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Ash Hill long barrow in Swinhope Park

A Scheduled Monument in Swinhope, Lincolnshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.448 / 53°26'52"N

Longitude: -0.1811 / 0°10'52"W

OS Eastings: 520892.588367

OS Northings: 396120.597738

OS Grid: TF208961

Mapcode National: GBR WX5K.LQ

Mapcode Global: WHHJB.6L0K

Entry Name: Ash Hill long barrow in Swinhope Park

Scheduled Date: 30 August 1934

Last Amended: 2 January 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013886

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27854

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Swinhope

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Swinhope St Helen

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln

Details

The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of an Early Neolithic
long barrow located 80m above sea level on the west side of the Swinhope
valley, about 500m south west of Swinhope Hall. The barrow mound is aligned
NNE-SSW and is roughly trapezoidal measuring approximately 42m long by 17m
wide at the northern end, narrowing to 10m at the south. The mound is c.2.25m
high at the north, sloping gently away to the south.
In 1986 limited archaeological investigations were carried out which
demonstrated the existence of a ditch c.1.5m deep, varying in width from c.1m
- 4m from which material for the mound was quarried. Finds from the ditch
included worked flint, Neolithic pottery and animal bone. A bone sample was
radiocarbon dated to 3945 - 3690 BC, confirming the barrow's construction in
the Early Neolithic period. An oval pit measuring c.52cm by 42cm,
approximately 11cm deep was discovered c.3.5m west of the western edge of the
quarry ditch. This pit was found to contain Neolithic and Beaker pottery
sherds together with a quantity of worked flint. Roman pottery was also
discovered in the upper fills of the quarry ditch. An intrusive burial of
human remains had been made at the north western end of the mound. These
remains were radiocarbon dated to the 10th or 11th century AD, indicating
deposition during the Anglo-Scandinavian period.
Ash Hill long barrow lies about 1km to the north west of two further long
barrows on Hoe Hill which are the subjects of separate schedulings.
The made surface of the adjacent estate road together with the remains of
structures associated with Binbrooke air base are excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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, generally with
flanking ditches. They acted as funerary monuments during the Early and Middle
Neolithic periods (3400-2400 BC), representing the burial places of Britain's
early farming communities, and as such are amongst the oldest field monuments
surviving 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 activities preceding the construction of the barrow mound,
including ditched enclosures containing structures related to various rituals
of burial. It is probable, therefore, that long barrows acted as important
spiritual sites for their local communities over considerable periods of time.
The long barrows of the Lincolnshire Wolds and their adjacent regions have
been identified as a distinct regional grouping of monuments in which the
flanking ditches are continued around the ends of the barrow mound, either
continuously or broken by a single causeway towards one end. More than 60
examples of this type of monument are known; a small number of these survive
as earthworks, but the great majority of sites are known as cropmarks and
soilmarks recorded on aerial photographs where no mound is evident at the
surface.
Not all Lincolnshire long barrows include mounds. Current limited
understanding of the processes of Neolithic mortuary ritual in Lincolnshire is
that the large barrow mound represents the final phase of construction which
was not reached by all mortuary monuments. Many of the sites where only the
ditched enclosure is known have been interpreted as representing monuments
which had fully evolved mounds, but in which the mound itself has been
degraded or removed by subsequent agricultural activity. In a minority of
cases, however, the ditched enclosure will represent a monument which never
developed a burial mound.
As a distinctive regional grouping of one of the few types of Neolithic
monuments known, these sites are of great value. They were all in use over a
great period of time and are thus highly representive of changing cultures of
the peoples who built and maintained them. All forms of long barrow on the
Lincolnshire Wolds and its adjacent regions are therefore considered to be of
national importance and all examples with significant surviving remains are
considered worthy of protection.

Ash Hill long barrow survives as a substantial earthwork only minimally
disturbed by archaeological investigations, which have served to provide
valuable information regarding the construction and dating of the mound and
the quarry ditch. The pit deposit discovered in the buried ground surface
beyond the quarry ditch together with Roman pottery found in the upper fills
of the ditch demonstrates that the monument continued to be a focus of
attention and activity after its main phase of use, and the discovery and
dating of the skeletons from the inserted burial at the north end provides
evidence that the barrow retained significance as late as the period of
Danish occupation. Rare archaeological evidence will survive within and below
the mound and in the ditch relating to the chronological sequence of the
burial practices and to the mound's construction. Organic material surviving
under the mound and within the ditch will preserve valuable environmental
information relating to the nature of the landscape in which the monument was
set. The association of Ash Hill long barrow with other similar monuments in
the vicinity is of particular significance, posing wider questions about the
nature of Neolithic settlement in the area. These monuments, together with
those at Thorganby and Ash Holt, Cuxwold, form a group associated with the
valley of the Waithe Beck.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Phillips, P, 'BAR' in Archaeology and Landscape Studies in North Lincolnshire, , Vol. 208(i), (1989)

Source: Historic England

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