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Goldbury Hill Anglo-Saxon cemetery

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Goldbury Hill Anglo-Saxon cemetery

List entry Number: 1017686


The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Oxfordshire

District: Vale of White Horse

District Type: District Authority

Parish: West Hendred

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 13-Jul-1992

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 20601

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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

Reasons for Designation

Beginning in the fifth century AD, there is evidence from distinctive burials and cemeteries, new settlements, and new forms of pottery and metalwork, of the immigration into Britain of settlers from northern Europe, bringing with them new religious beliefs. The Roman towns appear to have gone into rapid decline and the old rural settlement pattern to have been disrupted. Although some Roman settlements and cemeteries continued in use, the native Britons rapidly adopted many of the cultural practices of the new settlers and it soon becomes difficult to distinguish them in the archaeological record. So-called Anglo-Saxon cemeteries are dated to the early Anglo-Saxon period, from the fifth to the seventh centuries AD. With the conversion to Christianity during the late sixth and seventh centuries AD, these pagan cemeteries appear to have been abandoned in favour of new sites, some of which have continued in use up to the present day. Burial practices included both inhumation and cremation. Anglo-Saxon inhumation cemeteries consist predominantly of inhumation burials which were placed in rectangular pits in the ground, occasionally within coffins. The bodies were normally accompanied by a range of grave goods, including jewellery and weaponry. The cemeteries vary in size, the largest containing several hundred burials. Around 1000 inhumation cemeteries have been recorded in England. They represent one of our principal sources of archaeological evidence about the Early Anglo-Saxon period, providing information on population, social structure and ideology. All surviving examples, other than those which have been heavily disturbed, are considered worthy of protection.

Goldbury Hill is considered to represent a fairly small family cemetery, probably with an associated settlement in the immediate vicinity. The site lies in an area of dense Anglo-Saxon occupation from which a number of cemeteries are known, including those of Lockinge, Arn Hill, Betterton House, Harwell, Abingdon and Frilford. Settlements in the area include Sutton Courtney, Drayton and Milton. It is one of the few cemeteries in this area to come into use in the first half of the fifth century and to remain in use until the mid-sixth century. The site is largely undisturbed and therefore offers considerable archaeological potential.


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


This Anglo-Saxon cemetery is located on a small but prominent chalk hill on the southern edge of the vale overlooking the Ginge Brook and Holy Trinity Church. The Icknield Way lies at its southern foot. The hill is steep-sided with a flat, elongated top running south-west to north-east. Geophysical survey has shown that the cemetery is largely confined to the top and upper slopes of the hill. A small excavation has taken place revealing three south-west north-east orientated inhumation burials of Anglo-Saxon type: one adult male, a possible adolescent female and a rare infant burial. The graves lay only 30cm under the ground surface. With the human bone in one of the graves were found a spear, a shield boss and associated rivets, and a knife. Pottery sherds of urns in the surrounding plough soil suggest that cremations are also present. Apart from the burial evidence, other features located included a large circular shaped pit with a central clay pad, one post-hole, and a ditch.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Selected Sources

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

National Grid Reference: SU 44751 87982


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This copy shows the entry on 16-Aug-2018 at 02:01:57.

End of official listing