Ancient Monuments

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Oval barrow with superimposed bowl barrow known as Howe's Hill, 500m WSW of Wood Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Bodham, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.924 / 52°55'26"N

Longitude: 1.1733 / 1°10'23"E

OS Eastings: 613409.355796

OS Northings: 341006.76833

OS Grid: TG134410

Mapcode National: GBR VBL.PGS

Mapcode Global: WHLQX.0R0Q

Entry Name: Oval barrow with superimposed bowl barrow known as Howe's Hill, 500m WSW of Wood Farm

Scheduled Date: 26 June 1924

Last Amended: 23 October 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013568

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21376

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: Bodham

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk


The monument is located on a high point of the Cromer Ridge, c.2.5km south of
the coast, and includes a composite earthwork incorporating an oval barrow and
a superimposed mound which is considered to be a later bowl barrow. The
earlier barrow is visible as an ovoid earthen mound, standing to a height of
c.1.5m and measuring c.32m along an ENE-WSW axis by c.23m NNW-SSE.
The bowl barrow stands on this mound near its eastern end, and is defined by a
distinct break in the profile of the earthwork. It covers a circular area
c.14m in diameter and is c.1m high, giving the earthwork an overall maximum
height of c.2m. Surrounding the oval mound, at a distance of up to 2m, there
are two ditches, marked by slight hollows c.1m wide in the ground surface and
separated by a slight bank. These features, which have a combined width of
c.4.5m, are thought to be landscaping features of comparatively recent date,
probably associated with tree planting on the mound, but probably overlie an
earlier, and much larger buried ditch from which earth was quarried during the
construction of the barrow. A Bronze Age pottery urn in Cambridge University
Museum of Archaeology is believed to have come from a limited investigation of
the barrow carried out during the 19th century, and a slight hollow in the top
of the later mound perhaps marks the area of this disturbance.

The surface of the track which impinges on the south east side of the monument
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

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 incorporated in Howes Hill 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, and the evidence for a later bowl
barrow constructed upon it gives it additional interest. Although there is
some evidence to suggest limited disturbance caused by a 19th century
investigation of the barrows, the monument as a whole survives well and will
retain archaeological information concerning the construction of the barrows
and the manner and duration of their use, including stratigraphic evidence for
the chronological, structural and functional relationship between the two.
Evidence for the local environment at and prior to that time is also likely to
be preserved in soils buried beneath the earlier mound. This composite
earthwork is among a large number of barrows of varying type and date which
are located on glacial sands and gravels along the northern part of the Cromer
Ridge, south of the coast. As a group, these barrows are important for the
study of the distribution, character and development of the prehistoric
population of the area.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Clarke, R R, Apling, H, 'Norfolk Archaeol' in An Iron Age Tumulus on Warborough Hill, Stiffkey, Norfolk, , Vol. 25, (1935), 425

Source: Historic England

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