Bevis's Thumb long barrow, 370m west of Fernbeds Farm

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012179

Date first listed: 13-Apr-1949

Date of most recent amendment: 04-Sep-1991

Map

Ordnance survey map of Bevis's Thumb long barrow, 370m west of Fernbeds Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

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

County: West Sussex

District: Chichester (District Authority)

Parish: Compton

National Park: SOUTH DOWNS

National Grid Reference: SU 78762 15505

Summary

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Long barrows were constructed as earthen or drystone mounds with flanking ditches and acted as funerary monuments during the early Neolithic period (3000 - 2400bc). They represent the burial places of Britain's early farming communities and, as such, are amongst the oldest field monuments surviving visibly in the present landscape. Where investigated, long barrows appear to have been used for communal burial, often with only partial human remains selected for interment. Certain sites provide evidence for several phases of funerary monument preceding the barrow and, consequently, it is probable that long barrows acted as important ritual sites for local communities over a considerable period of time. Some 500 long barrows are recorded in England. As one of the few types of Neolithic structure to survive as earthworks, and due to their comparative rarity, their considerable age and their longevity as a monument type, all long barrows are considered to be nationally important.

The long barrow known as Bevis's or Solomon's Thumb survives well despite the disturbance to the northern side by road building and to the south-west part of the ditch by small-scale excavation. It is therefore of considerable archaeological potential, evidence being contained not only in the mound and the flanking ditches but also on the original ground surface beneath the mound. Its archaeological documentation is above average, and since the mound is visible from the road the monument is of high amenity value.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

The monument includes the mound and flanking ditches of a long barrow, known locally either as Bevis's or Solomon's Thumb, situated on the crest of a ridge between Fernbeds Down and Telegraph Hill. The mound, one of the longest in the South East, measures 60m in length, 16m in width at the western end but only 9m at the eastern end where the road has truncated it. In height the mound stands 1.6-1.8m above the surrounding level. The flanking ditches are no longer visible on the surface, but small-scale excavations in 1980 demonstrated that the ditch survived to a depth of 1.42m on the south-west side and spanned 7m from side to side. On the north side of the mound, therefore, the lower levels of the ditch will survive beneath the metalled road. During the excavations, which comprised a single slot 1m wide across the southern flanking ditch, a number of flint tools and animal bones were recovered, and charcoal from the bottom of the ditch was dated by the radiocarbon method to 2500-2700BC. The fencing on the barrow mound and the metalling of the road are excluded from 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.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 12854

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Drewett, P, 'Bull Inst Arch' in Rescue Archaeology in Sussex, , Vol. 18, (1981), 21-47
Other
Re Bevis's Thumb long barrow, County monument no 0183,

End of official listing