Ancient Monuments

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Group of three saucer barrows and a pair of hlaews south east of Chanctonbury Ring hillfort

A Scheduled Monument in Wiston, West Sussex

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Latitude: 50.8963 / 50°53'46"N

Longitude: -0.3801 / 0°22'48"W

OS Eastings: 514018.885179

OS Northings: 112005.169444

OS Grid: TQ140120

Mapcode National: GBR HLJ.LRW

Mapcode Global: FRA B62Q.ZQB

Entry Name: Group of three saucer barrows and a pair of hlaews south east of Chanctonbury Ring hillfort

Scheduled Date: 1 May 1951

Last Amended: 18 November 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015117

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27094

County: West Sussex

Civil Parish: Wiston

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Sussex

Church of England Parish: Wiston with Buncton

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


The monument includes a south west-north east aligned linear group of three
prehistoric saucer barrows and a pair of early medieval barrows known as
hlaews situated on a chalk ridge which forms part of the Sussex Downs. The
south westerly saucer barrow has a low, circular mound c.11m in diameter and
c.0.3m high with a central hollow, indicating part excavation during the 19th
century. The mound is surrounded by a ditch c.1.5m wide and c.0.2m deep, from
which material used to construct the barrow was excavated. The barrow has been
partly levelled on its north eastern side by long-term use of a downland track
which runs along the ridge at this point.
The central saucer barrow lies c.2m to the north east and has a mound c.11m in
diameter and up to 0.4m high, surrounded by a buried quarry ditch c.1.5m wide
and c.0.2m deep. The ditch has been levelled by the downland track, which runs
across its south western edge. Situated a further 2m to the north east, the
north easterly saucer barrow has an uneven mound c.11m in diameter and c.0.4m
high, surrounded by a ditch c.1.5m wide and c.0.2m deep.
The larger hlaew lies c.1m to the west of the north easterly saucer barrow and
has a circular mound c.8m in diameter with a central hollow, surrounded by a
buried quarry ditch c.1m wide. The second hlaew lies c.18m to the south east
and has a small mound c.5m in diameter and c.0.2m high, which is also
surrounded by a buried ditch c.1m wide.

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

Saucer barrows are funerary monuments of the Early Bronze Age, most examples
dating to between 1800 and l200 BC. They occur either in isolation or in
barrow cemeteries (closely-spaced groups of round barrows). They were
constructed as a circular area of level ground defined by a bank and internal
ditch and largely occupied by a single low, squat mound covering one or more
burials, usually in a pit. The burials, either inhumations or cremations, are
sometimes accompanied by pottery vessels, tools and personal ornaments. Saucer
barrows are one of the rarest recognised forms of round barrow, with about 60
known examples nationally, most of which are in Wessex. The presence of grave
goods within the barrows provides important evidence for chronological and
cultural links amongst prehistoric communities over a wide area of southern
England as well as providing an insight into their beliefs and social
organisation. As a rare and fragile form of round barrow, all identified
saucer barrows would normally be considered to be of national importance.

A hlaew is a burial monument of Anglo-Saxon or Viking date, comprising a
hemispherical mound of earth and redeposited bedrock constructed over a
primary burial or burials. These were usually inhumations, buried in a grave
cut into the subsoil beneath the mound, but cremations placed on the old
ground surface have also been found. Hlaews occur in pairs or groups and a few
have accompanying flat graves. Constructed during the pagan Saxon and Viking
periods for individuals of high rank, they served as visible and ostentatious
markers of their social position. Some were associated with territorial claims
and appear to have been specifically located to mark boundaries. They often
contain objects which give information on the range of technological skills
and trading contacts of the period. Only between 50 and 60 hlaews have been
positively identified in England. As a rare monument class all positively
identified examples are considered worth of preservation.
The three saucer barrows and pair of hlaews south east of Chanctonbury Ring
hillfort survive well and will contain archaeological remains and
environmental evidence relating to the ways in which the monument was
constructed and used. The monument forms part of a group of prehistoric, Roman
and early medieval earthworks situated on Chanctonbury Hill, including a
hillfort, Romano-Celtic temple, two cross dykes and further round barrows and
hlaews, which are the subjects of separate schedulings. The close association
of these monuments will provide important evidence for the changing
relationships between ceremonial and burial practices and land division in
this area of downland over a period of c.1,500 years.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Bedwin, O, 'Britannia' in Excavations a Chanctonbury Ring, Wiston, West Sussex, 1977, , Vol. 11, (1980), 173-231

Source: Historic England

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