Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Long barrow at South Fen, 180m south east of Between Ditches Drove

A Scheduled Monument in Sutton, Cambridgeshire

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Latitude: 52.3782 / 52°22'41"N

Longitude: 0.0865 / 0°5'11"E

OS Eastings: 542119.186348

OS Northings: 277617.327542

OS Grid: TL421776

Mapcode National: GBR L53.YGS

Mapcode Global: VHHJ9.GH28

Entry Name: Long barrow at South Fen, 180m south east of Between Ditches Drove

Scheduled Date: 15 December 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009994

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20806

County: Cambridgeshire

Civil Parish: Sutton

Traditional County: Cambridgeshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cambridgeshire

Church of England Parish: Sutton St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Ely


The monument includes a long barrow, located on a gravel terrace to the east
of the old course of the River Ouse and largely buried beneath later deposits
of marine clay and peat. The barrow is marked on the modern ground surface by
a low, spread mound of lighter coloured, slightly sandy soil, approximately
0.4m in height and covering an area with dimensions of approximately 55m north
east - south west by 27m north west - south east. Below this, underlying the
peat and clay, is an earthen mound which, according to measurements taken by
means of borehole samples, is approximately 18m wide, stands to a height of
1.2m above the original ground surface, and is surrounded by a ditch
approximately 5m wide and 0.8m deep in relation to the same surface. The ditch
contains waterlogged deposits, covered and sealed by the marine clay which
was deposited early in the Bronze Age.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 4 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 at South Fen survives exceptionally well, having been
protected by the overlying fen deposits of clay and peat, and will contain a
wide range of archaeological information. Evidence for timber structures will
be preserved in the mound and the soils buried beneath it, in addition to
evidence relating to activity on the site, the manner and duration of use of
the barrow, and the construction of the mound. Organic material contemporary
with the barrow, including evidence of the local environment at that time,
will be preserved in the waterlogged deposits in the ditches. The survival
also, beneath the overlying deposits, of a contemporary ground surface
surrounding the barrow, is very unusual. The barrow has additional interest
as one of a group of several monuments of Neolithic date which have been
identified in the vicinity, including another long barrow at Foulmire Fen,
Haddenham, approximately 1km to the south west, and two large earthwork
enclosures at Haddenham and at Horseley Fen, Chatteris, respectively.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hall, D N, Palmer, R, Fenland Evaluation Project: Cambridgeshire, (1990)
Shand, P, Hodder, I, 'Fenland Research' in Haddenham - The Foulmire Fen Long Barrow, , Vol. 5, (1988), 2-6
Shand, P, Hodder, I, 'Fenland Research' in Haddenham Project - The Long Barrow, , Vol. 4, (1987), 36-38
Hall, DN, (1993)

Source: Historic England

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