Oval barrow with superimposed bowl barrow known as Howe's Hill, 500m WSW of Wood Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013568

Date first listed: 26-Jun-1924

Date of most recent amendment: 23-Oct-1995


Ordnance survey map of Oval barrow with superimposed bowl barrow known as Howe's Hill, 500m WSW of Wood Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Norfolk

District: North Norfolk (District Authority)

Parish: Upper Sheringham

National Grid Reference: TG 13409 41007


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

Reasons for Designation

Oval barrows are funerary and ceremonial monuments of the Early to Middle Neolithic periods, with the majority of dated monuments belonging to the later part of the range. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds of roughly elliptical plan, usually delimited by quarry ditches. These ditches can vary from paired "banana-shaped" ditches flanking the mound to "U-shaped" or unbroken oval ditches nearly or wholly encircling it. Along with the long barrows, oval barrows 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, oval barrows have produced two distinct types of burial rite: communal burials of groups of individuals, including adults and children, laid directly on the ground surface before the barrow was built; and burials of one or two adults interred in a grave pit centrally placed beneath the barrow mound. Certain sites provide evidence for several phases of funerary monument preceding the barrow and, consequently, it is probable that they may have acted as important ritual sites for local communities over a considerable period of time. Similarly, as the filling of the ditches around oval barrows often contains deliberately placed deposits of pottery, flintwork and bone, periodic ceremonial activity may have taken place at the barrow subsequent to its construction. Oval barrows are very rare nationally, with less than 50 recorded examples in England. As one of the few types of Neolithic structure to survive as earthworks, and due to their rarity, their considerable age and their longevity as a monument type, all oval barrows are considered to be nationally important.

The oval barrow incorporated in Howes Hill is one of two examples of this rare class of monument which have been identified in this area of Norfolk, the other being c.2.5km to the north east, and the evidence for a later bowl barrow constructed upon it gives it additional interest. Although there is some evidence to suggest limited disturbance caused by a 19th century investigation of the barrows, the monument as a whole survives well and will retain archaeological information concerning the construction of the barrows and the manner and duration of their use, including stratigraphic evidence for the chronological, structural and functional relationship between the two. Evidence for the local environment at and prior to that time is also likely to be preserved in soils buried beneath the earlier mound. This composite earthwork is among a large number of barrows of varying type and date which are located on glacial sands and gravels along the northern part of the Cromer Ridge, south of the coast. As a group, these barrows are important for the study of the distribution, character and development of the prehistoric population of the area.


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


The monument is located on a high point of the Cromer Ridge, c.2.5km south of the coast, and includes a composite earthwork incorporating an oval barrow and a superimposed mound which is considered to be a later bowl barrow. The earlier barrow is visible as an ovoid earthen mound, standing to a height of c.1.5m and measuring c.32m along an ENE-WSW axis by c.23m NNW-SSE. The bowl barrow stands on this mound near its eastern end, and is defined by a distinct break in the profile of the earthwork. It covers a circular area c.14m in diameter and is c.1m high, giving the earthwork an overall maximum height of c.2m. Surrounding the oval mound, at a distance of up to 2m, there are two ditches, marked by slight hollows c.1m wide in the ground surface and separated by a slight bank. These features, which have a combined width of c.4.5m, are thought to be landscaping features of comparatively recent date, probably associated with tree planting on the mound, but probably overlie an earlier, and much larger buried ditch from which earth was quarried during the construction of the barrow. A Bronze Age pottery urn in Cambridge University Museum of Archaeology is believed to have come from a limited investigation of the barrow carried out during the 19th century, and a slight hollow in the top of the later mound perhaps marks the area of this disturbance.

The surface of the track which impinges on the south east side of the monument is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it is included.

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.


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

Legacy System number: 21376

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Clarke, R R, Apling, H, 'Norfolk Archaeol' in An Iron Age Tumulus on Warborough Hill, Stiffkey, Norfolk, , Vol. 25, (1935), 425

End of official listing