Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Disc barrow on Litcham Common, 250m south west of Bridge Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Litcham, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.7184 / 52°43'6"N

Longitude: 0.7961 / 0°47'45"E

OS Eastings: 588946.391323

OS Northings: 317082.425152

OS Grid: TF889170

Mapcode National: GBR R8M.J35

Mapcode Global: WHKQK.6XBW

Entry Name: Disc barrow on Litcham Common, 250m south west of Bridge Farm

Scheduled Date: 24 February 2004

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021132

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35077

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: Litcham

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Litcham with Kempston

Church of England Diocese: Norwich


The monument includes the remains of a disc barrow located on fairly flat
ground on Litcham Common, 250m south west of Bridge Farm, and situated on
former heathland in the Good Sands upland region of north west Norfolk.

The barrow is visible as a circular, flat platform, measuring about 30m in
diameter, encircled by a ditch. A slightly raised sub-circular mound,
approximately 3m in diameter and standing up to 0.15m in height, is
situated slightly off-centre on the platform. The partly infilled ditch is
marked by a hollow 3m in width and up to 0.2m deep with an inner bank,
standing up to 0.10m high, visible alongside the northern portion of the
ditch for a distance of 7m.

The telegraph pole is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
beneath it is included.

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

Disc barrows, the most fragile type of round barrow, are funerary monuments of
the Early Bronze Age, with most examples dating to the period 1400-1200 BC.
They occur either in isolation or in barrow cemeteries (closely-spaced groups
of round barrows). Disc barrows were constructed as a circular or oval area of
level ground defined by a bank and internal ditch and containing one or more
centrally or eccentrically located small, low mounds covering burials, usually
in pits. The burials, normally cremations, are frequently accompanied by
pottery vessels, tools and personal ornaments. It has been suggested that disc
barrows were normally used for the burial of women, although this remains
unproven. However, it is likely that the individuals buried were of high
status. Disc barrows are rare nationally, with about 250 known examples, most
of which are in Wessex. Their richness in terms of grave goods provides
important evidence for chronological and cultural links amongst prehistoric
communities over a wide area of southern England as well as providing an
insight into their beliefs and social organisation. As a particularly rare and
fragile form of round barrow, all identified disc barrows would normally be
considered to be of national importance.

The disc barrow on Litcham Common, 250m south west of Bridge Farm, survives
well as a series of earthwork and buried remains. The monument will preserve
archaeological information concerning the construction and date of the
barrow. Evidence for the local environment at the time of construction will
be contained in buried soils beneath the mound and bank and also in the
ditch fill. This disc barrow is an example of a class of monument which is
rare in Norfolk. It is of unusual form, in that it includes an inner bank.
It will contribute to an understanding of the character and development of
the prehistoric landscape.

Source: Historic England

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