Ancient Monuments

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Bowl barrow and bell barrow on Graffham Down

A Scheduled Monument in Graffham, West Sussex

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.939 / 50°56'20"N

Longitude: -0.6995 / 0°41'58"W

OS Eastings: 491469.522166

OS Northings: 116314.007513

OS Grid: SU914163

Mapcode National: GBR DFQ.3YX

Mapcode Global: FRA 96FM.F9C

Entry Name: Bowl barrow and bell barrow on Graffham Down

Scheduled Date: 9 May 1963

Last Amended: 12 October 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008738

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20085

County: West Sussex

Civil Parish: Graffham

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Sussex

Church of England Parish: Graffham St Giles with Woolavington St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Chichester

Details

The monument includes two round barrows situated on the crest of a ridge of
chalk downland at the north edge of the South Downs. The eastern barrow is a
bowl barrow and comprises a central mound 20m in diameter and 1.4m high which
has a large central hollow suggesting that it was once partially excavated.
Surrounding the mound is a ditch from which material was quarried during the
construction of the monument. This has become partially infilled over the
years and is now 5m wide and 1m deep. The western barrow is a bell barrow and
comprises a central mound 15m in diameter and 1.2m high; this too has a hollow
in it suggesting that it was also once partially excavated. Surrounding this
is a gently sloping platform, or berm, up to 2m wide on the south side.
Beyond this is a ditch which survives as a low earthwork 3.5m wide and 0.7m
deep.

MAP EXTRACT
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.

Bowl barrows are the most numerous form of round barrow dating from the Late
Neolithic to the Late Bronze Age with most examples belonging to the period
2400-1500bc. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds and, although
superficially similar, they exhibit regional variations in form and a
diversity of burial practices. There are over 10,000 bowl barrows recorded
nationally 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 evidence of partial excavation of both the bell barrow and the bowl
barrow on Graffham Down, they survive comparatively well and contain
archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and
the landscape in which it was constructed.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Sussex Archaeological Collections' in Sussex Barrows (Volume 75), , Vol. 75, (1934)
Other
Aldsworth, F.G., SU 91 NW 21, (1975)

Source: Historic England

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