Ancient Monuments

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A Neolithic barrow on Whiteleaf Hill, 50m east of Whiteleaf Cross

A Scheduled Monument in Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire

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Latitude: 51.7285 / 51°43'42"N

Longitude: -0.811 / 0°48'39"W

OS Eastings: 482217.033156

OS Northings: 203978.25699

OS Grid: SP822039

Mapcode National: GBR D3W.RR1

Mapcode Global: VHDVJ.WTM9

Entry Name: A Neolithic barrow on Whiteleaf Hill, 50m east of Whiteleaf Cross

Scheduled Date: 26 March 1934

Last Amended: 12 October 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009532

English Heritage Legacy ID: 19053

County: Buckinghamshire

Civil Parish: Princes Risborough

Built-Up Area: Princes Risborough

Traditional County: Buckinghamshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Buckinghamshire

Church of England Parish: Monks Risborough

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument includes the remains of a Neolithic barrow situated on the
western edge of Whiteleaf Hill chalk escarpment. The barrow mound has been
considerably disturbed by a series of excavations undertaken by Lindsay Scott
between the years 1934 and 1939. The present form of the mound is a result of
reconstruction following these excavations. The original form of the mound is
described by Scott as being a kidney-shaped mound with a forecourt on the
east, surrounded by a ditch 2m wide. The present form of the mound conforms
largely to this shape, being kidney or D-shaped in plan measuring some 21m
north-east to south-west by 23m north-west to south-east and standing to a
height of 2m. The top of the mound is irregular with clear evidence of past
disturbance. It has the form of two lobes separated by a narrow neck, the
position of which conforms to the position of the burial chamber as revealed
in the 1930s excavations. Surrounding the mound is a shallow ditch from which
material for the original construction of the mound would have been quarried.
This survives as a shallow earthwork 4m wide with a maximum depth of 0.3m.
The excavation of the mound revealed that the barrow was of earth and flint
construction built around a wooden chamber. This was constructed from large
tree trunks laid horizontally; the corners of the chamber were defined by four
post holes giving a maximum length of 2.4m and width of 1.7m. The chamber
contained a single burial, though only the left foot and one tooth were found
in the chamber, the rest of the skeleton being scattered outside it.
Scattered throughout the mound was a considerable amount of pottery, some
24lbs in weight and representing between 55 and 60 individual vessels of
Neolithic date. Other finds from the site included flint flakes and animal
bones. Secondary disturbance of the original barrow include an intrusive
Romano-British burial in the north-east and a similarly dated rubbish pit in
the north-west.

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.

The Neolithic barrow on Whiteleaf Hill, though considerably disturbed by past
excavation and reconstruction, survives as a substantial landscape feature and
is the only surviving Neolithic earthwork known in the county. The presence
of an intact surrounding ditch indicates that the current shape of the mound
conforms approximately to that of the original barrow which appears to have
been D-shaped with the facade facing west. Neolithic monuments are rare and
monuments of this shape and size are particularly so. Despite extensive
excavation, further archaeological material will survive. Environmental
evidence, pertaining to the original landscape in which the monument was
constructed, will also survive sealed on the old land surface in those parts
of the mound not disturbed.

Source: Historic England


NAR (Qualification Card No. 0296),
NAR (Qualification SP 80 SW 1),

Source: Historic England

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