Anglo-Saxon cemetery 275m north of Comps Farm
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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This copy shows the entry on 29-Feb-2020 at 13:53:13.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- East Sussex
- Lewes (District Authority)
- National Park:
- SOUTH DOWNS
- National Grid Reference:
- TQ 45491 08158
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.
Anglo-Saxon cremation cemeteries consist predominantly of cremation burials in which the cremated remains were placed in containers which were then buried in small pits in the ground. The most common burial containers were pottery vessels, frequently heavily decorated, although glass and metal ones are also known. The human remains may be accompanied by cremated animal remains and grave goods, such as jewellery, collected from the funeral pyre. At some sites there is evidence that the burials were marked above ground by stones, small cairns or timber structures. The cemeteries vary considerably in size, the largest containing several thousand burials. Cremation cemeteries are relatively rare and less than 200 examples have been identified. 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 275m north of Comps Farm contains mixed inhumation and cremation burials. The cemetery is unexcavated apart from the three burials which led to the discovery of the site. It is one of three in a relatively small area of approximately 1.5km and indicates a concentration of Anglo-Saxon interest in this area. The excavated examples show that the burials survive well despite having been ploughed over. The graves will contain archaeological information and environmental evidence relating to the burials and the landscape in which they were created.
The monument includes an Anglo-Saxon cemetery defined by a group of three
Anglo-Saxon burials and the indication, from resistivity and magnetometer
survey, of further burials in scattered groups to the north and south of
these. The burials lie on the top of an oval-shaped low hill overlooking
Glynde and Glynde Reach, a tributary of the River Ouse, to the north.
The cemetery runs in a north-south direction for some 60m and comprises small
groups of burials. At the centre of this alignment three graves have been
excavated. One grave, aligned northwest-southeast, contained a single
inhumation thought to be female accompanied by a number of objects including
a metal alloy bowl or bucket, two saucer brooches, two silver girdle
ornaments and an amber object. A second grave, aligned approximately
north-south contained a single inhumation, thought to be male, accompanied by
objects which included a shield boss, spear, knife and buckle. Both graves
lay under 0.28m of topsoil and were cut 0.3m into natural chalk. Indications
from the grave goods showed that the burials can be dated to the mid-C5 to
mid-C6 AD. The third grave contained an inhumation aligned east-west which
had been disturbed by the insertion of at least one and possibly two later
cremation burials. The disturbed fill of this grave contained objects
including a saucer brooch and knife. The excavations of the graves were
carried out by the County Archaeologist and his staff who observed more
graves in the baulks of the trenches.
The site, found by metal detector, was not previously recorded, and did not
occur on the East Sussex County Council Historic Environment Record (HER).
Three other sites are recorded in the vicinity of the cemetery: Beddingham
Roman Villa about 1km to the southeast; an Anglo-Saxon cemetery 0.86 km to
the south; and a second Anglo-Saxon cemetery 0.5km to the northeast. None of
these sites are scheduled. The nearest scheduled monument is Mount Caburn
Iron Age hillfort 1.25km to the north west (SM 27029).
MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 5 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:
- Legacy System:
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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing