Bevis's Grave long barrow and early medieval cemetery, 100m west of Belmont Castle

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012831

Date first listed: 28-Jan-1991

Map

Ordnance survey map of Bevis's Grave long barrow and early medieval cemetery, 100m west of Belmont Castle
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Location

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

County: Hampshire

District: Havant (District Authority)

National Grid Reference: SU 69239 06423

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 and Middle Neolithic periods (3400-2400 BC). 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 parts of the human remains having been 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 180 long barrows of Hampshire, Wiltshire and Dorset form the densest and one of the most important concentrations of monuments of this type in the country. This example is regarded as significant as it survives well and, with no evidence of formal excavation except in the area of the southern ditch, has considerable archaeological potential. Long barrows occasionally acted as a focus for later burials and the importance of this monument is certainly enhanced by the presence of overlying burials of the early and later Saxon periods.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a long barrow and area of early medieval burials situated on the crest of Portsdown Hill. The long barrow mound is orientated east-west with maximum dimensions of c.88m long by 25m wide. A fence-line bisects the site from east to west. North of this line the monument appears as a low earthwork 0.5m high while to the south it survives as a buried feature in a cultivated field. Ditches, from which mound material was quarried, flank the mound to the north and south. The southern ditch has been partially excavated and was 88m long, 4-6m wide and 1.7-2.1m deep with a flat bottom. Part of an antler, probably the remains of a pick, was found at the bottom of the ditch. Overlying deposits produced sherds of late Neolithic and Bronze Age pottery. In the area of the southern ditch, partial excavation revealed an area of early medieval burials. At the west end of the ditch two Saxon burials were recovered while at the east end some eighty Christian graves dating to the 8th and 9th centuries AD were found. Before 1817, a further three burials, accompanied by a broken spear, were found in the course of chalk digging on the site; they are said to have lain "within twelve inches of the surface", presumably that of the mound.

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: 12118

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Smith, I F , Long Barrows in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, (1979), 22-3
Rudkin, D J, 'Medieval Archaeology' in Excavations at Bevis's Grave, Havant, , Vol. 20, (1975), 161
Other
02 Feb 1990, Rudkin, D J, (1990)
Title: Map of Hampshire Source Date: 1759 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing