Kit's Coty House Long Barrow

Overview

Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
1012939
Date first listed:
05-Mar-1958
Date of most recent amendment:
21-Aug-1990

Map

Ordnance survey map of Kit's Coty House Long Barrow
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. 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:
Aylesford
National Grid Reference:
TQ 74486 60856

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.

This example has a particularly well-preserved burial chamber and is also of high archaeological potential due to the survival of the remains of the burial mound and the flanking ditches. The burial chamber having been taken into guardianship, the monument is also of high amenity value.

Details

The Long Barrow is situated on level ground at the crest of the North Downs overlooking the Medway valley. It is oriented approximately E-W, with the stone chamber near the eastern end. The most distinctive feature of the monument is the H-shaped arrangement of 3 large sarsen slabs, capped by a further slab, which formed the main burial chamber of the Long Barrow. Although these large stones, or megaliths, now stand unsupported, they are believed originally to have been buried within a large, elongated earthen mound, of which only traces survive today. The mound was some 80m in length and 12-15m in width and was probably broader at the eastern end than at the western end. Earth and chalk for the construction of this mound was quarried from the now-infilled flanking ditches which run parallel to it. These quarry ditches are more clearly visible on aerial photographs than on the ground. Such photographs indicate that the northern ditch extended for the full length of the mound while the southern ditch was shorter, not extending as far as either end of the mound. The monument has been the subject of enquiry since 1570, but no satisfactory explanation for the name has yet been found. Historical accounts suggest that the mound was surrounded by a revetment of sarsens positioned at intervals, some of which may survive beneath the ploughsoil but most of which have been unearthed and/or destroyed, the latest as recently as 1947. Although no bones have been reported by any of the investigators of the monument, the strong similarity with other examples which have yielded such evidence allows the safe interpretation of Kit's Coty House as a Neolithic burial 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:
12767
Legacy System:
RSM

Sources

Books and journals
McCrerie, A, Kit's Coty House, Smythe's Megalith and the General's Tomb, (1956)
Other
Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Long Barrows, (1989)
Pagination 12, Holgate, R, A Management and Research Design for the Medway Megaliths, Report for DoE, (1981)

Legal

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

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