Portal dolmen 400m south east of Burnt Hill

Overview

Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
1008404
Date first listed:
06-Aug-1973
Date of most recent amendment:
03-Feb-1995

Map

Ordnance survey map of Portal dolmen 400m south east of Burnt Hill
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1008404 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 23-Jul-2019 at 18:42:50.

Location

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

County:
Oxfordshire
District:
West Oxfordshire (District Authority)
Parish:
Chastleton
County:
Warwickshire
District:
Stratford-on-Avon (District Authority)
Parish:
Little Compton
National Grid Reference:
SP 26663 28656

Reasons for Designation

Portal dolmens are funerary and ceremonial monuments of the Early and Middle Neolithic period, the dated examples showing construction in the period 3500- 2600 BC. As burial monuments of Britain's early farming communities, they are among the oldest visible field monuments to survive in the present landscape. Where sufficiently well-preserved, they comprise a small closed rectangular chamber built from large stone slabs, with free-standing stones flanking the frontal slab of the chamber. A capstone, often massive, covers the chamber, and some examples show traces of a low cairn or platform around the chamber. Some sites have traces of a kerb around the cairn and certain sites show a forecourt area, edged by a facade of upright stones in a few examples. Little is yet known about the form of the primary burial rites. At the few excavated sites, pits and postholes have been recorded within and in front of the chamber, containing charcoal and cremated bone; some chamber contents of soil and stones may be original blocking deposits. Many portal dolmens were re-used for urned cremations, especially during the Middle Bronze Age. Only about 20 portal dolmens are known nationally, concentrated in west Penwith, Cornwall, and in the north-west Oxfordshire Cotswolds, with a scatter between these. As one of the few surviving field monument types of the Neolithic period, and due to their rarity, considerable age and longevity of construction and use, all portal dolmens are considered to be nationally important.

The portal dolmen 400m south east of Burnt Hill survives well despite later quarrying in the vicinity of the site. Recent work has demonstrated that it will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, the landscape in which it was built and its possible reuse in later periods. The monument is also situated in close proximity to a Neolithic long barrow, the type of funerary monument which replaced portal dolmens.

Details

The monument includes a Neolithic portal dolmen situated on the Oxfordshire and Warwickshire county boundary 400m south east of Burnt Hill. The site lies on a gentle south east facing slope at the north east corner of a small wood. The portal dolmen has one large upright and one adjacent inclined stone, together with a number of smaller stones on the northern side of a roughly square depression which measures 3m across and 0.2m deep. The upright limestone block measures 1.54m long, 0.72m thick and stands 0.94m high above the present ground level. The inclined stone immediately to the east measures 1m long, c.1m wide and 0.5m thick. Surrounding the central depression is a circular bank of small stones which measures c.10m in overall diameter. The bank is 2m wide and stands 0.4m high to the south. To the north it is partially obscured by a more recent wall which runs around the north and west sides of the monument. However, a spread of small stones in the adjacent ploughed field, which slopes away from the monument, stands up to 0.5m high and indicates the disturbed bank on this side. During field observations in 1971 two small fragments of human skull, two fragments of long bones, three struck flints, including a retouched flake, and two fragments of coarse pottery were found in leaf litter within the central depression. The monument lies 160m north east of a Neolithic long barrow, situated on the same hill slope. Excluded from the scheduling is the drystone wall which runs across the dolmen's northern and western sides, although the ground beneath this wall is included.

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.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number:
21793
Legacy System:
RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Benson, D, Fasham, P, 'Volume 5-6 1972' in Field Work at Chastleton, , Vol. XXXVII, (1972), pp 1-9
Other
OCN 158, ARMSTRONG, L. (FMW), Site No. 24928, (1988)
OCN 158, English Heritage , Stone circle S.E. of Burnt Hill, (1976)
OCN 159, ENGLISH HERITAGE, Bronze Age stone circle SSE of Burnt Hill, (1976)
PRN 1470, C.A.O., Tumulus? remains of., (1976)
PRN 2626, C.A.O., Cairn? Round barrow, (1976)
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:10000 Series Source Date: 1981 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Quater sheet SP 22 NE

Legal

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

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].