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
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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)
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,
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