Arthur's Stone Neolithic burial chamber, 450m south west of Mount Pleasant
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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This copy shows the entry on 18-Sep-2020 at 09:04:25.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- County of Herefordshire (Unitary Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- SO 31887 43118
Reasons for Designation
Chambered tombs are funerary monuments constructed and used during the Early
and Middle Neolithic periods (3400-2400 BC). They comprise linear mounds of
stone covering one or more stone-lined burial chambers. With other types of
long barrow they form the burial places of Britain's early farming communities
and, as such, are amongst the oldest field monuments surviving visibly within
the present landscape. Where investigated, chambered tombs appear to have been
used for communal burial, often with only parts of the human remains having
been selected for interment. The number of burials placed within the tombs
suggests they were used over a considerable period of time and that they were
important ritual sites for local communities. Some 300 chambered tombs are
recorded in England. As one of the few types of Neolithic structure to survive
as upstanding monuments, and due to their rarity, their considerable age and
longevity as a monument type, all chambered tombs are considered to be
Despite being disturbed and the loss of most of the covering mound, Arthur's Stone chambered tomb is an impressive monument and a good example of a rare class of site. It stands alongside a public road with correspondingly good access and is therefore a valuable educational resource. Archaeological material will survive in the remaining parts of the mound and environmental evidence relating to the landscape in which the monument was built will survive sealed beneath it. The monument is one of a small number of Neolithic monuments in Hereford and Worcester and so it represents an important resource for the study of this early period in this region.
The monument known as Arthur's Stone includes the remains of a Neolithic chambered tomb situated above a south west facing slope overlooking the valley of the River Dore. Most of the earthen mound, which would have originally covered the tomb, has been removed or has eroded away, exposing the stone infrastructure at its centre. This includes a burial chamber or cromlech and an entrance passage. The chamber is composed of nine orthostats standing up to 1.1m high, five of which support a capstone of massive proportions. This is now broken approximately midway along its length but would originally have measured 5.9m long by 3.7m wide at its widest point and it is up to 0.6m thick. With the limited resources available to the Neolithic people who constructed the tomb, raising this roof stone would have been a considerable feat requiring the organised effort of the whole community. The chamber is approached by an exposed, stone lined, entrance passage from the north west edge of the barrow. This is formed by nine stones arranged to form a linear passage 0.8m wide. It runs for 5m approximately east to west before turning at right angles to the south for 2.9m. This section is 1.2m wide with a constriction 1m from the turn, possibly representing the position of a deliberate blocking. Some 3m to the south east of the chamber, still within the area originally covered by the mound, are two upright stone slabs. One is 1.2m high by 1.7m wide, the second 0.8m high by 1m wide. A `trilithon' (an arrangement of two upright stones supporting a third stone at either end to form a lintel) was recorded in the outer circle in 1900 when repair work, `following a dislodgement' was carried out to replace a leaning stone in an upright position. This seems to be a reference to these two south eastern slabs which may therefore represent the position of the trilithon. During the work carried out at this time stone hammers, heavy mauls and stone chips were found.
Traces of the mound which once covered the stones can be recognised surrounding the chamber. In its present form it is roughly oval in plan, lies on a roughly east to west orientation, and measures c.22m WNW to ESE by 19m transversely. There are exposed kerb stones, apparently undisturbed, around the edge of the mound in its south east quarter. Another large stone is just visible in the ditch across the road from the chamber, apparently lying on its side, c.3m north west of the monument. Known locally as `Arthur's Stone', its function and the nature of its relationship to the burial chamber are uncertain, and it is therefore excluded from the scheduling. The surrounding protection fence, information boards and a footpath guide post within the monument constraint area are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features 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.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
- Legacy System:
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