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Neolithic long barrow 280m south of Burgh Top Farm

A Scheduled Monument in South Willingham, Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 53.3478 / 53°20'51"N

Longitude: -0.1794 / 0°10'45"W

OS Eastings: 521293.453784

OS Northings: 384975.648052

OS Grid: TF212849

Mapcode National: GBR WY5Q.YM

Mapcode Global: WHHJX.63VV

Entry Name: Neolithic long barrow 280m south of Burgh Top Farm

Scheduled Date: 28 November 1934

Last Amended: 9 May 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013904

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27877

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: South Willingham

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Asterby Group

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument includes the earthwork remains of a Neolithic long barrow located
130m above sea level below the summit of a plateau overlooking the valley of
the River Bain, some 280m south of Burgh Top Farm. The mound, which is aligned
WSW-ENE, measures approximately 27m long by 13.5m wide and is roughly oval in
shape. At the western end the height is 2.2m, reducing to 1.5m over the length
of the mound, giving it a whale-back profile. A quantity of worked flint has
been found in the vicinity of the barrow indicating prehistoric activity on
and around the monument. Material for the mound would have been quarried from
an encircling ditch. This ditch is not now visible, but is thought to survive
buried beneath the present ground surface.
The long barrow is one of a number of Neolithic and Bronze Age burial mounds
associated with the valley of the River Bain and with High Street (the B1225)
which originated as a prehistoric trackway and which is situated c.100m to the

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 7 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.

Burgh Top long barrow is a substantial and prominent earthwork clearly visible
from the public highway to the west. It remains largely undisturbed and will,
therefore, retain good archaeological deposits beneath the mound and in the
fills of the ditch. These will provide rare and valuable information regarding
the dating and construction of the barrow and the sequence of burial ritual
at the site. Environmental evidence will be preserved in the same deposits,
illustrating the appearance of the landscape in which the monument was set.
The monument's association with a number of other Neolithic and Bronze Age
burial mounds and with the adjacent prehistoric trackway poses wider questions
concerning the ritual significance of the landscape above the River Bain and
has valuable implications for the study of demography and settlement patterns
during the prehistoric period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Phillips, C W, 'Archaeological Journal' in The Long Barrows of Lincolnshire, , Vol. 89, (1933), 198-99

Source: Historic England

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