A barrow dating to the Bronze Age and part of a wider funerary landscape; it has been identified as a bell barrow due to the evidence of a mound separated from the inner edge of the ditch by a berm.
Reasons for Designation
The bell barrow located approximately 750m to the south-west of Westenhanger Castle, also known as barrow 44, is scheduled for the following principal reasons:
* Survival: it survives well as an upstanding earthwork and buried feature, including evidence for its mound, berm and surrounding ditch;
* Rarity: it represents a rare type of barrow;
* Documentation: recent archaeological investigations including geophysical survey and trial trenching have enhanced the understanding of this monument;
* Potential: the stratified archaeological deposits retain considerable potential to provide invaluable evidence for the ideology, variation in burial practices and social organisation of the communities and social networks that were using the landscape in this way. It also has the potential to provide further information about the monument’s complex sequence of mound construction;
* Group value: as part of a wider funerary landscape, it has strong group value with the nearby designated assets including the contemporary barrow cemetery to the west (NHLE 1475132).
Barrows, the most numerous of the various prehistoric funerary monuments, date from the Middle Neolithic to the Middle Bronze Age. Bowl barrows begin to appear from before 3000 BC but the majority belong to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials, and exhibit regional variations in form and a diversity of burial practices. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries, and often acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Most round barrows from this period are bowl barrows. Bell, disc and pond barrows are considerably rarer.
This bell barrow is located approximately 750m to the south-west of Westenhanger Castle, and forms part of a wider funerary landscape, it being in the vicinity of the earthwork and buried remains of several other similar monuments, most identified as bowl barrows. This barrow lies on a low hill within an arable field bordered to the west and south by the East Stour River, and which historically formed part of the Westenhanger deer park. The barrow was partially excavated in 1931, at which time it was recorded that a fragment of red ochre was found. The barrow appears on the First Edition Ordnance Survey map (1:2500, 1873) as a circular earthwork.
Recently the barrow has been subject to aerial photography and LiDAR imagery. Geophysical survey (2017) identified a roughly circular area of magnetic enhancement, corresponding with the recorded location of the barrow. Trial trenching (2018) identified a ring ditch and an internal mound. No pottery was recovered although a concentration of worked flint was identified in and around the barrow, with probably early Bronze Age tools and earlier pieces. In addition, spelt wheat was identified in one of the mound layers, indicating that the barrow is unlikely to be earlier in date than early Bronze Age. In recent archaeological investigations this monument is documented as barrow 44.
PRINCIPAL ELEMENTS: a barrow dating to the Bronze Age and part of a wider funerary landscape; it has been identified as a bell barrow due to the evidence of a mound separated from the inner edge of the ditch by a berm.
DESCRIPTION: the bell barrow survives above ground as a low spread mound. Three trial trenches were laid out across the barrow and identified a ring ditch 35m in diameter; the sections that were excavated were between 3.95m to 5.4m wide and 0.52m to 0.75m deep. The trenches also identified the internal mound with a maximum height of 0.4m. The mound is surrounded by a berm of varying widths between 2.6m and 7m wide. One of the trenches contained a feature interpreted as a palisade ditch constructed after the ring ditch. Four subsequent layers of mound were identified inside the probable palisade, indicating a complex sequence of mound construction. Finds included a piece of iron, possibly from a bucket, in an upper fill. Three features were identified being cut into the mound; a pit and two other features in the central area, one of which contained a shotgun cartridge and thought to be modern, possibly relating to the recorded antiquarian investigation.
EXTENT OF SCHEDULING: the scheduled area includes a margin of 2m around the full known extent of the above-ground and buried remains of the barrow, for the support and maintenance of the monument. There are no exclusions.