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Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Bennett's Hill

A Scheduled Monument in South Littleton, Worcestershire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.1121 / 52°6'43"N

Longitude: -1.9018 / 1°54'6"W

OS Eastings: 406821.734192

OS Northings: 245977.625835

OS Grid: SP068459

Mapcode National: GBR 3L6.D0X

Mapcode Global: VHB0T.Z5GQ

Entry Name: Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Bennett's Hill

Scheduled Date: 6 October 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020258

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30099

County: Worcestershire

Civil Parish: South Littleton

Built-Up Area: Offenham

Traditional County: Worcestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Worcestershire

Church of England Parish: Offenham

Church of England Diocese: Worcester

Details

The monument includes the known extent of the buried remains of the pagan
Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Bennett's Hill. The monument is located on the crest
of Bennett's Hill 2.5km north east of Evesham, on the eastern edge of the
parish adjacent to the parish boundary.
The remains of three human burials were discovered in 1996 during
archaeological recording. The burials were dated to the early Anglo-Saxon
period by grave goods interred with the bodies. Two of the skeletons were
partially articulated (the bones remaining in their correct positions in
relation to each other) and lay stretched out within rectangular grave cuts,
which were orientated south to north. A further damaged human skeleton was
also recovered. Also discovered were a range of artefacts closely associated
with the burials. These included a number of amber and crystal beads, iron and
copper alloy objects, such as shield bosses, brooches, belt fitments and a
knife. Pottery from the excavations also dated to the early Anglo-Saxon
period. Metal detecting, archaeological survey and finds in the area suggest
that further inhumations extend across the modern field.
The modern post and wire fences are excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath them is included.

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 pagan Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Bennett's Hill survives well, preserving
burials dating from the 5th to 7th century. Examples of such cemeteries are
rare in Worcestershire, with the best known examples entirely removed by
excavation. Partial excavation has shown that both the human remains and
buried artefacts will survive in good condition and can be expected to provide
information about the Anglo-Saxon population in the area, including evidence
for their standard of living, diet and health. In addition, artefacts buried
with the individuals will provide evidence for their ritual and belief systems
as well as providing information about the relative wealth of the inhabitants
and their trading contacts and craft production methods and fashions.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
interim report, Dalwood H, Salvage recording at Bennets Hill Offenham, (1998)

Source: Historic England

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