Great Mongeham Anglo-Saxon cemetery
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1003124
Date first listed: 14-Dec-1977
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Dover (District Authority)
Parish: Great Mongeham
District: Dover (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: TR 33979 50923, TR 34106 51085
An Anglo-Saxon inhumation cemetery and curvilinear and rectilinear enclosures 250m east of Brimsdale Lodge.
Reasons for Designation
The monument south-west of Great Mongeham includes an Anglo-Saxon inhumation cemetery and curvilinear and rectilinear enclosures. The curvilinear and rectilinear enclosures are thought to be associated with prehistoric and Romano-British management of the landscape, including boundary features and a possible enclosed Iron Age farmstead, which survive as cropmarks. On modern arable sites, where cultivation has taken place, the earthworks of archaeological monuments are sometimes levelled or the ditches in-filled and can instead be identified as crop and soil marks. These occur due to differential crop growth (crop marks) or differences in soil colour (soil marks) as a result of buried archaeological features. Where these have been excavated, they are often shown to contain significant archaeological remains and deposits surviving below the modern ground level. Iron Age enclosed farmsteads are generally represented by curvilinear enclosures containing evidence of a small group of circular domestic buildings and associated agricultural structures. Where excavated, these sites are also found to contain pits or rectangular post-built structures for the storage of grain and other produce, evidence of an organised and efficient farming system.
The curvilinear and rectilinear enclosures south-west of Great Mongeham survive well and will contain archaeological information and environmental evidence relating to the features and the landscape in which they were constructed.
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 south-west of Great Mongeham survives well as buried remains visible as crop marks. The site has not been excavated and holds potential for further archaeological investigation. The Anglo-Saxon cemetery is of particular significance since it is relatively undisturbed and crop marks indicate that numerous inhumation burials will survive intact. These will provide archaeological information and environmental evidence of early medieval burial practice, as well as information regarding the material culture of those buried and the landscape in which the cemetery was constructed.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 17 March 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 an Anglo-Saxon inhumation cemetery and curvilinear and rectilinear enclosures surviving as buried archaeological remains. It is situated on a spur of land, known as Beacon Hill, to the south-west of Great Mongeham.
The inhumation burials are visible as crop marks, forming a group concentrated in an area of about 150m by 150m. These indicate at least 94 inhumation burials, largely orientated north-east to south-west or east to west. Anglo-Saxon objects, presumably grave goods, were reportedly found in association with the cemetery in 1911 and 1913. At the northern limit of the site are three small ring ditches, situated in a group to the south-east of Willow Lane. The ring ditches, about 7m in diameter, are considered to be a group of Anglo-Saxon burials, which may formerly have been covered by burial mounds.
In the immediate vicinity of the Anglo-Saxon inhumation cemetery are crop marks indicating rectilinear boundary enclosures, a possible trackway and curvilinear enclosure. These are delineated by in-filled ditches surviving as buried remains. The trackway is orientated ENE to WSW and is at least 90m long. To the south of the trackway is a curvilinear enclosure, thought to be the remains of an enclosed Iron Age farmstead. It is orientated north-east to south-west and is approximately 63m wide and 89m long. The south-west side appears to be buried beneath, or to have been destroyed by, Sutton Lane. There is a possible entrance, indicated by a break in the ditch, on the north-east side. To the south-west of Sutton Lane are further crop marks of three rectilinear enclosures and other linear features delineated by in-filled ditches. These include a large sub-rectangular enclosure, approximately 110m long and 54m wide with rounded corners. On its north-west side are two small enclosures approximately 33m long and 23m wide. These three enclosures are thought to be boundary features associated with the management of the landscape in the Roman period. There are several concentrations of pits, visible as crop marks, scattered across the site, which may also be associated with past occupation.
The site was recorded as part of the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England (RCHME) Kent Mapping Project carried out in 1986-7. This produced 1:10,000 scale depictions of crop marks identified on oblique and vertical aerial photographs taken across Kent.
Further archaeological remains, such as linear features and ring ditches, survive in the vicinity of this site but are not included because they have not been formally assessed.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: KE 324
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
Kent HER TR35SW31. NMR TR35SW31, TR35SW68, TR35SW69, TR35SW110, TR35SW164. PastScape 468662, 468697, 468698, 468739, 468792
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing