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HER Number:MDV7409
Name:Two Barrows (northern), Hamel Down

Summary

Northern barrow was excavated in 1872 by Spence Bate. The Hamel Down Dagger was discovered, consisting of a bronze dagger blade and an amber gold studded pommel was found, along with burnt bone and charcoal. Finds housed in Plymouth until lost in World War II. Cairn has a boundary stone of 1854 in the centre.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 706 792
Map Sheet:SX77NW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishManaton
DistrictTeignbridge
Ecclesiastical ParishMANATON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX 77 NW 23
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX77NW/5
  • Old SAM County Ref: 369
  • Pastscape: 445083

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • BARROW (Bronze Age - 2200 BC to 701 BC (Between))

Full description

Spence Bate, C., 1872, Researches into some Antient Tumuli on Dartmoor, 553-7, plates 1-2 (Article in Serial). SDV336926.

Pair of tumuli known as “Two Barrows”. On the southernmost stands a boundary wall; the other is untouched. Measures about 4.5 feet high, 40 feet in diameter. Bate organised the excavation of this barrow, which was opened on the southern side with a trench around 15 feet wide. The men dug through a layer or low bank of small, irregularly shaped stones, forming a circle around the barrow. A few stones of similar character were scattered on its surface (Plate 1).
The barrow consisted of peaty earth, black and clayey in character (although this may have been due to recent rainfall). Having excavated for around 15 feet, a stone was struck and when this was exposed, a large hole or hollow space was observed above it. In total five similar stones were discovered, which were sketched and measured in position, then carefully removed. Disappointingly nothing was discovered underneath, except more earth. Close observation and excavation under slab marked K on plan revealed a mass of comminuted (fractured or crushed) bones mixed with earth. Carefully removed to a cart with the purpose of later examination, an ornament was discovered. [Detailed description of the amber and gold studded pommel follows and analysis of the find].
In the earth removed by cart, the blade of a bronze dagger was found [further description here]. The trench was enlarged to 25 feet in width and continued until it passed the centre of the barrow by several feet. Nothing further was found, except a small cairn of stones piled in the centre, which when removed revealed one minute fragment of charcoal.
Cairn appears to have largely been constructed from earth, other than the encircling ring of small stones and no evidence there was ever a cist; all the stones lay flat (although they may have fallen). Cremated bone appears not to have been placed in a pottery urn or vase, but grouped under one stone. Most of the bone was tiny unintelligible fragments, but one measured and inch and a half long (a quarter inch broad) and was a portion of the frontal bone, including the upper margin of the left eye. The whole interment is unlike the author’s experience of Dartmoor cairns and also suggests continental connections.


Spence Bate, C., 1873, Researches into Some Ancient Tumuli on Dartmoor, 272 (Article in Serial). SDV309431.


Evans, J., 1881, Ancient Bronze Implements, Weapons and Ornaments of Great Britain and Irela, 228 (Monograph). SDV322234.


Unattributed, 1884-1887, Unknown article title, 311 (Article in Serial). SDV309238.


Victoria County History, 1906, The Victoria History of the County of Devon, 361, section 363 (Article in Serial). SDV238214.


Pilkington-Rogers, C. W, 1932, The Date of the Dartmoor Antiquities, 387 (Article in Serial). SDV149513.


Worth, R. H., 1937, 56th Report of the Barrow Committee, 103, plate 21, fig 1 (Article in Serial). SDV20973.


Kendrick, T. D., 1937, The Hammeldon Down Pommel, 313-314 (Article in Serial). SDV309237.

Kendrick dates the dagger to the end of the Early Bronze Age, perhaps c. 1400 B.C.


Fox, A., 1948, The Broad Down (Farway) Necropolis and the Wessex Culture in Devon, 11-12 (Article in Serial). SDV123165.

The cremation with a grooved dagger having an amber pommel decorated with gold pins was deposited under a slab pavement but not in the centre of the mound.


Royal Air Force, 1950, RAF RP541/540, 3143 (Aerial Photograph). SDV290988.


Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1960, SX77NW23 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV309254.

The northern cairn is 1.2 meters high with a depression in the top and a boundary stone inscribed "Two Burrows". Other details: Plan included.


Grinsell, L. V., 1970, Discovering Regional Archaeology: South Western England, 25 (Monograph). SDV304192.


Taylor, J. J., 1970, The Recent Discovery of Gold Pins in the Ridgeway Gold Pommel, 218, 219, 221 (Article in Serial). SDV309241.

Author compares solely functional uses of gold pins in bronze age metalwork with the seven gold rivets used to effect repair on hammeldon down pommel. Although this repair was functional the gold pins had decorative use as well. The other gold pins set into the pommel were purely decorative.


Fox, A., 1973, South West England 3,500BC - AD600 (Revised Edition), 87 (Monograph). SDV16216.


Gerloff, S., 1975, The Early Bronze Age Daggers of Great Britain, 107, No. 194 (Monograph). SDV339147.


