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Anglo-Saxon cemetery and associated remains at Monkton, 550m north of Walters Hall Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Monkton, Kent

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.3427 / 51°20'33"N

Longitude: 1.2882 / 1°17'17"E

OS Eastings: 629100.530313

OS Northings: 165533.242354

OS Grid: TR291655

Mapcode National: GBR VYX.NJC

Mapcode Global: VHLGC.8JV1

Entry Name: Anglo-Saxon cemetery and associated remains at Monkton, 550m north of Walters Hall Farm

Scheduled Date: 18 January 1977

Last Amended: 4 February 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018880

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31409

County: Kent

Civil Parish: Monkton

Built-Up Area: Monkton

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent

Details

The monument includes an Anglo-Saxon inhumation cemetery and traces of a later
medieval settlement situated on the southern slope of a low chalk ridge around
0.5km north of the village of Monkton, on the Isle of Thanet. Until around the
14th century Monkton lay on the north eastern shore of the Wantsum Channel, a
now silted-up estuarine waterway which separated Thanet from the Kent
mainland.

The Anglo-Saxon cemetery survives in the form of below ground remains. It lies
immediately south of the modern A253 road, which follows the course of
Dunstrete, an important east-west aligned ancient routeway across Thanet.
Investigations carried out during gas pipeline laying just to the south of,
and parallel to, the modern road in 1971 and 1982 revealed 34 mainly east-west
aligned graves extending across the monument. The burials were accompanied by
a rich assemblage of grave goods, or artefacts deliberately buried with the
bodies. The grave goods included weapons, jewellery, glassware and other
personal items, and the analysis of these has indicated that the cemetery was
in use mainly during the sixth and seventh centuries AD. Evidence revealed by
the investigations suggested that some of the later, seventh century graves
were originally covered with grave mounds, subsequently levelled by ploughing.
Crop marks visible on aerial photographs indicate three circular, ditched
graves and an associated irregular enclosure near the northern edge of the
monument. One grave was found to retain evidence for a wooden structure,
thought to have supported a bier or coffin. Further graves and associated
below ground archaeological remains can be expected to survive in the areas
between and around the known burials and crop marks.

An oval pit and a number of associated ditches discovered during the pipeline
operations in the north western corner of the monument have been interpreted
as traces of a later medieval settlement. Analysis of pottery sherds found in
the pit suggests that the settlement dates to the years around AD 1080-1150.
The monument has been partly disturbed by the pipeline laying and modern
ploughing.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Beginning in the fifth century AD, there is evidence from distinctive burials
and cemeteries, new settlements, and new forms of pottery and metalwork, of
the immigration into Britain of settlers from northern Europe, bringing with
them new religious beliefs. The Roman towns appear to have gone into rapid
decline and the old rural settlement pattern to have been disrupted. Although
some Roman settlements and cemeteries continued in use, the native Britons
rapidly adopted many of the cultural practices of the new settlers and it soon
becomes difficult to distinguish them in the archaeological record. So-called
Anglo-Saxon cemeteries are dated to the early Anglo-Saxon period, from the
fifth to the seventh centuries AD. With the conversion to Christianity during
the late sixth and seventh centuries AD, these pagan cemeteries appear to have
been abandoned in favour of new sites, some of which have continued in use up
to the present day. Burial practices included both inhumation and cremation.
Anglo-Saxon inhumation cemeteries consist predominantly of inhumation burials
which were placed in rectangular pits in the ground, occasionally within
coffins. The bodies were normally accompanied by a range of grave goods,
including jewellery and weaponry. The cemeteries vary in size, the largest
containing several hundred burials. Around 1000 inhumation cemeteries have
been recorded in England. They represent one of our principal sources of
archaeological evidence about the Early Anglo-Saxon 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 Anglo-Saxon inhumation cemetery at Monkton survives well, despite some
subsequent disturbance, in close association with traces of later medieval
occupation. Part excavation has shown that it contains important
archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the original use of the
monument. Unusually, the cemetery retains evidence of original wooden
structures within the graves. The Monkton cemetery belongs to a group of
similar, broadly contemporary Anglo-Saxon cemeteries which cluster in eastern
Kent, distinguished by their rich grave goods with continental, Jutish
associations. This clustering illustrates the dense Early Anglo-Saxon
settlement of this area. The close association between the cemetery and the
traces of Norman occupation will provide evidence for the as yet little
understood relationship between early and later medieval settlement and burial
practices.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Scott, C, The Thanet Gas Pipeline
Chadwick Hawkes, S, Hogarth, A, 'Archaeologia Cantiana' in The Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Monkton, Thanet 1972, , Vol. 89, (1974), 49-89

Source: Historic England

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