Group of three saucer barrows and a pair of hlaews south east of Chanctonbury Ring hillfort


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015117

Date first listed: 01-May-1951

Date of most recent amendment: 18-Nov-1996


Ordnance survey map of Group of three saucer barrows and a pair of hlaews south east of Chanctonbury Ring hillfort
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: West Sussex

District: Horsham (District Authority)

Parish: Wiston

National Park: SOUTH DOWNS

National Grid Reference: TQ 14021 12007


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

Reasons for Designation

Saucer barrows are funerary monuments of the Early Bronze Age, most examples dating to between 1800 and l200 BC. They occur either in isolation or in barrow cemeteries (closely-spaced groups of round barrows). They were constructed as a circular area of level ground defined by a bank and internal ditch and largely occupied by a single low, squat mound covering one or more burials, usually in a pit. The burials, either inhumations or cremations, are sometimes accompanied by pottery vessels, tools and personal ornaments. Saucer barrows are one of the rarest recognised forms of round barrow, with about 60 known examples nationally, most of which are in Wessex. The presence of grave goods within the barrows provides important evidence for chronological and cultural links amongst prehistoric communities over a wide area of southern England as well as providing an insight into their beliefs and social organisation. As a rare and fragile form of round barrow, all identified saucer barrows would normally be considered to be of national importance.

A hlaew is a burial monument of Anglo-Saxon or Viking date, comprising a hemispherical mound of earth and redeposited bedrock constructed over a primary burial or burials. These were usually inhumations, buried in a grave cut into the subsoil beneath the mound, but cremations placed on the old ground surface have also been found. Hlaews occur in pairs or groups and a few have accompanying flat graves. Constructed during the pagan Saxon and Viking periods for individuals of high rank, they served as visible and ostentatious markers of their social position. Some were associated with territorial claims and appear to have been specifically located to mark boundaries. They often contain objects which give information on the range of technological skills and trading contacts of the period. Only between 50 and 60 hlaews have been positively identified in England. As a rare monument class all positively identified examples are considered worth of preservation. The three saucer barrows and pair of hlaews south east of Chanctonbury Ring hillfort survive well and will contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the ways in which the monument was constructed and used. The monument forms part of a group of prehistoric, Roman and early medieval earthworks situated on Chanctonbury Hill, including a hillfort, Romano-Celtic temple, two cross dykes and further round barrows and hlaews, which are the subjects of separate schedulings. The close association of these monuments will provide important evidence for the changing relationships between ceremonial and burial practices and land division in this area of downland over a period of c.1,500 years.


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


The monument includes a south west-north east aligned linear group of three prehistoric saucer barrows and a pair of early medieval barrows known as hlaews situated on a chalk ridge which forms part of the Sussex Downs. The south westerly saucer barrow has a low, circular mound c.11m in diameter and c.0.3m high with a central hollow, indicating part excavation during the 19th century. The mound is surrounded by a ditch c.1.5m wide and c.0.2m deep, from which material used to construct the barrow was excavated. The barrow has been partly levelled on its north eastern side by long-term use of a downland track which runs along the ridge at this point. The central saucer barrow lies c.2m to the north east and has a mound c.11m in diameter and up to 0.4m high, surrounded by a buried quarry ditch c.1.5m wide and c.0.2m deep. The ditch has been levelled by the downland track, which runs across its south western edge. Situated a further 2m to the north east, the north easterly saucer barrow has an uneven mound c.11m in diameter and c.0.4m high, surrounded by a ditch c.1.5m wide and c.0.2m deep. The larger hlaew lies c.1m to the west of the north easterly saucer barrow and has a circular mound c.8m in diameter with a central hollow, surrounded by a buried quarry ditch c.1m wide. The second hlaew lies c.18m to the south east and has a small mound c.5m in diameter and c.0.2m high, which is also surrounded by a buried ditch c.1m wide.

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: 27094

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Bedwin, O, 'Britannia' in Excavations a Chanctonbury Ring, Wiston, West Sussex, 1977, , Vol. 11, (1980), 173-231

End of official listing