Ancient Monuments

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Ash Holt long barrow

A Scheduled Monument in Beelsby, North East Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 53.4931 / 53°29'35"N

Longitude: -0.208 / 0°12'28"W

OS Eastings: 518981.387482

OS Northings: 401088.740379

OS Grid: TA189010

Mapcode National: GBR VXZ1.RK

Mapcode Global: WHHJ3.SG4H

Entry Name: Ash Holt long barrow

Scheduled Date: 28 November 1934

Last Amended: 20 February 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013890

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27869

County: North East Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Beelsby

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Cuxwold St Nicholas

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a Neolithic long
barrow located 76m above sea level on the eastern edge of Ash Holt, a large
spinney c.1.4km east of the village of Cuxwold, and immediately to the west of
the Thorganby-Swallow road. The barrow stands at the upper end of a minor
valley running down to the Croxby and Waithe Becks. The barrow mound is
approximately 26m long and between 5m and 16m wide with a SSW-NNE alignment.
It stands to a height of about 1.5m at the wider, southern end, gradually
tailing off along its length to c.0.3m. There is evidence of some disturbance
at the southern end but it is otherwise apparently undisturbed. The quarry
ditch cannot be seen but is thought to survive buried beneath the present
ground surface. The former parish boundary respected the existence of the
mound, deviating slightly from an otherwise straight course, to include it
within Swallow parish.

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
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 Ash Holt is clearly visible from the Thorganby -
Swallow road. The monument survives well and will contain rare and valuable
archaeological deposits dating and illustrating the construction of the barrow
and the sequence of Neolithic mortuary practices on the site. Environmental
evidence will also be preserved beneath the mound and within the buried silts
of the quarry ditch, including information on the landscape in which the
barrow was constructed and used.

Ash Holt long barrow is the most northerly of a group of similar monuments
located along the valley of the Waithe Beck, an association which poses wider
questions concerning patterns of Neolithic settlement and mortuary practice.

Source: Historic England

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