Ancient Monuments

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A saucer barrow, a bowl barrow and a pair of hlaews 350m north west of Overhill Lodge

A Scheduled Monument in Beddingham, East Sussex

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Latitude: 50.8345 / 50°50'4"N

Longitude: 0.0887 / 0°5'19"E

OS Eastings: 547174.671158

OS Northings: 105968.823304

OS Grid: TQ471059

Mapcode National: GBR LRW.R6N

Mapcode Global: FRA C62W.NCK

Entry Name: A saucer barrow, a bowl barrow and a pair of hlaews 350m north west of Overhill Lodge

Scheduled Date: 18 January 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009959

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25492

County: East Sussex

Civil Parish: Beddingham

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Sussex

Church of England Parish: West Firle St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


The monument includes a group of burial mounds comprising a saucer barrow,
bowl barrow, and two Anglo Saxon hlaews situated on a ridge of the Sussex
Downs. The ridge, which lies around 1.25km to the south of the village of West
Firle, commands extensive views of the Weald to the north and the English
Channel to the south.
The easternmost barrow of the group is a saucer barrow which has a central,
circular area of uneven ground measuring 20m in diameter, enclosed by a ditch
3m wide and up to c.0.3m deep. This survives particularly well to the south,
but has become partially infilled over the years on its northern side,
surviving there in buried form. The ditch is in turn encircled by a low, outer
bank 1m wide and up to 0.2m high on its southern side, although it has been
levelled to the north.
Adjoining the north western edge of the saucer barrow is a bowl barrow, which
has a horseshoe-shaped mound 11m in diameter and up to 0.7m high. The mound
was adapted for artillery use by the army during World War II, when this area
of downland was used as a training ground, with the result that its original
circular shape has been partially disturbed by the excavation of a large
hollow in its eastern side. Surrounding the mound is a ditch from which
material used to construct the barrow was excavated. This has become partially
infilled, but survives as a buried feature around 2m wide.
Around 20m to the south west, on the opposite side of an adjacent, north
west-south east aligned, downland track is the westernmost hlaew. This has a
small, roughly circular mound 8m in diameter and 0.4m high, which has been
partially disturbed by a small excavation on its eastern side some time in the
past. The mound is surrounded by a now infilled ditch around 1m wide.
The second hlaew lies c.18m to the south east, and has a small mound c.6m in
diameter and 0.3m high. Its surrounding ditch has also become infilled over
the years, but will survive below ground as a buried feature around 1m wide.

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

Saucer barrows are funerary monuments of the Early Bronze Age, most examples
dating to between 1800 and l200 BC. They occur either in isolation or in
barrow cemeteries (closely-spaced groups of round barrows). They were
constructed as a circular area of level ground defined by a bank and internal
ditch and largely occupied by a single low, squat mound covering one or more
burials, usually in a pit. The burials, either inhumations or cremations, are
sometimes accompanied by pottery vessels, tools and personal ornaments. Saucer
barrows are one of the rarest recognised forms of round barrow, with about 60
known examples nationally, most of which are in Wessex. The presence of grave
goods within the barrows provides important evidence for chronological and
cultural links amongst prehistoric communities over a wide area of southern
England as well as providing an insight into their beliefs and social
organisation. As a rare and fragile form of round barrow, all identified
saucer barrows would normally be considered to be of national importance.

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments
dating from the Late Neolithic period 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.
Hlaews are burial monuments 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 may 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.
Although they have been partially disturbed by army activity during World War
II, the barrows and hlaews 350m north west of Overhill Lodge 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. This close spatial association of funerary monuments
from the Bronze Age and Anglo Saxon period, and the presence of further,
broadly contemporary monuments along the ridge to the west and east,
illustrate the continuing importance of this area of downland for burial and
ceremonial practices over a period of around 3000 years.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Sussex Archaeological Collections' in Sussex Barrows, , Vol. 75, (1934), 266-267
F2 NKB, TQ 40 NE 6 C, (1972)
Ordnance Survey surveyor F2 NKB, TQ 40 SE 6 D, (1972)

Source: Historic England

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