Ancient Monuments

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Asthall Barrow: an Anglo-Saxon burial mound 100m SSW of Barrow Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Asthall, Oxfordshire

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Latitude: 51.7889 / 51°47'19"N

Longitude: -1.5811 / 1°34'51"W

OS Eastings: 428991.540472

OS Northings: 210105.016125

OS Grid: SP289101

Mapcode National: GBR 5T4.WL7

Mapcode Global: VHC00.K90H

Entry Name: Asthall Barrow: an Anglo-Saxon burial mound 100m SSW of Barrow Farm

Scheduled Date: 16 May 1934

Last Amended: 22 November 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008414

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21797

County: Oxfordshire

Civil Parish: Asthall

Traditional County: Oxfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Oxfordshire

Church of England Parish: Asthall with Swinbrook and Widford

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument includes an Anglo-Saxon hlaew or burial mound situated on a
north-facing slope, 100m south of Barrow Farm.
The barrow mound was constructed within a drystone wall, 0.5m thick and up to
1.5m high, which has since been repaired. The mound, including its revetment
wall, measures 17m in diameter and stands up to 2m high.
The barrow was partially excavated by G S Bowles in 1923 and found to contain
Saxon pottery and a primary cremation burial. The mound was found to have been
constructed at ground level with material for its construction brought to the
site. There was no evidence for an associated quarry ditch.
The drystone wall surrounding the mound is believed to contain original
stonework and is included in the scheduling.

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

A hlaew is a burial monument of Anglo-Saxon or Viking date and comprising a
hemispherical mound of earth and redeposited bedrock constructed over a
primary burial or burials. These were usually inhumations, buried in a grave
cut into the subsoil beneath the mound, but cremations placed on the old
ground surface beneath the mound have also been found. Hlaews may occur
in pairs or in small groups; a few have accompanying flat graves. Constructed
during the pagan Saxon and Viking periods for individuals of high rank, they
served as visible and ostentatious markers of their social position. Some
were associated with territorial claims and appear to have been specifically
located to mark boundaries. They often contain objects which give information
on the range of technological skill and trading contacts of the period. Only
between 50 and 60 hlaews have been positively identified in England. As a
rare monument class all positively identified examples are considered worthy
of preservation.

The Asthall Barrow is one of the best preserved examples of a type of burial
mound of which there are about ten examples in West Oxfordshire. Despite
partial excavation and recent animal burrowing it will contain archaeological
and environmental evidence relating to its construction and the landscape in
which it was built. The survival of part of its original drystone retaining
wall is an unusual feature.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Leeds, E T, 'Antiquity' in Asthal Saxon Barrow, , Vol. Vol. IV, (1924)
PRN 1492, C.A.O., Asthal Barrow, (1985)
Record 17, Mudd, A, Asthall Barrow, Asthall, (1984)

Source: Historic England

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