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Neolithic long barrow in Beacon Plantation

A Scheduled Monument in Walmsgate, Lincolnshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.2777 / 53°16'39"N

Longitude: 0.0563 / 0°3'22"E

OS Eastings: 537203.799308

OS Northings: 377605.545605

OS Grid: TF372776

Mapcode National: GBR XZTJ.ZR

Mapcode Global: WHHK6.TWZ4

Entry Name: Neolithic long barrow in Beacon Plantation

Scheduled Date: 28 November 1934

Last Amended: 22 December 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013888

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27860

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Walmsgate

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Legbourne All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln

Details

The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a Neolithic long
barrow located in a small spinney known as Beacon Plantation situated 73m
above sea level on the north side of the A16 Spilsby-Louth road, c.1km south
east of Walmsgate. It is aligned south east-north west and is the largest of
the earthwork Lincolnshire long barrows, being approximately 83.3m long by a
maximum of 19.4m wide. At the south eastern end it stands to a height of
2.15m, tailing off to the north west. The surface of the mound has been
disturbed at the south eastern end where a shallow depression of about 0.25m
occupies almost the whole of this area. This depression may have been caused
by the construction of a medieval beacon from which the plantation takes its
name. The mound width reduces rapidly, giving the barrow a tadpole-like shape.
It is traversed by saddles, the first approximately 26m from the south eastern
end and the second c.21m from the north western end. Two semicircular
platforms occur along the south western flank, the first being approximately
8m across, and situated close to the north western end. The second measures
c.11m across and is situated immediately to the south east of the north
western saddle. From here the tail of the barrow changes axis in a westerly
direction, a feature which has been noted at Giant's Hills long barrow,
Skendleby and also at Thorganby. The monument stands approximately 600m north
east of the prehistoric trackway now formalised as the Bluestone Heath Road,
and on the eastern side of the valley of one of the tributaries of the Great
Eau.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 12 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.

The Neolithic long barrow in Beacon Plantation is the largest example of
extant Lincolnshire long barrows. The monument is well preserved, and while
the two saddles which cross the mound were previously believed to indicate
excavation, it is now thought that they represent the positions of internal
structures which have collapsed. The monument will retain rare and valuable
archaeological information relating to the sequence of burial rites and the
dating and method of construction. Organic material retained in and under the
mound and in the ditch fills will preserve environmental evidence concerning
the nature of the landscape in which the monument was set.
The long barrow's situation near a prehistoric trackway, conforms to the
typical location of long barrows in this area. Its position on the eastern
side of the valley of a tributary of the Great Eau is particularly significant
in this respect. It is clearly visible from the adjacent highway providing
visitors with a graphic example of this class of funerary monument.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Phillips, C W, 'Archaeological Journal' in The Long Barrows of Lincolnshire, , Vol. 89, (1933), 187-189
Other
Discussion with local landowner, Hudson, J, (1995)

Source: Historic England

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