Ancient Monuments

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Oval barrow in Shrub's Wood

A Scheduled Monument in Hastingleigh, Kent

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Latitude: 51.1735 / 51°10'24"N

Longitude: 1.0018 / 1°0'6"E

OS Eastings: 609927.600577

OS Northings: 145870.431729

OS Grid: TR099458

Mapcode National: GBR SY0.834

Mapcode Global: VHKKJ.9RYR

Entry Name: Oval barrow in Shrub's Wood

Scheduled Date: 16 June 1969

Last Amended: 10 May 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012523

English Heritage Legacy ID: 12789

County: Kent

Civil Parish: Hastingleigh

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent


The monument in Shrub's Wood, an oval barrow or burial mound dating from the
Neolithic period, includes not only a large earthen mound but also the broad
ditches which flank the mound.
The mound itself is orientated E-W, measures 38m in length, up to 19m in
width and survives to an impressive 2m above the level of the surrounding
land at its highest point. On either flank of the mound, and extending along
its full length, are ditches from which the earth was quarried for its
construction. Having been largely infilled by erosion of the mound and the
ditch sides, these slightly curving ditches are now broad and shallow,
measuring typically 5m across but only 0.5m deep. The ditch on the southern
side is the more easily visible.
The boundary fence which passes the outer edge of the southern flanking
ditch is excluded from 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

Oval barrows are funerary and ceremonial monuments of the early to middle
Neolithic periods, with the majority of dated monuments belonging to the later
part of the range. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds of
roughly elliptical plan, usually delimited by quarry ditches. These ditches
can vary from paired "banana-shaped" ditches flanking the mound to "U-shaped"
or unbroken oval ditches nearly or wholly encircling it. Along with the long
barrows, oval barrows represent the burial places of Britain's early farming
communities and, as such, are amongst the oldest field monuments surviving
visibly in the present landscape. Where investigated, oval barrows have
produced two distinct types of burial rite: communal burials of groups of
individuals, including adults and children, laid directly on the ground
surface before the barrow was built; and burials of one or two adults interred
in a grave pit centrally placed beneath the barrow mound. Certain bites
provide evidence for several phases of funerary monument preceding the barrow
and, consequently, it is probable that they may have acted as important ritual
sites for local communities over a considerable period of time. Similarly, as
the filling of the ditches around oval bar rows often contains deliberately
placed deposits of pottery, flintwork, and bone, periodic ceremonial activity
may have taken place at the barrow subsequent to its construction. Oval
barrows are very rare nationally, with less than 50 recorded examples in
England. As one of the few types of Neolithic structure to survive as
earthworks, and due to their rarity, their considerable age and their
longevity as a monument type, all oval barrows are considered to be nationally

The example in Shrub's Wood is of especial importance, not only because it
is amongst the finest surviving oval barrows in the South-East but also
because it stands alone in Kent as an outlier to the the main distribution
of such monuments in Wessex and on the South Downs.

Source: Historic England


Kent, TR 04 NE 27,

Source: Historic England

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