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Seven sections of Stane Street Roman road between Eartham and Bignor, a prehistoric linear boundary and two bowl barrows

A Scheduled Monument in Slindon, West Sussex

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Latitude: 50.8993 / 50°53'57"N

Longitude: -0.6375 / 0°38'15"W

OS Eastings: 495907.465786

OS Northings: 111973.493037

OS Grid: SU959119

Mapcode National: GBR FHJ.FNM

Mapcode Global: FRA 96KQ.MGD

Entry Name: Seven sections of Stane Street Roman road between Eartham and Bignor, a prehistoric linear boundary and two bowl barrows

Scheduled Date: 28 September 1948

Last Amended: 7 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016621

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32246

County: West Sussex

Civil Parish: Slindon

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Sussex

Church of England Parish: Slindon St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


The monument, which falls into eight separate areas of protection, includes
some of the best preserved stretches of Stane Street, the Roman road between
Eartham and Bignor, in addition to a prehistoric linear boundary and two
earlier, prehistoric bowl barrows.
The major south west-north east aligned Roman road linked the regional capital
of Chichester to London. It has a central agger, or raised cambered trackway,
up to about 10m wide and 1.8m high. This has been partly disturbed by later
tracks and other past modern activities. The agger is flanked on each side by
a ditch from which material used in its construction was excavated. This has
become partly infilled over the years, but survives in places as a depression
up to around 7m wide and 0.8m deep. The agger and flanking ditches along some
sections of the road, particularly across high ground, are separated by a
berm, an area of level ground, up to about 8m wide. Part excavation in 1913
and 1937 demonstrated that the surface of the berms, as well as that of the
agger, was metalled. Most of the remainder of the road beyond the extent of
the scheduling now survives as a levelled alignment.
Around 150m north of Gumber Corner, the Roman road cuts through an earlier,
prehistoric linear boundary. This NNW-SSE aligned, 500m long earthwork runs
down the southern slopes of a chalk hill. The boundary has a ditch, around 4m
wide and 0.9m deep, flanked on each side by a bank up to about 6m wide and
0.3m high. Finds recovered during part excavation of the earthwork in 1915
included fragments of a Bronze Age funerary urn and later, Roman pottery. The
bank has been partly disturbed by past modern ploughing, by the construction
of Stane Street and more recent tracks. At its southern end, the earthwork
ends abruptly, immediately north of a track at Gumber Corner. It may have
originally continued south of the track, along the line of a modern footpath,
although no upstanding earthworks survive here. This area is therefore not
included in the scheduling. The northern end of the earthwork curves to the
east around the edge of the two prehistoric barrows, forming a shepherd's
crook-shaped terminal.
The two bowl barrows are situated to the north east and south west of a later,
modern track. The south western barrow has a mound about 12m in diameter and
1m high. The second barrow, situated around 35m to the north east, has a mound
about 18m in diameter and 1m high. Each mound has a slight central hollow,
indicating antiquarian excavation probably in the 18th or early 19th
centuries. Records suggest that cremated bone and fragments of funerary urns
were recovered from the barrows during these investigations. The mound of each
barrow is surrounded by a ditch from which material used to construct the
barrow was excavated. The ditches have become partly infilled over the years,
but the north eastern barrow ditch is visible as a slight depression around 2m
wide and 0.2m deep. The eastern side of the south western barrow ditch has
been disturbed by the construction of the adjacent track. The ground between
the barrows has also been levelled and significantly disturbed by the track
and this area is not therefore included in the scheduling.
All modern waymarker posts, gates, fences and modern surfaces of more recent
tracks which cross the monument are excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath them is included.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Roman roads were artificially made-up routes introduced to Britain by the
Roman army from c.AD 43. They facilitated both the conquest of the province
and its subsequent administration. Their main purpose was to serve the Cursus
Publicus, or Imperial mail service. Express messengers could travel up to 150
miles per day on the network of Roman roads throughout Britain and Europe,
changing horses at wayside 'mutationes' (posting stations set every 8 miles on
major roads) and stopping overnight at 'mansiones' (rest houses located every
20-25 miles). In addition, throughout the Roman period and later, Roman roads
acted as commercial routes and became foci for settlement and industry.
Mausolea were sometimes built flanking roads during the Roman period while, in
the Anglian and medieval periods, Roman roads often served as property
boundaries. Although a number of roads fell out of use soon after the
withdrawal of Rome from the province in the fifth century AD, many have
continued in use down to the present day and are consequently sealed beneath
modern roads.
On the basis of construction technique, two main types of Roman road are
distinguishable. The first has widely spaced boundary ditches and a broad
elaborate agger comprising several layers of graded materials. The second
usually has drainage ditches and a narrow simple agger of two or three
successive layers. In addition to ditches and construction pits flanking the
sides of the road, features of Roman roads can include central stone ribs,
kerbs and culverts, not all of which will necessarily be contemporary with the
original construction of the road. With the exception of the extreme south-
west of the country, Roman roads are widely distributed throughout England and
extend into Wales and lowland Scotland. They are highly representative of the
period of Roman administration and provide important evidence of Roman civil
engineering skills as well as the pattern of Roman conquest and settlement. A
high proportion of examples exhibiting good survival are considered to be
worthy of protection.

Linear boundaries are substantial earthwork features comprising single or
multiple ditches and banks which may extend over distances varying between
less than 1km to over 10km. They survive as earthworks or as linear features
visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs or as a combination of both. The
evidence of excavation and study of associated monuments demonstrate that
their construction spans the millenium from the Middle Bronze Age, although
they may have been reused later. The scale of many linear boundaries has been
taken to indicate that they were constructed by large social groups and were
used to mark important boundaries in the landscape; their impressive scale
displaying the corporate prestige of their builders. They would have been
powerful symbols, often with religious associations, used to define and order
the territorial holdings of those groups who constructed them. Linear
earthworks are of considerable importance for the analysis of settlement and
land use in the Bronze Age; all well preserved examples will normally merit
statutory protection.
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

The seven sections of Stane Street Roman road, associated linear boundary and
two bowl barrows situated between Eartham and Bignor survive well and have
been shown by part excavation to contain archaeological remains relating to
their construction and original use. The monument belongs to a group of
prehistoric and Romano-British monuments situated on this part of the Sussex
Downs, and the close association between the Roman road and earlier earthworks
provides evidence for developments in the use of the Downs during the later
prehistoric and Roman periods.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Margary, I D, Roman Ways in the Weald, (1968)
Winbolt, S E, With a spade on Stane Street, (1936)
Curwen, E, 'The Sussex Archaeological Collections' in On Stane Street in its passage over the South Downs, , Vol. 57, (1915), 138
Curwen, E, E C, , 'The Sussex Archaeological Collections' in Covered Ways on the Sussex Downs, , Vol. 59, (1918), 42-75
Grinsell, L V, 'Sussex Archaeological Collections' in Sussex in the Bronze Age, , Vol. 72, (1931), 63
Lowther, A W G, 'The Sussex Archaeological Collections' in A section through Stane Street near Chichester, Sussex, , Vol. 82, (1942), 110-114
Margary, D, 'Antiquaries Journal' in Roman Roads With Small Side Ditches, , Vol. 19, (1939)

Source: Historic England

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