Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Oval barrow 200m north east of Exceat Park Centre

A Scheduled Monument in Cuckmere Valley, East Sussex

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Latitude: 50.7765 / 50°46'35"N

Longitude: 0.1552 / 0°9'18"E

OS Eastings: 552050.440976

OS Northings: 99654.239242

OS Grid: TV520996

Mapcode National: GBR LSR.B2D

Mapcode Global: FRA C761.B91

Entry Name: Oval barrow 200m north east of Exceat Park Centre

Scheduled Date: 8 December 1980

Last Amended: 5 February 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014386

English Heritage Legacy ID: 12791

County: East Sussex

Civil Parish: Cuckmere Valley

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Sussex

Church of England Parish: West Dean All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


The Neolithic oval barrow at Exceat includes a low earthen mound 28m long
and up to 14m wide, and also the surrounding ditch or ditches from which the
earth and chalk used to construct the mound was quarried. The mound is
clearly visible; it is oval in plan and stands to a height of up to 1.2m
above the surrounding ground level. The quarry ditch is not visible on the
surface, however, having been filled by soil from the eroded mound.
The monument is sited on relatively low ground compared with other examples
in East Sussex, but it nevertheless shares its situation of local
prominence, on the crest of a chalk spur overlooking lower ground, with many
other similar examples.
The flint estate wall which crosses the monument on the north side of the
mound is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it is

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

Although this example has been spread somewhat by erosion, it survives
comparatively well and since agricultural activities are unlikely to have
disturbed the primary burial, the original ground surface nor the ditches,
it is considered to retain a high archaeological potential for the recovery
of evidence of its date, manner of construction, use and environment.

Source: Historic England

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