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Monument details

HER Number:TR 14 SW 1
Type of record:Monument
Name:Bowl barrow


Bowl barrow

Grid Reference:TR 1279 4254
Map Sheet:TR14SW

Monument Types

  • BOWL BARROW (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC)

Associated Finds

  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age - 2450 BC to 1501 BC)
  • POT (Early Bronze Age - 2200 BC to 1700 BC)
  • BICONICAL URN (Early Bronze Age to Middle Bronze Age - 1750 BC to 1501 BC)
Protected Status:Scheduled Monument KENT 131; Scheduled Monument 1012259: BOWL BARROW ON SWINYARD'S HILL

Full description

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[TR 12784255] Tumulus [NR] (1) A round Barrow on Swingard [Swinyard's on O.S.] Hill, Stowting, is the one opened by John Brent in 1870 (2). Scheduled (3). (2,3) [TR 12784254]. Bowl barrow, 35.0 metres in diameter and up to 2.0 metres in height. Under pasture; no trace of ditch. Published 25" survey revised. (4) A large tumulus on Mountain Hill, Cage Hill, Stowting was excavated by John Brent assisted by his brother Cecil Brent in the autumn of 1870. Near the surface of the mound he found portions of a British urn of reddish clay, "slackly baked" and evidently not in situ. Small knobs projected under the rim of the vessel perforated by minute clear cut holes. About 2ft beneath this "what appeared to be a flint flake" and the charred blade-bone of a sheep or pig were found upon an extensive floor of burnt wood ashes from 1-2 inches thick. Excavation was continued down to the original ground level but no other finds were made. After the excavations had commenced, Brent ascertained that the mound had been accidently "explored" about 30 years previously when taking off a portion of the top during agricultural improvements, and that some earthen vessels had been found. Brent concluded that he may have missed any primary interment as the mound was very large and the agricultural improvements may, by altering its original outlines have rendered it uncertain where the true centre had once been. Identical information. (5-7)

From the National Heritage List for England:

The monument, which is situated on a slight south-facing slope, includes a roughly circular burial mound and a surrounding ditch which has been completely infilled by erosion and recent agricultural activity. The mound measures some 31m in diameter and stands over 2m higher than the ground on the south side, although because of the sloping ground this measurement is reduced to 0.7m on the northern side. The surrounding ditch is visible only as a band of darker grass some 3m wide separated from the present foot of the mound by between 3 and 5m. The mound edge formerly abutted the surrounding ditch, but subsequent erosion and agricultural activity has reduced the dimensions of the mound slightly, separating it from its ditch. The ditch originally provided the soil with which the mound was constructed. The mound and the ditch together have a diameter of 47m. This was once a comparatively large burial mound. It was partially excavated in 1870 by John Brent, who found fragments of Bronze Age pottery and the remains of a funeral pyre at a depth of less than 1m. These are likely to have belonged to a secondary burial: Brent considered that he had failed to locate the primary burial owing to the alteration of the shape of the mound during soil improvement activities in the 1840s. More recent agricultural activities exposed several stone tools in the soil of the mound, suggesting that other secondary burials, accompanied by grave goods, had been placed in the upper parts of the mound.
Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Often superficially similar, although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form and a diversity of burial practices. There are over 10,000 surviving bowl barrows recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring across most of lowland Britain. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation of form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Despite the limited damage to the barrow on Swinyard's Hill caused by partial excavation and by agricultural activities, the monument retains considerable archaeological potential. Not only is the primary burial considered to be intact, but also surviving is the bulk of the mound and hence any other secondary burials inserted into it as well as much of the original ground surface beneath the mound with its evidence of the prior land-use of the area, and the soil accumulations in the ditches which often contain dating evidence.

<1> OS 6" 1961 (OS Card Reference). SKE48369.

<2> Archaeol Cant 74 1960 56 (P Ashbee & GC Dunning) (OS Card Reference). SKE37239.

<3> Arch Cant 9 1874 20-1 (CH Woodruff) (OS Card Reference). SKE36000.

<4> Proc Soc Antiquaries London 5 2nd ser 126 (J Brent) (OS Card Reference). SKE48730.

<5> AM Eng and Wales 1961 59 (MOW) (OS Card Reference). SKE33016.

<6> F1 CFW 22-APR-1963 (OS Card Reference). SKE42698.

<7> Field report for monument TR 14 SW 1 - April, 1963 (Bibliographic reference). SKE5444.

Sources and further reading

Cross-ref. Source description
<1>OS Card Reference: OS 6" 1961.
<2>OS Card Reference: Archaeol Cant 74 1960 56 (P Ashbee & GC Dunning).
<3>OS Card Reference: Arch Cant 9 1874 20-1 (CH Woodruff).
<4>OS Card Reference: Proc Soc Antiquaries London 5 2nd ser 126 (J Brent).
<5>XYOS Card Reference: AM Eng and Wales 1961 59 (MOW). [Mapped feature: #738 barrow, ]
<6>OS Card Reference: F1 CFW 22-APR-1963.
<7>Bibliographic reference: Field report for monument TR 14 SW 1 - April, 1963.