Long Barrow on Beacon Hill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013067

Date first listed: 13-Nov-1963

Date of most recent amendment: 22-Aug-1990


Ordnance survey map of Long Barrow on Beacon Hill
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: The City of Brighton and Hove (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Rottingdean

National Park: SOUTH DOWNS

National Grid Reference: TQ 36389 02767

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 example on Beacon Hill survives to a considerable extent despite having been damaged and retains high archaeological potential, particularly for the recovery of evidence of the Neolithic environment from the ditches considered likely to have survived alongside the mound.


The Long Barrow is situated on the crown of Beacon Hill, a spur of the South Downs, and is 500m from the present coastline. It is oriented approximately N-S, with the broader and higher end to the north. The most distinctive feature of the monument is the elongated earthen mound, measuring 40m in length and varying in width from 6-12m. The mound survives in places to a height of 1.4m above the general ground level. The present form of the mound, however, is the result of several episodes of disturbance, the most serious of which was the removal of the northernmost 12m of the mound in 1863 to improve a cricket ground. Indiscernible but almost certain to be present are the flanking ditches from which material with which to build the mound was quarried. Although attempts to trace the course of the flanking ditches in the 1930s, by listening to the sound made when pounding the ground with a heavy rod, proved inconclusive, they can be expected to run parallel with the mound and to extend for the full length of the original mound (i.e. ca. 50m). Records of the disturbance in 1863 indicate that a burial chamber containing 4 adult skeletons was destroyed at this time, together with the graves of several other individuals. The whereabouts of the finds and bones from the digging are not known. The description of the finds, however, and the similarity between the form of this monument and other excavated examples, clearly demonstrate that the monument originated in the Neolithic period.

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


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

Legacy System number: 12775

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Turner, E, 'Sussex Archaeological Collections' in Sussex Archaeological Collections, , Vol. 15, (1863)
Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Long Barrows, (1989)
TQ 30 SE 1,

End of official listing