Part of Plumpton Plain round barrow cemetery and an Anglo-Saxon barrow field south east of Warningore Bostall


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

East Sussex
Lewes (District Authority)
East Chiltington
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
TQ 37075 12538

Reasons for Designation

Round barrow cemeteries date to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They comprise closely-spaced groups of up to 30 round barrows - rubble or earthen mounds covering single or multiple burials. Most cemeteries developed over a considerable period of time, often many centuries, and in some cases acted as a focus for burials as late as the early medieval period. They exhibit considerable diversity of burial rite, plan and form, frequently including several different types of round barrow, occasionally associated with earlier long barrows. Where large scale investigation has been undertaken around them, contemporary or later "flat" burials between the barrow mounds have often been revealed. Round barrow cemeteries occur across most of lowland Britain, with a marked concentration in Wessex. In some cases, they are clustered around other important contemporary monuments such as henges. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape, whilst their diversity and their longevity as a monument type provide important information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving or partly-surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Saucer barrows are one of the rarest recognised forms of round barrow, with about 60 known examples nationally. They take the form of a circular area of level ground defined by a bank and internal ditch and largely occupied by a single low, squat mound. Of Early Bronze Age date, most examples were constructed between 1800 and 1200 BC. Bowl barrows are the most numerous form of round barrow and date from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age. Most examples were constructed in the period 2400-1500 BC. They occur across most of lowland Britain and, although superficially similar in appearance, exhibit regional variations of form and a diversity of burial practices. Barrow fields are groups of between 5 and 300 small round mounds constructed over burials of early medieval date. Only around 40 examples are known nationally. Most barrow fields date to the pagan Anglo-Saxon period between AD 500 and 700, with the majority located in south east England, especially Sussex and Kent. Like Bronze Age barrow cemeteries, Anglo-Saxon barrow fields are sometimes associated with `flat' graves between or around the barrows, or on the edge of the barrow field. Despite evidence of partial excavation, the barrows of Plumpton Plain round barrow cemetery and the Anglo-Saxon barrow field south east of Warningore Bostall survive in good condition and will contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed.


The monument includes a pair of saucer barrows and four bowl barrows, forming the eastern end of a Bronze Age linear round barrow cemetery, and an Anglo-Saxon barrow field including five small, bowl-shaped grave mounds. The linear barrow cemetery runs from east to west along a ridge of the Sussex Downs. The Anglo-Saxon grave mounds, constructed many centuries after the linear barrow cemetery, are clustered around the larger, earlier barrows. The two saucer barrows are situated immediately adjacent to each other and have circular mounds 7m in diameter and 0.6m high. A hollow in the centre of each mound suggests that the barrows may have been partially excavated. Surrounding the mounds are shallow ditches which are in turn encircled by residual low banks of a maximum height of 0.15m. The form of each of these barrows resembles an upturned saucer.

Three of the Bronze Age bowl barrows have circular mounds between 6m and 9m in diameter and c.0.5m high. Each has a central hollow indicating partial excavation. The mounds are surrounded by ditches from which material used in their construction was excavated. Although these are no longer visible at ground level, having become infilled over the years, they survive as buried features c.2m wide. The most westerly bowl barrow has been partly damaged by the deep groove of Warningore Bostall, an old Downland track that crosses the ridge on the western edge of the barrow. The fourth bowl barrow is almost egg- shaped, measuring 7m by 6m and 0.5m high, orientated north east to south west. This barrow also has a central hollow, indicating some possible excavation, and a buried quarry ditch c.1.5m wide.

The Anglo-Saxon graves have low, circular earthen mounds between 4m and 6m in diameter and c.0.3m high. Most show signs of partial excavation in the form of slight central hollows, and have buried quarry ditches c.1m wide.

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


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Sussex Archaeological Collections' in Sussex Barrows, , Vol. 75, (1934), 258
Ordnance Survey, TQ 31 SE 9, (1972)


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

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