Ancient Monuments

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Oval barrow in Bodham Wood, 600m ESE of Warren Farm

A Scheduled Monument in High Kelling, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.9204 / 52°55'13"N

Longitude: 1.1356 / 1°8'7"E

OS Eastings: 610888.929005

OS Northings: 340487.328216

OS Grid: TG108404

Mapcode National: GBR T96.ZWV

Mapcode Global: WHLQW.DVZK

Entry Name: Oval barrow in Bodham Wood, 600m ESE of Warren Farm

Scheduled Date: 18 August 1978

Last Amended: 10 October 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013567

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21375

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: High Kelling

Built-Up Area: High Kelling

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Bodham All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Norwich


The monument includes an oval barrow located on the high ground of the Cromer
Ridge, c.3km south of the coast. The barrow is visible as an oval mound
measuring c.29m on a north east to south west axis by 22m north west to south
east, standing to a maximum height of c.1.6m near the north eastern end, and
shelving slightly towards the south west. There is a hollow c.5m wide and of
uneven depth in the ground surface along the northern side of the mound, and
very slight hollows of similar width can also be traced around the western end
and along the south side. These hollows are considered to mark ditches, now
almost completely infilled, from which earth was quarried and used in the
construction of the barrow.

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 sites
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 barrows 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 oval barrow in Bodham Wood is one of two examples of this rare class of
monument which have been identified in this area of Norfolk, the other being
c.2.5km to the north east. It survives well, and will contain archaeological
information concerning its construction and the manner and duration of its
use, as well as evidence for the local environment at and prior to that time,
which is likely to be preserved in soils buried beneath the mound and in the
fill of the buried ditches. It is one of a large number of barrows of varying
type and date located on glacial sands and gravels along the northern part of
the Cromer Ridge, south of the coast. These barrows, as a group, are of
importance for the study of the distribution, character and development of the
prehistoric population of the area.

Source: Historic England


Coad, V, AM7, (1977)
Lawson, AJ, 6300: North Norfolk, Bodham, (1976)
NAR TG 14 SW 33, (1980)

Source: Historic England

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