Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Bell barrow in Shoulder of Mutton Wood

A Scheduled Monument in Rochester West, Medway

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Latitude: 51.3601 / 51°21'36"N

Longitude: 0.4793 / 0°28'45"E

OS Eastings: 572710.120735

OS Northings: 165250.56963

OS Grid: TQ727652

Mapcode National: GBR PQ0.N0H

Mapcode Global: VHJM0.827P

Entry Name: Bell barrow in Shoulder of Mutton Wood

Scheduled Date: 9 August 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007459

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23020

County: Medway

Electoral Ward/Division: Rochester West

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent

Church of England Parish: Borstal St Matthew

Church of England Diocese: Rochester


The monument includes a bell barrow situated on the crest of a chalk ridge
adjacent to the North Downs Way.
The barrow has a slightly oval mound 2.2m high, 25m east to west and 23m north
to south, with a large central hollow suggesting that it was once partially
excavated. Surrounding the mound is a gently sloping platform or berm between
1m and 3m wide. This is most clearly visible to the north where the ground
drops away beyond the edge of the berm and to the south where the surrounding
quarry ditch survives up to 4m wide and 0.2m deep. The rest of the ditch has
become infilled over the years and now survives as a buried feature.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Bell barrows, the most visually impressive form of round barrow, are funerary
monuments dating to the Early and Middle Bronze Age, with most examples
belonging to the period 1500-1100 BC. They occur either in isolation or in
round barrow cemeteries and were constructed as single or multiple mounds
covering burials, often in pits, and surrounded by an enclosure ditch. The
burials are frequently accompanied by weapons, personal ornaments and pottery
and appear to be those of aristocratic individuals, usually men. Bell barrows
(particularly multiple barrows) are rare nationally, with less than 250 known
examples, most of which are in Wessex. Their richness in terms of grave goods
provides evidence for chronological and cultural links amongst early
prehistoric communities over most of southern and eastern England as well as
providing an insight into their beliefs and social organisation. As a
particularly rare form of round barrow, all identified bell barrows would
normally be considered to be of national importance.

Despite evidence of partial excavation, the bell barrow in Shoulder of Mutton
Wood survives comparatively well and contains archaeological remains and
environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it
was constructed.

Source: Historic England


Ordnance Survey, TQ 76 NW 25,

Source: Historic England

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