A barrow field, a bowl barrow and a dewpond on Bostal Hill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015249

Date first listed: 30-Jan-1967

Date of most recent amendment: 10-Jul-1996


Ordnance survey map of A barrow field, a bowl barrow and a dewpond on Bostal Hill
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: East Sussex

District: Wealden (District Authority)

Parish: Alciston

National Park: SOUTH DOWNS

National Grid Reference: TQ 49724 04767


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

Reasons for Designation

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Often superficially similar, although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form and a diversity of burial practices. There are over 10,000 surviving bowl barrows recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring across most of lowland Britain. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation of form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Barrow fields are groups of between five and 300 closely-spaced burial mounds (or `hlaews'),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 exceptional 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 eighth 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 the two 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 organisation of the people who constructed and used them. All positively identified examples with significant surviving remains are considered worthy of protection. The bowl barrow on Bostal Hill survives well and will contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed and used. The barrow is part of a linear group of three, broadly contemporary round barrows, the other two of which are the subject of separate schedulings. The round barrow group also forms part of a dispersed round barrow cemetery constructed along the downland ridge during the Bronze Age, illustrating the importance of the area for funerary practices during the later prehistoric period. The later barrow field also survives well and its close association with the earlier bowl barrow provides evidence for the respect for, and renewal of, an earlier burial tradition. The 18th/19th century dewpond reflects the importance of this area for stock grazing during the period of the agricultural revolution.


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


The monument includes a Bronze Age bowl barrow, a later Anglo-Saxon barrow field which clusters around the bowl barrow, and a dewpond situated on a ridge of the Sussex Downs. The bowl barrow is the south easternmost of a linear group of three round barrows situated along this part of the ridge, which enjoys panoramic views of the Channel coast to the south and the Weald to the north. Located towards the centre of the monument, the bowl barrow forms its most prominent component, having a circular mound with a slightly uneven surface c.14m in diameter and c.1.2m high. The mound is surrounded by a ditch from which material used to construct the barrow was excavated. This has become infilled over the years, but survives as a buried feature c.2m wide. The bowl barrow is flanked to the north west and south east by the later barrow field, which is formed by at least seven smaller burial mounds, or hlaews. To the north west are three roughly circular mounds, each one c.7m in diameter and c.0.6m high. To the south east are four further, roughly circular mounds each around 6m in diameter and surviving to a height of c.0.3m. A further area of hummocky ground lying between the south easternmost mound and the dewpond may represent the remains of further, partly disturbed mounds. The dewpond, known as New Pond, dates to the 18th or 19th centuries and lies c.20m to the south east of the south easternmost mound of the barrow field. It has a central circular depression, now dry, c.26m in diameter and c.2m deep, surrounded by a bank c.4m wide and c.0.5m high.

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: 27042

Legacy System: RSM


Source 2, RCHME, TQ 40 SE 21, (1930)

End of official listing