/2014. Prehistoric Barrow Cemetery on Crownhill Down. Additions and Amendments to Checklist. Digital.
SDV356759Schedule Document: English Heritage. 02/06/2014. Prehistoric Barrow, Cemetery on Crownhill Down, 900m north of Drakelands Farm. Amendment to Scheduled Area of Monument. Digital.
SDV362901Article in Serial: Gilbertson, D. + Collis, J.. 1982. Mapping Three Millennia of Settlement and Land Use on Crownhill Down, South West Dartmoor. Field Studies. 5. Digital. 58.
SDV64198Monograph: Griffith, F.. 1988. Devon's Past. An Aerial View. Devon's Past. An Aerial View. Paperback Volume. 29.

Associated Monuments

MDV11801Parent of: Barrow 'A' in Crownhill Down Prehistoric Cemetery (Monument)
MDV1781Parent of: Barrow 'B' in Crownhill Down Prehistoric Cemetery (Monument)
MDV1782Parent of: Barrow 'C' in Crownhill Down Prehistoric Cemetery (Monument)
MDV1783Parent of: Barrow 'D' in Crownhill Down Prehistoric Cemetery (Monument)
MDV1784Parent of: Barrow 'E' in Crownhill Down Prehistoric Cemetery (Monument)
MDV1785Parent of: Barrow 'F' in Crownhill Down Prehistoric Cemetery (Monument)
MDV1786Parent of: Barrow 'G' in Crownhill Down Prehistoric Cemetery (Monument)
MDV1787Parent of: Barrow 'H' in Crownhill Down Prehistoric Cemetery (Monument)
MDV1788Parent of: Barrow 'I' in Crownhill Down Prehistoric Cemetery (Monument)
MDV76030Parent of: Barrow 'J' in Crownhill Down Prehistoric Cemetery (Monument)
MDV12699Parent of: Barrow 'K' in Crownhill Down Prehistoric Cemetery (Monument)
MDV12787Parent of: Barrow 'L' in Crownhill Down Prehistoric Cemetery (Monument)
MDV12939Parent of: Barrow 'M' in Crownhill Down Prehistoric Cemetery (Monument)
MDV1802Related to: Prehistoric Barrow on Crownhill Down (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4559 - Archaeological Landscape of Crownhill Down and Riddding Down

Date Last Edited:Aug 15 2019 4:29PM