Anglo-Saxon cemetery and associated prehistoric remains at St Anne's Road, Upperton


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018876

Date first listed: 04-Feb-1999


Ordnance survey map of Anglo-Saxon cemetery and associated prehistoric remains at St Anne's Road, Upperton
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This copy shows the entry on 19-Jan-2019 at 23:29:30.


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

County: East Sussex

District: Eastbourne (District Authority)

National Grid Reference: TV 60331 99802


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.

The Anglo-Saxon cemetery at St Anne's Road survives well, despite some subsequent disturbance, in close association with a range of earlier, prehistoric features. Part excavation has shown that the cemetery contains well-preserved burials and further, important archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the original use of the monument. The monument belongs to a group of contemporary Anglo-Saxon cemeteries located in the Eastbourne area, illustrating the relatively dense early Anglo-Saxon settlement of this part of the Sussex Downs.


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


The monument includes part of an Anglo-Saxon inhumation cemetery and contemporary settlement, an earlier Bronze Age round barrow and traces of an Iron Age settlement. These are situated on a chalk hill which now forms part of the north western suburbs of modern Eastbourne.

The monument contains the best surviving part of the Anglo-Saxon cemetery, including graves and associated below ground archaeological features. Investigations carried out within the cemetery during 1991-92 revealed at least 69 inhumation and 5 cremation burials. These were accompanied by a rich assemblage of grave goods, or artefacts deliberately buried with the bodies, including glass beakers, beads, brooches, spears, knives and shield bosses. Analysis of these items suggests that the cemetery was in use during the fifth to early seventh centuries AD. Traces of a contemporary settlement, including rubbish pits, sunken-floored buildings, and a number of post holes representing timber structures, were found in the north western sector of the monument.

The investigations also revealed a number of earlier, buried prehistoric features underlying the later cemetery. The infilled, circular ditch of a Bronze Age round barrow was found close to the north western edge of the monument, partly disturbed by several later, Anglo-Saxon burials. The earlier round barrow may have formed the focus of the Anglo-Saxon cemetery. Also underlying the cemetery were traces of an Iron Age settlement, represented by features which include a boundary ditch, storage pits and a kiln. Scientific analysis of the clay lining of the kiln suggested that it was in use during the first century BC.

The monument will have been partly disturbed by modern service trenches.

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


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

Legacy System number: 31405

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Stevens, L, Archaeological Site, St Anne's Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex, (1995)
Stevens, L, 'Sussex Archaeological Collections' in An Iron Age site at St Anne's Road, Eastbourne, , Vol. 125, (1987), 75-80
Stevens, L, 'Sussex Archaeological Collections' in Human Skeleton at St Anne's Road, Eastbourne, , Vol. 121, (1983), 208
1992/43, Stevens, P, Archaeological assessment at ECAT, Eastbourne, (1993)
Greatorex, C, Interim Report on Arch Eval at ECAT, St Anne's Road, Eastbourne, 1997, 540
Stevens, P, Excavations at ECAT, an interim report, 1992,
TR31167DCA, Tempus Reparatum, Specification for a Programme of Arch Eval, ECAT, Eastbourne, (1997)

End of official listing