Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Round barrow cemetery in Rackham Plantation

A Scheduled Monument in Parham, West Sussex

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Latitude: 50.9218 / 50°55'18"N

Longitude: -0.5122 / 0°30'44"W

OS Eastings: 504668.1686

OS Northings: 114645.411

OS Grid: TQ046146

Mapcode National: GBR GJT.3BM

Mapcode Global: FRA 96TN.VMQ

Entry Name: Round barrow cemetery in Rackham Plantation

Scheduled Date: 24 October 1968

Last Amended: 7 August 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015959

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29285

County: West Sussex

Civil Parish: Parham

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Sussex

Church of England Parish: Parham St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


The monument, which falls into five separate areas, includes a round barrow
cemetery made up of ten bowl barrows situated on a low sandstone hill in the
Sussex Weald 2km to the west of the River Arun. The barrows have bowl-shaped
mounds ranging between about 16m-27m in diameter and up to 2m high, encircled
by ditches from which material used to construct the barrows was excavated.
These have become infilled over the years but will survive as below ground
features up to 2m wide. The barrows have been partly disturbed by forestry
operations and the southern side of the northernmost barrow has been levelled
by a forest track.

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

Round barrow cemeteries date to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They comprise
closely-spaced groups of up to 30 round barrows - rubble or earthen mounds
covering single or multiple burials. Most cemeteries developed over a
considerable period of time, often many centuries, and in some cases acted as
a focus for burials as late as the early medieval period. They exhibit
considerable diversity of burial rite, plan and form, frequently including
several different types of round barrow, occasionally associated with earlier
long barrows. Where large scale investigation has been undertaken around them,
contemporary or later "flat" burials between the barrow mounds have often been
revealed. Round barrow cemeteries occur across most of lowland Britain, with a
marked concentration in Wessex. In some cases, they are clustered around other
important contemporary monuments such as henges. Often occupying prominent
locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape, whilst
their diversity and their longevity as a monument type provide important
information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst early
prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period
and a substantial proportion of surviving or partly-surviving examples are
considered worthy of protection.

Bowl barrows are the most numerous form of round barrow, constructed as
bowl-shaped mounds, sometimes ditched, covering single or multiple burials.
Often superficially similar, although differing widely in size, they exhibit
regional variations in form and a diversity of burial practices.
The round barrow cemetery in Rackham Plantation survives well, despite some
subsequent disturbance by forestry operations, and will retain important
archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the construction
and original use of the monument.

Source: Historic England

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