Ancient Monuments

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Neolithic long barrow 290m south of Cowdyke Plantation

A Scheduled Monument in Thoresway, Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 53.4356 / 53°26'7"N

Longitude: -0.2683 / 0°16'5"W

OS Eastings: 515135.978476

OS Northings: 394593.140921

OS Grid: TF151945

Mapcode National: GBR VXKQ.Q5

Mapcode Global: WHHJ8.VXD3

Entry Name: Neolithic long barrow 290m south of Cowdyke Plantation

Scheduled Date: 21 May 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013906

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27886

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Thoresway

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Stainton-le-Vale St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument includes the buried remains of a Neolithic long barrow located
150m above sea level on an east facing slope of the Waithe Beck Valley.
Although the monument cannot be seen on the ground it is clearly visible as a
soilmark on aerial photographs. It appears as an elongated, slightly wedge
shaped oblong enclosure aligned east-west, delineated by an infilled ditch
measuring c.40m long by 20m wide. The eastern end of the ditch is wider and
more rectilinear in plan than that to the west and the circuit is unbroken, a
form thought to indicate a simpler type of this monument class. The ditched
enclosure is believed to have been a focus for mortuary activities, including
the exposure of human remains and the remains of structures and deposits
associated with these activities will survive as buried features.
The long barrow is one of a group of similar monuments associated with the
valley of the Waithe Beck and with High Street (the B1225) which originated as
a prehistoric trackway.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 5 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.

Although the long barrow south of Cowdyke Plantation cannot be seen on the
ground, its survival in good condition beneath the present ground surface is
clearly apparent from air photography. Valuable archaeological deposits will
survive within the ditch and on the buried ground surface. These will
illustrate the period and construction of the monument and the sequence of
burial ritual at this site. Environmental evidence will also be retained in
these deposits and will contain information relating to the appearance of the
landscape in which the monument was set.
The long barrow is one of a group of similar monuments associated with the
valley of the Waithe Beck and with the prehistoric trackway now known as High
Street. These associations pose wider questions concerning not only the ritual
significance of the chosen locations of these barrows but also the patterns of
Neolithic settlement on the Lincolnshire Wolds.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Phillips, C W, 'Archaeologia' in Excavation of Giants' Hills Long Barrow, Skendleby, Lincs., , Vol. 85, (1936), 37-106
discussion, Jones, D, (1995)
oblique monochrome photograph, Everson, P, 2955/36, (1978)

Source: Historic England

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