Ancient Monuments

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A pair of bowl barrows forming part of a linear round barrow cemetery, and a hlaew on Rookery Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Seaford, East Sussex

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Latitude: 50.7897 / 50°47'22"N

Longitude: 0.08 / 0°4'48"E

OS Eastings: 546705.773067

OS Northings: 100960.012726

OS Grid: TQ467009

Mapcode National: GBR LSG.H17

Mapcode Global: FRA C710.BYQ

Entry Name: A pair of bowl barrows forming part of a linear round barrow cemetery, and a hlaew on Rookery Hill

Scheduled Date: 11 February 1958

Last Amended: 12 January 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009952

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25485

County: East Sussex

Civil Parish: Seaford

Built-Up Area: Rookery Hill

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Sussex

Church of England Parish: Bishopstone St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


The monument includes two adjacent, prehistoric bowl barrows, part of a group
of six bowl barrows which form a north west-south east aligned, linear round
barrow cemetery, and a later, Anglo Saxon hlaew or burial mound. The monument
is situated on a spur of the Sussex Downs, a location which commands fine
views of the surrounding countryside and the coast to the south west.
The south easterly bowl barrow has a sub-circular mound up to 15m in diameter,
which survives to a height of up to c.1m. A small area on the south western
edge of the barrow mound has been partially flattened by modern ploughing, and
a hollow in its centre indicates partial excavation some time in the past.
Surrounding the mound is a ditch from which material used to construct the
barrow was excavated. This has become infilled over the years, but survives as
a buried feature around 2m wide.
Lying c.12m to the north west, the second bowl barrow is larger, with a
circular mound measuring 19m in diameter and surviving to a height of up to
1.2m. A large, irregular, v-shaped trench has been cut into its surface some
years ago. The c.2m wide ditch which surrounds the mound has become infilled,
but will survive in buried form beneath the ground.
The hlaew has been constructed in the area between the two bowl barrows,
partially overlying their quarry ditches. This is a small, north east-south
west aligned, oval mound measuring 9m by 6m. The mound, which survives to a
height of around 0.5m, has been partially disturbed on its north western edge
by cattle poaching or subsequent digging. The c.1m wide ditch which surrounds
it is no longer visible but will survive as a buried feature.
The modern fence which crosses the monument on its south western side is
excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it is included.

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

Round barrow cemeteries date to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They comprise
closely-spaced groups of up to 30 round barrows - rubble or earthen mounds
covering single or multiple burials. Most cemeteries developed over a
considerable period of time, often many centuries, and in some cases acted as
a focus for burials as late as the early medieval period. They exhibit
considerable diversity of burial rite, plan and form, frequently including
several different types of round barrow, occasionally associated with earlier
long barrows. Where large scale investigation has been undertaken around them,
contemporary or later "flat" burials between the barrow mounds have often been
revealed. Round barrow cemeteries occur across most of lowland Britain, with a
marked concentration in Wessex. In some cases, they are clustered around other
important contemporary monuments such as henges. Often occupying prominent
locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape, whilst
their diversity and their longevity as a monument type provide important
information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst early
prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period
and a substantial proportion of surviving or partly-surviving examples are
considered worthy of protection.

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments
dating from the Late Neolithic to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples
belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen or
rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials.
There are over 10,000 surviving bowl barrows recorded nationally, and many
more have already been destroyed.
A hlaew is a burial monument of Anglo-Saxon or Viking date 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
Despite some limited disturbance by modern agricultural activity and partial
excavation, the pair of bowl barrows and the hlaew on Rookery Hill survive
comparatively well and will contain archaeological remains and environmental
evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was
constructed and used The prehistoric round barrow cemetery of which the two
bowl barrows form a part survives particularly well and is one of the best
examples of this type of monument to be found on the East Sussex Downs. These
prehistoric barrows are the earliest known structures on Rookery Hill, and
their close association with later monuments, including nearby traces of
subsequent human occupation dating to the Iron Age, the Roman and early
medieval periods, provide evidence for the continuity of burial, settlement
and agriculture in this area of downland over a period of at least 3,000

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Sussex Archaeological Collections' in Sussex Barrows, , Vol. 75, (1934), 272
ref. 3, Grinsell, LV, TQ 40 SE B, (1930)
unsure of exact date of discovery, Coad, V, Conversation between R Parker and V Coad 15/03/1994, (1988)

Source: Historic England

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