The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

The Devil's Punchbowl

Round Barrow(s)


(moth --> flame)
The largest tumulus, which is nearly circular, is about 60 feet in diameter and 5 feet high at the highest part. In the centre it is only 2 feet 6 inches. The site of this tumulus is marked upon the ordnance map and it is locally known as the "Punch Bowl" or "Devil's Punch Bowl," a designation which, as is well known, has been often applied to barrows, and originated doubtless in the legends and superstitions which found favour with the country people in former days; the bowl or cup-like form being due either to the pernicious habit of explorers, when excavating tumuli, of excavating a shaft or pit in the very centre of the mound, with the expectation of dropping at once on the anticipated treasure, perhaps finding nothing and abandoning the work, or from the fact of the barrow having been raised over cists containing urns or interments by inhumation, which gradually perishing and giving way, led to a subsidence of the soil in the crown of the tumulus.

There is a tradition current among the labourers on the estate that in this hollow portion of the "Bowl" a large stone formerly existed, and it was removed from its position by mischievous people, and sent rolling down the hill, and that, for some time after, it was to be seen near to a ditch or path adjoining Nunwell House. We instituted a careful search with one of the labourers, but was unable to trace the stone. It is possible that it had some association with the tumulus, and perhaps some significance as a limitary mark, or it may have been only placed there in recent times for the support of a staff or pole, the situation of the mound being one which might even be selected for a beacon.
From Excavations of Tumuli on the Brading Downs, Isle of Wight by John E Price and F G Hilton Price, in the Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, February 1882. There is a drawing of the antler artefact that TSC mentions.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
15th January 2013ce

Comments (1)

I knew you wouldn't let me down. :o) thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
15th January 2013ce
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