REASON FOR DESIGNATION
Oval barrows are funerary and ceremonial monuments of the Early to Middle Neolithic periods, with the majority of dated monuments belonging to the later part of the range. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds of roughly elliptical plan, usually delimited by quarry ditches. These ditches can vary from paired "banana-shaped" ditches flanking the mound to "U-shaped" or unbroken oval ditches nearly or wholly encircling it. Along with the long barrows, oval barrows represent the burial places of Britain's early farming communities and, as such, are amongst the oldest field monuments surviving visibly in the present landscape. Where investigated, oval barrows have produced two distinct types of burial rite: communal burials of groups of individuals, including adults and children, laid directly on the ground surface before the barrow was built; and burials of one or two adults interred in a grave pit centrally placed beneath the barrow mound. Certain sites provide evidence for several phases of funerary monument preceding the barrow and, consequently, it is probable that they may have acted as important ritual sites for local communities over a considerable period of time. Similarly, as the filling of the ditches around oval barrows often contains deliberately placed deposits of pottery, flintwork and bone, periodic ceremonial activity may have taken place at the barrow subsequent to its construction. Oval barrows are very rare nationally, with less than 50 recorded examples in England. As one of the few types of Neolithic structure to survive as earthworks, and due to their rarity, their considerable age and their longevity as a monument type, all oval barrows are considered to be nationally important.
Ox Low is a good example of an oval barrow which continued in use into the Bronze Age. Although one area of the barrow has been excavated, further archaeological remains survive in the extensive unexcavated areas and on the old land surface beneath the barrow.
The monument is an oval barrow situated above Conies Dale in the north-west uplands of the limestone plateau of Derbyshire. It includes an oval mound measuring 19.5m from east to west and 12m from north to south. Upslope to the east it is c.0.25m high while downslope to the west, it is c.1m high. A hollow towards the eastern end is the site of a partial excavation carried out by Tym in the 1870s when a limestone cist or grave was found containing a crouched human skeleton, a boar's tusk and a perforated stone hammer. Oval barrows generally date to the Neolithic period but the excavated remains indicate that the barrow was re-used in the Bronze Age.
Book Reference - Author: Barnatt, J. - Title: The Peak District Barrow Survey - Date: 1989 - Type: DESC TEXT - Description: Site 1;1
Book Reference - Author: Barnatt, J. - Title: The Peak District Barrow Survey - Date: 1989 - Type: PLAN: MEASURED - Description: Site 1;1
Book Reference - Author: Marsden B - Title: The Burial Mounds of Derbyshire (1977) - Date: 1977 - Page References: 85 - Type: DESC TEXT
Book Reference - Author: Pennington, R. - Title: The Barrows and Bone Caves of Derbyshire - Date: 1877 - Page References: 25-6 - Type: DESC TEXT