Grinsell, L. V., 1978, Dartmoor Barrows, 156, Manaton 2 (Article in Serial). SDV273224.

Two Barrows (north) SX7064 7921 On Widecombe in the Moor boundary. (Visited 21/07/1972)
Round barrow, crowned by boundary stone inscribed DS 1834/ Two Burrows. Dimensions 17 metres (Diameter), 1.5 metres high.
Excavated by Bate 1872, by trench 4.5 metres wide, from south. In centre was a small cairn, less than 1.0 metre in diameter (if plan is to scale). South-east of this cairn was a (primary?) cremation, probably male, with blade of grooved ogival bronze dagger, and an oval amber pommel decorated with gold pontille pins in a cruciform pattern, and repaired with gold pins of the same type. The pommel is a bit larger than the dagger and may originally have been made for a dagger of Armorican (6-rivetted?) type.
The interment was covered by five flat slabs. Barrow mainly of earth, with a circumferential circle of rubble. Dagger and pommel formerly in the Museum of the Plymouth Institution, destroyed by enemy action 21/22 April 1941 (citing Spence Bate 1872, Kendrick 1937, Fox 1973, Hardaker 1974, Pettit 1974, Gerloff 1975).


Pearce, S. M., 1983, The Bronze Age Metalwork of South Western Britain, 459 (Monograph). SDV341822.

(A) Cemerton dagger, ogival, fragmentary, pointille decorated mid-rib. Length 100 milimetres, width 30 milimetres
(B) Oval amber tanged pommel, set with minute gold pins. Diameter 44 millimetres by 60 millimetres. Barrow secondary cremation under slab pavement.


Fleming, A., 1983, The Prehistoric Landscape of Dartmoor. Part 2: North and East Dartmoor, 97-123 (Article in Serial). SDV227880.


Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, 1985, Aerial Photograph Project (Interpretation). SDV319854.

Visible on 1950s Royal Air Force aerial photographs and recorded on map overlay.


Brewer, D., 1986, A field guide to the boundary markers on and around Dartmoor, 19 (Monograph). SDV309252.


Pattison, P., 1990, Field investigation of Barrow on Hamel Down, 27/7/1990, Surveyed at 1:500 (Report - Survey). SDV307152.

SX 7064 7920: Two Barrows: two round barrows situated in a prominent position on the broad ridge of Hamel Down, in a shallow saddle between Hameldown Beacon to the south and Broad Barrow to the north. The north-south ridge-top track passes close to the east.
1. SX 7064 7920 The Northern barrow:
A steep-sided, almost circular heather-covered mound 17.5 - 18.5 metres in diameter and 1.6 metres high. A slight break in slope halfway down, with small stones showing through, probably marks the outer edge of the stone ring revealed by excavation (see below). Otherwise the mound appears to be earthen. A slight scarp averaging 0.3 metres high runs around the foot of the barrow on the western arc.
Spence-Bate's section suggests that the barrow was flat-topped: the boundary stone is now re-set on the northern lip. Just south of it is an east-west linear depression B, 0.3 metres deep spanning the top; this is the northern edge of Spence-Bate's excavation trench which was a rectangular cut 25 feet (7.62 metres) wide entering from the southern side of the mound. The entire barrow top and south slope are therefore the product of his backfill: mounding from this is evident at A. There is relatively recent, minor digging at C and some turf and soil erosion around the boundary stone and on the north-east margin of the mound.
Spence-Bate's excavation in 1872 revealed a barrow essentially of black, peaty and clayey earth with a prominent stone bank or cairn-ring surrounding and revetting it. A small central cairn had no burial beneath it. A single cremation was found under one of five stone slabs laid directly on the ground surace in the south-eastern quadrant of
the barrow: a fragment of human skull was identified together with the famous bronze dagger with amber pommel inlaid with gold pins.
Fox regarded this barrow as an earth and stone composite with outer stone ring and central cairn, one of a distinct structural type with parallel at the nearby Broad Barrow (SX 77 NW 1) and Single Barrow (SX 77 NW 22). The burial was viewed as an outlier of the Wessex culture.
The purpose made boundary stone on the northern barrow has a rounded head
and is inscribed: "Two Burrows" [east face] and "D S 1854" [west face]. It is one of a series marking the bounds of Natsworthy Manor, which at that time belonged to Edward Augustus Seymour, 11th Duke of Somerset.


Turner, J. R., 1990, Ring Cairns, Stone Circles and Related Monuments on Dartmoor, 83 (Article in Serial). SDV229817.


Needham, S., 2000, Power pulses cross a cultural divide, 180 (Article in Serial). SDV309255.


Bonnington, P., 2011, Earlier Bronze Age Cemetery Mounds and the Multiple Cremation Burial Rites in Western Britain, 84 (Article in Serial). SDV361498.


Ordnance Survey, 2017, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV359962.

Depicted on the modern mapping.


Historic England, 2017, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV359963.

