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Highdown Hill Camp: A Ram's Hill type enclosure, an Anglo-Saxon cemetery and associated remains

A Scheduled Monument in Northbrook, West Sussex

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.8283 / 50°49'41"N

Longitude: -0.4498 / 0°26'59"W

OS Eastings: 509272.466695

OS Northings: 104343.695094

OS Grid: TQ092043

Mapcode National: GBR GKW.TB7

Mapcode Global: FRA 96YX.2LK

Entry Name: Highdown Hill Camp: A Ram's Hill type enclosure, an Anglo-Saxon cemetery and associated remains

Scheduled Date: 9 September 1930

Last Amended: 12 June 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015877

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29268

County: West Sussex

Electoral Ward/Division: Northbrook

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Sussex

Church of England Parish: Ferring St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Chichester

Details

The monument includes a Ram's Hill type enclosure, a later, Anglo-Saxon
mixed-rite cemetery and associated remains, including a medieval post mill,
situated on an isolated chalk hill which rises above the West Sussex coastal
plain c.4km south of the main ridge of the Sussex Downs.
The Ram's Hill type enclosure, which dates to the Bronze Age (2000-700 BC), is
a roughly east-west aligned, raised sub-oval area of c.1ha, the southern part
of which is bounded by a bank up to c.0.5m high and c.8m wide, surrounded by a
c.10m wide ditch. To the north, where the ground falls away steeply, the
defences survive as a simple scarp. The southern ramparts are flanked by a
second, smaller bank, which has been interpreted as an original feature,
although its profile has been altered by long term ploughing. Arable
cultivation has also partly disturbed the western ramparts. Access to the
interior was by way of a c.8m wide gateway through the southern ramparts.
Investigations of the enclosure during the 19th and 20th centuries indicated
that its defences were remodelled at least once during the later prehistoric
period. Traces of contemporary buildings and substantial amounts of pottery
fragments and other artefacts were also revealed within the defended area,
providing evidence for intensive use during the Middle and Late Bronze Age.
Fragments of Romano-British pottery sherds found within the enclosure suggest
that it was also reused after the Roman invasion of AD 43.
The Anglo-Saxon cemetery, which includes both cremation and inhumation
burials, is centred within the earlier enclosure. Over 150 burials have been
discovered, and analysis of the accompanying grave goods, or artefacts
deposited with the bodies, has indicated that the cemetery was in use during
the fifth and sixth centuries AD. Buried foundations of contemporary
structures, interpreted as buildings associated with the cemetery, have been
found within the south eastern sector of the monument.
The later medieval post mill survives as a circular mound c.14m in diameter
and up to c.0.5m high, and is sited in the south western sector of the earlier
enclosure. Historical records and cartographic evidence suggest that a
windmill was first constructed on the hill during the late 12th century. The
post mill fell into disuse and was dismantled during the mid-19th century.
During World War II the monument was used as the site of a now demolished
radar station, the construction of which partly disturbed the interior and
ramparts of the earlier enclosure. Nineteenth century tree planting has also
caused some damage to the central part of the monument. The eastern edge of
the enclosure was destroyed by an 18th or 19th century chalk extraction pit,
and this area is therefore not included in the scheduling.
The modern Ordnance Survey trig pillar is excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath it is included.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Ram's Hill type enclosures were constructed on hilltops in southern England
throughout the Bronze Age (2000-700 BC). They usually survive as an oval area
of up to c.5ha defended by a single bank and external ditch interrupted by
simple causewayed entrances. Traces of circular houses have been found within
the interiors, and associated field systems have been identified nearby; the
enclosures are therefore interpreted as the sites of domestic settlement. Some
examples, such as the earliest phase of the enclosure on Ram's Hill itself,
may have been occupied on a temporary seasonal basis, and evidence for
episodes of feasting on a social or ceremonial scale has been found. In
several cases, investigations have provided evidence for the remodelling and
reuse of the enclosures during the later prehistoric and Roman periods.
Sparsely distributed throughout central southern England, Ram's Hill type
enclosures are one of very few classes of monument dating to the Early and
Middle Bronze Age. They are a rare monument type; less than 10 have been
positively identified. All examples with surviving remains are therefore
considered to be of national importance.

Anglo-Saxon cemeteries date to the early medieval period, from the fifth to
seventh centuries AD. Associated with the immigration into Britain of settlers
from northern Europe, these pagan cemeteries can include both inhumation,
involving the placing of burials in rectangular graves, and cremation, where
burnt remains were placed in containers which were then buried in small pits
in the ground. In each type of burial the human remains might be accompanied
by those of animals and by grave goods, including jewellery and weapons.
Cemeteries containing up to several thousand burials are known, and individual
examples may have been in use for up to 300 years. Anglo-Saxon cemeteries
represent one of our principal sources of archaeological evidence about the
early medieval period, providing information on population, social structure
and ideology. All surviving examples, other than those which have been heavily
disturbed, are considered worthy of protection.
The Ram's Hill type enclosure and Anglo-Saxon cemetery on Highdown Hill
survive well, as will buried evidence for the World War II radar
installations. Investigations have shown that the monument retains important
archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its use over a period of
at least three thousand years.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Wilson, A E, 'Sussex Archaeological Collections' in Report On The Excavations on Highdown Hill, Sussex, August 1939, , Vol. 81, (1940), 173-203
Wilson, A E, 'Sussex Archaeological Collections' in Excavations on Highdown Hill, 1947, , Vol. 89, (1950), 163-178
Other
Gardiner, M, Excavations at Highdown Hill, 1988, 1996, unpublished excavation report

Source: Historic England

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