Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Bowl barrow 500m west of Firle Beacon

A Scheduled Monument in Firle, East Sussex

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Latitude: 50.8339 / 50°50'1"N

Longitude: 0.1009 / 0°6'3"E

OS Eastings: 548039.743229

OS Northings: 105918.601183

OS Grid: TQ480059

Mapcode National: GBR LRX.NB6

Mapcode Global: FRA C63W.M58

Entry Name: Bowl barrow 500m west of Firle Beacon

Scheduled Date: 18 January 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009962

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25495

County: East Sussex

Civil Parish: Firle

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 bowl barrow situated on a ridge of the Sussex Downs,
just to the south of the South Downs Way. The ridge commands extensive views
of the Weald to the north and the English Channel to the south. The barrow has
a circular mound 10m in diameter, which survives to a height of around 0.4m.
The uneven surface of the mound indicates that it has been partially excavated
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.
The modern fence which crosses the monument on its southern 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

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. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often
acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Often superficially similar,
although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form
and a diversity of burial practices. There are over 10,000 surviving bowl
barrows recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), 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

Although it shows some signs of disturbance by partial excavation and
agricultural activity, the bowl barrow 500m west of Firle Beacon survives
comparatively well, and will contain archaeological remains and environmental
evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was
constructed. Its close association with broadly contemporary and later, early
medieval funerary monuments along the ridge to the west and east, provides
evidence for the continuing importance of this area of downland for burial and
ceremonial practices over a period of around 3000 years.

Source: Historic England


ref. 2, Grinsell, L V, TQ 40 NE 20, (1930)

Source: Historic England

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