Three round barrows near Loose Plantations, 765m ESE of Bopeep Farm.
Reasons for Designation
Round barrows 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 mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus of 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 examples recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring across most of Britain, including the Wessex area where it is often possible to classify them more closely, for example as bowl or bell barrows. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation in 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 protection.
Despite disturbance by partial excavation and agricultural activity, the three round barrows near Loose Plantations survive comparatively well as slight earthworks and buried archaeological remains. They will contain below-ground archaeological and environmental information relating to the mounds and the landscape in which they were constructed. Their close association with broadly contemporary and later, early medieval funerary monuments along the prominent escarpment, provides evidence for the continuing importance of this area of chalk downland for burial and ceremonial practices over a period of around 3000 years. The ridge-top location illustrates well the significant role of topography in Bronze Age ritual activity.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 26 February 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
The monument includes three round barrows situated on the south-east slope of a ridge forming the steep escarpment at the northern edge of the South Downs, between Lewes and Eastbourne. The South Downs Way passes just to the south of the barrows. The barrows are aligned north-west to south-east in a linear formation along the ridge. They have all been reduced in height by agricultural activity and survive as slight earthworks and buried archaeological remains. The barrow to the north-west has been largely levelled but was recorded in 1983 as a roughly circular-shaped mound about 12m in diameter and 0.8m high. It now survives as buried remains. The barrow in the centre of the alignment has also been levelled but was, in 1983, a mound about 14m in diameter and 0.6m high. Both barrows are recorded as displaying evidence of disturbance at the top of the mounds in the past; indicative of having been opened or partially excavated. About 145m to the south-east is the largest barrow, which survives as a visible, broadly circular-shaped mound about 15m in diameter and 0.7m high.