Anglo-Saxon barrow field 650m south west of Wick Farm

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014651

Date first listed: 01-Sep-1967

Date of most recent amendment: 08-Jul-1996

Map

Ordnance survey map of Anglo-Saxon barrow field 650m south west of Wick Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

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

County: East Sussex

District: Lewes (District Authority)

Parish: Ditchling

National Park: SOUTH DOWNS

National Grid Reference: TQ 32338 13127

Summary

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

Reasons for Designation

Barrow fields are groups of between five and 300 closely-spaced hlaews, or burial mounds, dating to the early medieval period. The usually circular mounds, some of which are surrounded by an encircling ditch, were constructed of earth and rubble and covered one or more inhumation burials. These were deposited in west-east aligned, rectangular graves cut into the underlying bedrock. Cremation burials, sometimes deposited in pottery urns, have also been found. Many burials were furnished with accompanying grave goods, including jewellery and weapons, and, at two sites, wooden ships were discovered within large mounds. Most barrow fields were in use during the pagan Anglo-Saxon period between the sixth and seventh centuries AD, although barrows dating to the fifth and eight centuries AD have also been found. The distribution of barrow fields is concentrated within south eastern England, particularly in prominent locations on the Kent and Sussex Downs. However, one Viking barrow field dating to the late ninth century AD is known in Derbyshire, and both barrow fields containing known ship burials are located near river estuaries in Suffolk. Barrow fields are a rare monument type, with only around 40 examples known nationally. They provide important and otherwise rare archaeological information about the social structure, technological development and economic oganisation of the people who constructed and used them. All positively identified examples with significant surviving remains are considered worthy of protection.

The barrow field 650m south west of Wick Farm survives well when compared with similar sites elsewhere, and has been shown by part excavation to contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. Lying around 400m to the WSW is an Anglo-Saxon hlaew. These monuments are broadly contemporary and their close association provides evidence for the importance of this part of the downland ridge for burial practices during the early medieval period.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a barrow field comprised of a group of at least five roughly west-east aligned hlaews, or Anglo-Saxon burial mounds, situated on a ridge of the Sussex Downs. An area of hummmocky ground which flanks the easternmost hlaew is thought to represent the site of further, disturbed burial mounds. The hlaews are small, closely-spaced, roughly circular mounds c.8m-10m in diameter and up to 0.4m high, each with a central hollow or showing other signs of disturbance, the result of past, part excavation. The next-to-easternmost mound was partly excavated in 1962, when it was found to have been constructed over a rectangular grave c.2.5m long and c.0.9m wide, cut into the underlying chalk bedrock. The grave contained the extended burial of an adult male accompanied by a short iron sword, or scramasax.

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.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 27049

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Other
source 2, RCHME, TQ 31 SW 11, (1934)

End of official listing