Ancient Monuments

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Neolithic long barrow 575m NNW of Moon Wood, one of a pair of long barrows known as Deadmen's Graves

A Scheduled Monument in Claxby St Andrew, Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 53.2252 / 53°13'30"N

Longitude: 0.1619 / 0°9'42"E

OS Eastings: 544422.70797

OS Northings: 371981.081585

OS Grid: TF444719

Mapcode National: GBR KTY.ZQ3

Mapcode Global: WHJLS.G6B9

Entry Name: Neolithic long barrow 575m NNW of Moon Wood, one of a pair of long barrows known as Deadmen's Graves

Scheduled Date: 23 August 1934

Last Amended: 22 February 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013921

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27864

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Claxby St Andrew

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Willoughby St Helen

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a Neolithic long
barrow located 50m above sea level below the summit of a spur above the source
of the Burlands Beck, c.575m NNW of Moon Wood. It is one of a pair of closely
associated mounded long barrows known collectively as Deadmen's Graves. The
long barrow is aligned approximately ENE-WSW, following a contour of the hill,
which falls away steeply below this point. The mound measures approximately
53m long and its width decreases from c.14m at the east end to little more
than 1.5m at the west. The eastern end stands to a height of about 2m,
decreasing over the length of the mound to ground level. The barrow's
profile is interrupted by a saddle traversing the mound at a point some 20m
from the eastern end, a feature which is common to a number of Lincolnshire
long barrows and which may have been caused by the collapse of internal
mortuary structures. The mound is undisturbed by ploughing but, because of the
sloping nature of the field, there is an accumulation of ploughsoil against
the northern flank. No archaeological investigation is known to have taken
place and the mound is thought to be largely intact. Material for the mound
would have been quarried from an encircling causewayed ditch, and while this
ditch is no longer visible, it is thought to survive beneath the present
ground surface.
The second long barrow of this closely associated pair, which is the subject
of a separate scheduling, lies c.150m to the ESE.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 10 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 575m NNW of Moon Wood survives as a substantial
undisturbed earthwork clearly visible from the public highway. It is largely
intact and will retain rare archaeological deposits beneath the mound and in
the fills of the buried ditch. These will contain valuable information
relating to the dating and construction of the monument and the sequence of
mortuary ritual at the site. Environmental evidence preserved in the same
features will contain information on the nature of the landscape in which the
monument was constructed and used.
The long barrow is one of a closely associated pair known as Deadmen's Graves
which are thought to be the only such pair of mounded long barrows now visible
as earthworks in Lincolnshire. This close association indicates the ritual
significance of the location during the prehistoric period.

Source: Historic England

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