Two bowl barrows on Bow Hill forming part of The Devil's Humps round barrow cemetery


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.

West Sussex
Chichester (District Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SU 82079 11161

Reasons for Designation

Beneficial land use over the years has enabled Bow Hill and Kingley Vale to support one of the most diverse and well-preserved areas of chalk downland archaeological remains in south eastern England. These remains are considered to be of particular significance because they include types of monument, dating from the preshistoric and Roman periods, more often found in Wessex and south western Britain. The well-preserved and often visible relationship between trackways, settlement sites, land boundaries, stock enclosures, flint mines, ceremonial and funerary monuments in the area gives significant insight into successive changes in the pattern of land use over time. 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 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. Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, date from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age and occur across most of lowland Britain. Often superficially similar, although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form and a diversity of burial practices. Despite evidence of partial excavation, the two bowl barrows on Bow Hill survive well and contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. The barrows, along with two bell barrows and two pond barrows to the south west, form part of a linear round barrow cemetery, partly enclosed by a series of linear earthworks constructed across the three limbs of the Y-shaped hill. These monuments are broadly contemporary and their close association will therefore provide evidence for the relationship between land division and funerary practice during the period of their construction and use.


The monument includes two bowl barrows forming part of a linear round barrow cemetery running from south west to north east along a ridge of the Sussex Downs. The south western bowl barrow has a central mound 24m in diameter and 2.5m high, surrounded by a ditch from which material used to construct the barrow was excavated. This has become partly infilled over the years but survives as a marked depression 5m wide and 0.8m deep. Situated 20m to the north east, the second barrow has a central mound 28m in diameter and 3m high and a surrounding, partially infilled ditch 4.5m wide and up to 0.6m deep. Both barrow mounds have central hollows, the result of partial excavation in 1853. Together with two bell barrows c.105m to the south west, the barrows are known as The Devil's Humps or Kings Graves.

MAP EXTRACT 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.


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

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Books and journals
Franks, AW, 'Sussex Archaeological Collections' in Sussex Archaeological Collections, , Vol. 7, (1854), 51-52
Grinsell, L V, 'Sussex Archaeological Collections' in Sussex Barrows, , Vol. 75, (1934), 247


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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