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Round barrows and ring ditches 530m south east of Barlings Abbey: part of Barlings-Stainfield barrow cemetery

A Scheduled Monument in Stainfield, Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 53.2445 / 53°14'40"N

Longitude: -0.3569 / 0°21'24"W

OS Eastings: 509741.729747

OS Northings: 373198.047551

OS Grid: TF097731

Mapcode National: GBR TZYX.JN

Mapcode Global: WHGJ2.HQ82

Entry Name: Round barrows and ring ditches 530m south east of Barlings Abbey: part of Barlings-Stainfield barrow cemetery

Scheduled Date: 14 December 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009989

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21472

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Stainfield

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Bardney St Lawrence

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument includes the remains of eleven round barrows of varying type in
the eastern part of the Barlings-Stainfield barrow cemetery, located on a sand
and gravel spur on the northern edge of the Witham peat fens. The barrows, and
also the ground surface broadly contemporary with their construction and use,
have been partly buried by later deposits of peat and alluvium which still
extend over most of the western part of the monument. The field in which they
lie has been under arable cultivation since at least 1847. Each of the
barrows was constructed with a central, circular mound of sand and gravel
which has been degraded by ploughing, except where the lower levels are still
protected by overlying alluvial deposits. These earthworks are marked by
circular areas of lighter, sandy soil, some of them still slightly mounded,
which are visible on the ground and from the air. The mounds were encircled
by ditches which have become infilled but survive as buried features, most of
them visible in aerial photographs as rings of darker soil. At least three of
the barrows include two concentric ditches. As a group, the barrows occupy an
area with maximum dimensions of 290m north west - south east by 150m north
east - south west.

At the centre of the group is the largest of the barrows and one of the most
elaborate in form. It covers an area c.68m in diameter overall, and includes
the remains of a central mound with a diameter of c.27m, surrounded by a very
broad ditch, or more probably a berm and ditch, measuring 10m - 12m in width,
with an encircling bank and outer ditch. A rectangular pit measuring c.19m by
8m, visible in air photographs as an area of dark soil, has been dug into the
centre of the mound. Approximately 23m to the south east of this focal
earthwork are the remains of a smaller barrow with an overall diameter of
c.40m, including a central mound, encircled by two concentric ditches. To the
south west of it, at a distance of c.55m, is a mound with a single surrounding
ditch, c.26m in diameter overall, the southernmost and largest of four barrows
which delimit the western extent of the monument. The mounds of the other
three, which measure c.16m in diameter, show clearly through the surrounding
alluvium and are set in a line roughly NNW - SSE at intervals of c.57m, c.37m,
and c.12m respectively, the northernmost being c.135m north west of the large
central barrow. Three more are set in line ESE of the northernmost barrow, at
intervals of c.36m, c.35m and c.65m. The first of these has a small central
mound surrounded by a broad ditch or berm and ditch and a concentric bank and
outer ditch, and covers an area c.27m in diameter overall. The second, c.30m
north west of the central barrow, is c.18m in diameter and has a single ditch
with the traces of what appears to be an external bank, and the third, c.20m
north east of the central barrow, is marked by a ring ditch c.33m in diameter.
To the north east and east of latter, at a distance of c.15m and c.29m
respectively, are the remaining two barrows of the group of eleven, marked by
ring ditches c.27m and c.23m in diameter. Borehole sampling across the
second of these has shown that the base of the central mound, the surface
underlying it and probably some of the buried ground surface surrounding it,
survive beneath the ploughsoil. Air photographs reveal the presence of a large
rectangular pit, measuring c.10m by 6m, dug into the mound slightly
A further four barrows, which formed part of the same original cemetery, are
the subject of a separate scheduling centred 300m to the 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

Round barrow cemeteries date to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They comprise
closely-spaced groups of up to 30 round barrows - rubble or earthen mounds
covering single or multiple burials. Most cemeteries developed over a
considerable period of time, often many centuries, and in some cases acted as
a focus for burials as late as the early medieval period. They exhibit
considerable diversity of burial rite, plan and form, frequently including
several different types of round barrow, occasionally associated with earlier
long barrows. Where large scale investigation has been undertaken around them,
contemporary or later "flat" burials between the barrow mounds have often been
revealed. Round barrow cemeteries occur across most of lowland Britain, with a
marked concentration in Wessex. In some cases, they are clustered around other
important contemporary monuments such as henges. Often occupying prominent
locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape, whilst
their diversity and their longevity as a monument type provide important
information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst early
prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period
and a substantial proportion of surviving or partly-surviving examples are
considered worthy of protection.

The group of barrows and ring ditches 530m south east of Barlings Abbey
constitute the greater part of a cemetery of at least 15 barrows and display a
variety of forms, including one fancy barrow of exceptional size. The
individual barrows and the cemetery as a whole retain important archaeological
information, despite the fact that the upstanding earthworks have been
ploughed over. The barrow mounds survive well, together with the broadly
contemporary ground surface between them, beneath the protective cover of
later alluvial deposits. Evaluation of the remains of one of the barrows on
the eastern side has shown that basal deposits relating to the mounds and
underlying surface survive undisturbed. Evidence concerning the construction
of the barrows and the manner and duration of their use will be preserved in
the lower levels of the surviving mounds, in the soils buried beneath the
mounds, and in the infills of the buried ditches. Organic material, including
evidence for the local environment at that time, will be preserved, also, in
waterlogged deposits in the ditches, and the preservation of the ground
surface between the barrows, especially in the western part of the site,
ensures the survival of evidence important for the study of the development
and use of the cemetery as a whole. The cemetery is one of four which have
been recorded on the edge of the Witham fens.

Source: Historic England


Dossier for H B M C, Fenland Evaluation Project: Lincolnshire, (1990)
Dossier for H B M C, Fenland Evaluation Project: Lincolnshire, (1990)
Dossier for H B M C, Fenland Evaluation Project: Lincolnshire, (1990)

Source: Historic England

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