Oval barrow in Shrub's Wood


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012523

Date first listed: 16-Jun-1969

Date of most recent amendment: 10-May-1991


Ordnance survey map of Oval barrow in Shrub's Wood
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This copy shows the entry on 18-Nov-2018 at 08:46:54.


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

County: Kent

District: Shepway (District Authority)

Parish: Elmsted

National Grid Reference: TR 09928 45871


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

Reasons for Designation

Oval barrows are funerary and ceremonial monuments of the early to middle Neolithic periods, with the majority of dated monuments belonging to the later part of the range. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds of roughly elliptical plan, usually delimited by quarry ditches. These ditches can vary from paired "banana-shaped" ditches flanking the mound to "U-shaped" or unbroken oval ditches nearly or wholly encircling it. Along with the long barrows, oval barrows 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, oval barrows have produced two distinct types of burial rite: communal burials of groups of individuals, including adults and children, laid directly on the ground surface before the barrow was built; and burials of one or two adults interred in a grave pit centrally placed beneath the barrow mound. Certain bites provide evidence for several phases of funerary monument preceding the barrow and, consequently, it is probable that they may have acted as important ritual sites for local communities over a considerable period of time. Similarly, as the filling of the ditches around oval bar rows often contains deliberately placed deposits of pottery, flintwork, and bone, periodic ceremonial activity may have taken place at the barrow subsequent to its construction. Oval barrows are very rare nationally, with less than 50 recorded examples in England. As one of the few types of Neolithic structure to survive as earthworks, and due to their rarity, their considerable age and their longevity as a monument type, all oval barrows are considered to be nationally important.

The example in Shrub's Wood is of especial importance, not only because it is amongst the finest surviving oval barrows in the South-East but also because it stands alone in Kent as an outlier to the the main distribution of such monuments in Wessex and on the South Downs.


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


The monument in Shrub's Wood, an oval barrow or burial mound dating from the Neolithic period, includes not only a large earthen mound but also the broad ditches which flank the mound. The mound itself is orientated E-W, measures 38m in length, up to 19m in width and survives to an impressive 2m above the level of the surrounding land at its highest point. On either flank of the mound, and extending along its full length, are ditches from which the earth was quarried for its construction. Having been largely infilled by erosion of the mound and the ditch sides, these slightly curving ditches are now broad and shallow, measuring typically 5m across but only 0.5m deep. The ditch on the southern side is the more easily visible. The boundary fence which passes the outer edge of the southern flanking ditch is 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.


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

Legacy System number: 12789

Legacy System: RSM


Kent, TR 04 NE 27,

End of official listing