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
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.
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.