This chapter discusses the coastal Pebblebed heathlands of East Devon, a long low ridge that forms the watershed between the Exe estuary to the west and the river Otter to the east. At least twenty-six round barrows of presumed Bronze Age date mark this landscape (Figures 6.1 and 6.2). As far as we can tell, these were the first monuments to be constructed in the locality. The other surviving monuments are a single Iron Age hillfort and a roughly contemporary dyke to the north. There has been very little systematic archaeological research in this area since the 1940s going beyond the cataloguing of field monuments and no interpretative accounts. In addition, the empirical evidence from excavations is slight. However, even with this paucity of recent research, I attempt to make some interpretive sense of individual barrow locations by considering, in detail, the manner in which they are fundamentally tied to the sensory experiences provided by their landscape settings. This interpretive approach works on the key premise that the meaning and the significance of these barrows were, and are, intimately related to the specific qualities

of the place together with the immediate and more distant landscape contexts in which they are literally embedded. The research attempts to consider the monuments from the wider perspective of the landscape and then works back again to consider the landscape from the perspective of the placement of the individual barrows. It suggests some provisional answers to the following basic questions: Why were the barrows constructed here rather than elsewhere in this area of East Devon? In what manner do individual barrows mark and monumentalise the landscape? What might their significance be beyond the fact that at least some were places for repeated ceremonies, with the final act being the burial of the dead? How might we conceptualise a sense of place and its significance in relation to social identity and cosmologies in the past?