Asthall Barrow: an Anglo-Saxon burial mound 100m SSW of Barrow Farm


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 Oxfordshire (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SP 28992 10105

Reasons for Designation

A hlaew is a burial monument of Anglo-Saxon or Viking date and comprising a hemispherical mound of earth and redeposited bedrock constructed over a primary burial or burials. These were usually inhumations, buried in a grave cut into the subsoil beneath the mound, but cremations placed on the old ground surface beneath the mound have also been found. Hlaews may occur in pairs or in small groups; a few have accompanying flat graves. Constructed during the pagan Saxon and Viking periods for individuals of high rank, they served as visible and ostentatious markers of their social position. Some were associated with territorial claims and appear to have been specifically located to mark boundaries. They often contain objects which give information on the range of technological skill and trading contacts of the period. Only between 50 and 60 hlaews have been positively identified in England. As a rare monument class all positively identified examples are considered worthy of preservation.

The Asthall Barrow is one of the best preserved examples of a type of burial mound of which there are about ten examples in West Oxfordshire. Despite partial excavation and recent animal burrowing it will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction and the landscape in which it was built. The survival of part of its original drystone retaining wall is an unusual feature.


The monument includes an Anglo-Saxon hlaew or burial mound situated on a north-facing slope, 100m south of Barrow Farm. The barrow mound was constructed within a drystone wall, 0.5m thick and up to 1.5m high, which has since been repaired. The mound, including its revetment wall, measures 17m in diameter and stands up to 2m high. The barrow was partially excavated by G S Bowles in 1923 and found to contain Saxon pottery and a primary cremation burial. The mound was found to have been constructed at ground level with material for its construction brought to the site. There was no evidence for an associated quarry ditch. The drystone wall surrounding the mound is believed to contain original stonework and is included in the scheduling.

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.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Leeds, E T, 'Antiquity' in Asthal Saxon Barrow, , Vol. Vol. IV, (1924)
PRN 1492, C.A.O., Asthal Barrow, (1985)
Record 17, Mudd, A, Asthall Barrow, Asthall, (1984)


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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