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Lower Swell long barrow 400m north-west of St Mary`s Church

A Scheduled Monument in Swell, Gloucestershire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.9303 / 51°55'49"N

Longitude: -1.7538 / 1°45'13"W

OS Eastings: 417025.485765

OS Northings: 225784.094336

OS Grid: SP170257

Mapcode National: GBR 4PV.TPL

Mapcode Global: VHB1P.KR62

Entry Name: Lower Swell long barrow 400m north-west of St Mary`s Church

Scheduled Date: 30 August 1922

Last Amended: 25 March 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008205

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22875

County: Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: Swell

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: The Swells

Church of England Diocese: Gloucester

Details

The monument includes a long barrow situated near to the foot of an east
facing slope in the area of the Cotswold Hills. The barrow is in an unusual
setting for a monument of this class, but its situation can be explained by
the view over the confluence of two dry-valleys further to the
west.
The barrow has a mound which is trapezoidal in plan and orientated broadly
east to west. The mound is composed of small stones and has dimensions of
42.3m from east-west and 14.5m from north-south, with a maximum height of
c.3m.
The barrow, which was first recorded in 1920 by O G S Crawford, does not have
any record of excavation, although the narrow trench c.1m wide and 1m deep
which cuts across the mound at right angles near to the centre does indicate
an antiquarian excavation of this part of the site.
The mound has some large stones partially visible at its eastern end and along
the southern side; these are likely to indicate the presence of chambers.
The barrow occupies a terrace in the hillside and, for this reason, material
could only be quarried for the construction of the monument on the southern
uphill side. Although the quarry has become partially infilled over the years,
it remains visible as an earthwork 14m wide, 42m long and c.3m deep.
The monument forms one of a group of three long barrows situated in the
locality, all of which were originally intervisible.
Excluded from the scheduling are all fence posts relating to the field
boundaries, although the ground beneath is included.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Long barrows were constructed as earthen or drystone mounds with flanking
ditches and acted as funerary monuments during the Early and Middle Neolithic
periods (3400-2400 BC). They 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, long barrows
appear to have been used for communal burial, often with only parts of the
human remains having been selected for interment. Certain sites provide
evidence for several phases of funerary monument preceding the barrow and,
consequently, it is probable that long barrows acted as important ritual sites
for local communities over a considerable period of time. Some 500 long
barrows are recorded in England. As one of the few types of Neolithic
structure to survive as earthworks, and due to their comparative rarity, their
considerable age and their longevity as a monument type, all long barrows are
considered to be nationally important.

Despite partial excavations, the Lower Swell long barrow survives well and
will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the
monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. This barrow is a good
example representing a group of long barrows commonly referred to as the
Cotswold-Severn group, named after the area in which they occur.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
Reference to Crawford identification,

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments

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