Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Oval barrow 700m SSE of Locksash Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Compton, West Sussex

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Latitude: 50.9106 / 50°54'38"N

Longitude: -0.8848 / 0°53'5"W

OS Eastings: 478497.295607

OS Northings: 112941.676659

OS Grid: SU784129

Mapcode National: GBR CDB.YYZ

Mapcode Global: FRA 961P.M42

Entry Name: Oval barrow 700m SSE of Locksash Farm

Scheduled Date: 12 December 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015232

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29237

County: West Sussex

Civil Parish: Compton

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Sussex

Church of England Parish: Octagon

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


The monument includes an oval barrow situated on a chalk and clay-with-flints
hill which forms part of the Sussex Downs. The barrow has a east-west aligned,
oval mound measuring 23m by 16m, which survives to a height of up to 2m. The
mound has been partly disturbed by tree roots, and its eastern end shows signs
of subsequent heightening by soil dumping. The mound is surrounded by a c.2m
wide level berm, flanked by curving ditches from which material used to
construct the barrow was excavated. The ditches have become infilled over the
years, but will survive as buried features c.2m 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

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 700m SSE of Locksash Farm survives well, despite some
disturbance by tree roots and soil dumping, and will contain important
archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the construction of the
monument and the nature of the landscape which formed its original setting.

Source: Historic England

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