Ancient Monuments

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A barrow field, a bowl barrow and a dewpond on Bostal Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Alciston, East Sussex

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Latitude: 50.823 / 50°49'22"N

Longitude: 0.1244 / 0°7'28"E

OS Eastings: 549730.862094

OS Northings: 104758.423811

OS Grid: TQ497047

Mapcode National: GBR LS4.89H

Mapcode Global: FRA C64X.Q8V

Entry Name: A barrow field, a bowl barrow and a dewpond on Bostal Hill

Scheduled Date: 30 January 1967

Last Amended: 10 July 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015249

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27042

County: East Sussex

Civil Parish: Alciston

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Sussex

Church of England Parish: Selmeston St Mary with Alciston

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


The monument includes a Bronze Age bowl barrow, a later Anglo-Saxon barrow
field which clusters around the bowl barrow, and a dewpond situated on a ridge
of the Sussex Downs. The bowl barrow is the south easternmost of a linear
group of three round barrows situated along this part of the ridge, which
enjoys panoramic views of the Channel coast to the south and the Weald to the
north. Located towards the centre of the monument, the bowl barrow forms its
most prominent component, having a circular mound with a slightly uneven
surface c.14m in diameter and c.1.2m high. The mound is surrounded by a ditch
from which material used to construct the barrow was excavated. This has
become infilled over the years, but survives as a buried feature c.2m wide.
The bowl barrow is flanked to the north west and south east by the later
barrow field, which is formed by at least seven smaller burial mounds, or
hlaews. To the north west are three roughly circular mounds, each one c.7m in
diameter and c.0.6m high. To the south east are four further, roughly circular
mounds each around 6m in diameter and surviving to a height of c.0.3m. A
further area of hummocky ground lying between the south easternmost mound and
the dewpond may represent the remains of further, partly disturbed mounds.
The dewpond, known as New Pond, dates to the 18th or 19th centuries and lies
c.20m to the south east of the south easternmost mound of the barrow field. It
has a central circular depression, now dry, c.26m in diameter and c.2m deep,
surrounded by a bank c.4m wide and c.0.5m high.

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

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments
dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most
examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as
earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple
burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often
acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Often superficially similar,
although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form
and a diversity of burial practices. There are over 10,000 surviving bowl
barrows recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring
across most of lowland Britain. Often occupying prominent locations, they are
a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable
variation of form and longevity as a monument type provide important
information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early
prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period
and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of

Barrow fields are groups of between five and 300 closely-spaced burial mounds
(or `hlaews'),dating to the early medieval period. The usually circular
mounds, some of which are surrounded by an encircling ditch, were constructed
of earth and rubble and covered one or more inhumation burials. These were
deposited in west-east aligned, rectangular graves cut into the underlying
bedrock. Cremation burials, sometimes deposited in pottery urns, have also
been found. Many burials were furnished with accompanying grave goods,
including jewellery and weapons, and, at two exceptional sites, wooden ships
were discovered within large mounds. Most barrow fields were in use during the
pagan Anglo-Saxon period between the sixth and seventh centuries AD, although
barrows dating to the fifth and eighth centuries AD have also been found. The
distribution of barrow fields is concentrated within south eastern England,
particularly in prominent locations on the Kent and Sussex Downs. However, one
Viking barrow field dating to the late ninth century AD is known in Derbyshire
and the two barrow fields containing known ship burials are located near river
estuaries in Suffolk.
Barrow fields are a rare monument type, with only around 40 examples known
nationally. They provide important and otherwise rare archaeological
information about the social structure, technological development and economic
organisation of the people who constructed and used them. All positively
identified examples with significant surviving remains are considered worthy
of protection.
The bowl barrow on Bostal Hill survives well and will contain archaeological
remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape
in which it was constructed and used. The barrow is part of a linear group of
three, broadly contemporary round barrows, the other two of which are the
subject of separate schedulings. The round barrow group also forms part of a
dispersed round barrow cemetery constructed along the downland ridge during
the Bronze Age, illustrating the importance of the area for funerary practices
during the later prehistoric period.
The later barrow field also survives well and its close association with the
earlier bowl barrow provides evidence for the respect for, and renewal of, an
earlier burial tradition. The 18th/19th century dewpond reflects the
importance of this area for stock grazing during the period of the
agricultural revolution.

Source: Historic England


Source 2, RCHME, TQ 40 SE 21, (1930)

Source: Historic England

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