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Neolithic long barrow and Romano-British inhumation cemetery 70m north of Uffington Castle on Whitehorse Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Uffington, Oxfordshire

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Latitude: 51.5768 / 51°34'36"N

Longitude: -1.5683 / 1°34'5"W

OS Eastings: 430013.828597

OS Northings: 186522.587107

OS Grid: SU300865

Mapcode National: GBR 5WW.0BD

Mapcode Global: VHC0Z.RMSL

Entry Name: Neolithic long barrow and Romano-British inhumation cemetery 70m north of Uffington Castle on Whitehorse Hill

Scheduled Date: 30 November 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008410

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21776

County: Oxfordshire

Civil Parish: Uffington

Traditional County: Berkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Oxfordshire

Church of England Parish: Uffington

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument includes a Neolithic long barrow situated on a north west
facing slope, 70m north of Uffington Castle on Whitehorse Hill, an area in the
care of the Secretary of State. The barrow also forms the focus for a later
Romano-British inhumation cemetery.
The barrow has a mound aligned south west to north east which measures 25m
long and 12m across at its widest point, with the widest end facing the
north east. It stands up to 0.3m high and was originally flanked by two quarry
ditches from which material was obtained during the construction of the mound.
These have become infilled over the years and are no longer easily defined at
ground level although they have been shown by recent excavation to survive as
buried features c.4m wide.
A circular depression on the centre of the barrow measuring 3.2m in diameter
and 0.3m deep represents an excavation shaft, dug in 1857, from which a
cremation in a large coarse urn was recovered. This excavation also
demonstrated that the mound formed the focus for 46 skeletons buried in
42 graves; five individuals had coins in their mouths which dated them to
the late Roman period.
Partial re-excavation and geophysical surveys undertaken in June 1993 have
proved that the majority of Roman burials remain in situ and that the cemetery
extends an unknown distance around the long barrow and its ditch. The
excavation has also demonstrated that many of the skeletons lack skulls.

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 examples of
long barrows and long cairns, their counterparts in the uplands, are recorded
nationally. 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.

The long barrow on Whitehorse Hill formed the focus for later burials
including a Romano-British inhumation cemetery dated to the fourth century.
Romano-British cemeteries were either privately or communally owned ground set
aside for the disposal, celebration and remembrance of the dead. Although
upstanding mausolea and grave stones were occasionally present they rarely
survive as upstanding monuments and there is usually no visible evidence
surviving above ground of the location of burials. Individual burials were
usually contained within grave cuts and richer burials would have been
contained in wooden, stone or even lead coffins. Grave goods can include glass
and ceramic vessels containing food, drink and coins to help the individual
on the journey into the after life.
The monument survives as a visible earthwork and has been shown by partial
excavation to contain archaeological evidence relating to the long barrow, the
landscape in which it was built, and its later reuse. The site represents an
area of land dedicated to the burial of the dead over a long period of time
and is situated in close proximity to a number of other important religious
and secular monuments including Uffington hillfort and the White Horse.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Davis, J B, Thurnam, J T, Crania Britannica, (1865)
Medical report, Davis & Thurran, E. Martin Atkins, Whitehorse Hill, CRANIA BRITANNICA, (1865)
On site discussion, JEFFERY, P.P., Discussion with S. Palmer (O.A.U.), (1993)
On site discussions, JEFFERY, P.P., DISCUSSION WITH S. PALMER (O.A.U.), (1993)
PRN 10,730, C.A.O., Oblong Mound, (1964)
PRN 10,730, C.A.O., Oblong Mound, (1967)

Source: Historic England

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