This monument which falls into four separate areas includes five cairns situated on Hamel Down. The cairns form part of a cemetery including at least nine cairns.
One of two cairns. The northern of the two survives as a circular stony mound measuring 17m in diameter and up to 1.4m high. It has a boundary stone marked ‘Two Burrows’. This was excavated by Bate in 1872 producing a central cairn covered by five stone slabs and nearby a dagger with an amber studded pommel. Four metres to the south is an 11.5m diameter and 1m high circular cairn which is crossed by a granite boundary wall.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV123165Article in Serial: Fox, A.. 1948. The Broad Down (Farway) Necropolis and the Wessex Culture in Devon. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Exploration Society. 4: part 1. Paperback Volume. 11-12.
SDV149513Article in Serial: Pilkington-Rogers, C. W. 1932. The Date of the Dartmoor Antiquities. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 64. A5 Hardback. 387.
SDV16216Monograph: Fox, A.. 1973. South West England 3,500BC - AD600 (Revised Edition). South West England. Hardback Volume. 87.
SDV20973Article in Serial: Worth, R. H.. 1937. 56th Report of the Barrow Committee. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 69. A4 Unbound. 103, plate 21, fig 1.
SDV227880Article in Serial: Fleming, A.. 1983. The Prehistoric Landscape of Dartmoor. Part 2: North and East Dartmoor. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society. 49. Unknown. 97-123.
SDV229817Article in Serial: Turner, J. R.. 1990. Ring Cairns, Stone Circles and Related Monuments on Dartmoor. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 48. Paperback Volume. 83.
SDV238214Article in Serial: Victoria County History. 1906. The Victoria History of the County of Devon. Victoria History of the County of Devon. 1. Unknown. 361, section 363.
SDV273224Article in Serial: Grinsell, L. V.. 1978. Dartmoor Barrows. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 36. A5 Paperback. 156, Manaton 2.
SDV290988Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1950. RAF RP541/540. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Unknown. 3143.
SDV304192Monograph: Grinsell, L. V.. 1970. Discovering Regional Archaeology: South Western England. Discovering Regional Archaeology: South Western England. Unknown. 25.
SDV307152Report - Survey: Pattison, P.. 1990. Field investigation of Barrow on Hamel Down. Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England Archaeological Survey. Unknown. 27/7/1990, Surveyed at 1:500.
SDV309237Article in Serial: Kendrick, T. D.. 1937. The Hammeldon Down Pommel. Antiquaries Journal. 17. Unknown. 313-314.
SDV309238Article in Serial: Unattributed. 1884-1887. Unknown article title. Transactions of the Plymouth Institution and Devon and Cornwall Natural History Society. 9. Unknown. 311.
SDV309241Article in Serial: Taylor, J. J.. 1970. The Recent Discovery of Gold Pins in the Ridgeway Gold Pommel. Antiquaries Journal. 50. Unknown. 218, 219, 221.
SDV309252Monograph: Brewer, D.. 1986. A field guide to the boundary markers on and around Dartmoor. A field guide to the boundary markers on and around Dartmoor. Unknown. 19.
SDV309254Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1960. SX77NW23. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV309255Article in Serial: Needham, S.. 2000. Power pulses cross a cultural divide. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society. 66. Unknown. 180.
SDV309431Article in Serial: Spence Bate, C.. 1873. Researches into Some Ancient Tumuli on Dartmoor. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 6. Unknown. 272.
SDV319854Interpretation: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 1985. Aerial Photograph Project. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Aerial Photograph P. Cartographic.
SDV322234Monograph: Evans, J.. 1881. Ancient Bronze Implements, Weapons and Ornaments of Great Britain and Irela. Ancient Bronze Implements, Weapons and Ornaments of Great Britain and Irela. Unknown. 228.
SDV336926Article in Serial: Spence Bate, C.. 1872. Researches into some Antient Tumuli on Dartmoor. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 5. Digital. 553-7, plates 1-2.
SDV339147Monograph: Gerloff, S.. 1975. The Early Bronze Age Daggers of Great Britain. The Early Bronze Age Daggers of Great Britain. 6. Unknown. 107, No. 194.
SDV341822Monograph: Pearce, S. M.. 1983. The Bronze Age Metalwork of South Western Britain. British Archaeological Reports. 120. Photocopy. 459.
SDV359962Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2017. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #101378 ]
SDV359963National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2017. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital.
SDV361498Article in Serial: Bonnington, P.. 2011. Earlier Bronze Age Cemetery Mounds and the Multiple Cremation Burial Rites in Western Britain. British Archaeological Reports. 548. Paperback Volume. 84.

Associated Monuments

MDV15084Related to: South Hameldon Reave (Monument)
MDV7411Related to: Two Barrows (southern), Hamel Down (Monument)

Associated Finds

  • FDV5918 - DAGGER (Bronze Age - 2200 BC to 701 BC)
  • FDV6652 - HUMAN REMAINS (Bronze Age - 2200 BC? to 701 BC)

Associated Events: none recorded


Date Last Edited:Jun 28 2018 10:46AM