The Chestnuts Long Barrow

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012917

Date first listed: 09-Oct-1981

Date of most recent amendment: 07-Sep-1990

Map

Ordnance survey map of The Chestnuts Long Barrow
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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Location

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

County: Kent

District: Tonbridge and Malling (District Authority)

Parish: Addington

National Grid Reference: TQ 65249 59175

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 Chestnuts example, although damaged both in antiquity and in recent times firstly by medieval stone-robbing and then by quarrying, retains the main stones of the burial chamber and survives as a visually impressive monument. It is also well documented archaeologically.

History

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

Details

The surviving remains of this monument lie on relatively low, sandy ground above the valley of a small stream. The remains are best interpreted as those of a Long Barrow oriented E- W with the burial chamber at the E end. Some 100m to the SE is the Addington Long Barrow. The most distinctive part of the monument is the cluster of large sarsen stones which originally formed a Neolithic burial chamber. The understanding of this monument relies heavily on the excavations carried out in 1957 by Dr. J. Alexander. These investigations demonstrated that the burial chamber had formerly been covered by a mound of sand 18m wide which nad been scraped up from the surrounding area. The burial chamber, formed by pairs of stones on the north and south sides and given a facade of four further slabs, was found to contain the cremated remains of 12 bodies. The burial chamber was estimated to have been 3.6m long and 2.4m wide and was roofed by capstones. The mound over the chamber was probably in the shape of a tapering rectangle extending westwards for perhaps 50-60m by analogy with similar monuments. The excavation showed that the mound had been had been seriously damaged during the medieval period. The western end was sub-sequently lost to quarrying and the mound was further damaged earlier this century by deep ploughing, but evidence from pits cut into the subsoil is considered likely to survive to the west of the burial chamber. The recent concrete at the foot of the large sarsens (but not the ground beneath), the props used to support the stones and the fence at the quarry-edge are excluded from the scheduling at this monument.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 12770

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Alexander, J, 'Archaeologia Cantiana' in The Excavation of the Chestnuts Megalithic Tomb at Addington, , Vol. 76, (1961), 1-57
Other
Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Long Barrows, (1989)
Report for the DoE, Holgate, R, A Management and Research Design for the Kent Megaliths, (1981)

End of official listing