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Neolithic long barrow, 720m east of Otby House

A Scheduled Monument in Walesby, Lincolnshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.4268 / 53°25'36"N

Longitude: -0.276 / 0°16'33"W

OS Eastings: 514645.821481

OS Northings: 393610.597135

OS Grid: TF146936

Mapcode National: GBR VXJT.19

Mapcode Global: WHHJG.Q4R7

Entry Name: Neolithic long barrow, 720m east of Otby House

Scheduled Date: 23 February 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013922

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27873

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Walesby

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Walesby St Mary and All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln

Details

The monument includes the buried remains of a Neolithic long barrow located
160m above sea level below the summit of a plateau on the western side of the
valley of the Otby Beck, 720m east of Otby House. Although the monument is not
visible on the ground it has been recorded on aerial photographs as a soilmark
representing the buried archaeological deposits. The central area is roughly
rectangular in plan with concave sides and rounded ends and measures
approximately 50m by 30m. The mound which would have covered this area has
been degraded by ploughing and is thought to be overlain by medieval ridge
and furrow cultivation, but it is considered that the remains of pits and
structures associated with funerary rituals carried out before the mound was
built, will survive as archaeological features beneath the present ground
surface. Air photographic evidence indicates that the monument was encircled
by a substantial ditch broken by a causeway to the north west. This ditch form
is characteristic of the elaborated type of Lincolnshire long barrow which
began with the delineation of an enclosure set aside for mortuary activities.
When the rituals enacted within the enclosure were completed, it was covered
with a mound, the material for which was quarried from the surrounding ditch.
The air photographic evidence shows thickening of the side ditches. This is
thought to indicate that they were recut at least once, an activity which
suggests that the monument remained a focus of attention for a long period
after it was built.
The long barrow is one of a large number of similar monuments associated with
the Otby Beck is located c.500m to the west of High Street which originated
as a prehistoric trackway.

MAP EXTRACT
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
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.

Although the long barrow has been degraded by ploughing, rare and
valuable archaeological deposits will survive beneath the present ground
surface and in the fills of the buried ditch. These will contain 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
deposits will contain information on the nature of the landscape in which the
monument was constructed and used. The long barrow's proximity to a number of
similar monuments associated with the Otby Beck and with the prehistoric
trackway now formalised as High Street is indicative of the ritual
significance of the location and poses wider questions concerning
communications during the Neolithic period. The frequency of these monuments
in this area has wider implications for the study of prehistoric demography
and settlement patterns.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Renfrew, C, Before Civilization, (1973), 146-51
Phillips, C W, 'Archaeologia' in Excavation of Giants' Hills Long Barrow, Skendleby, Lincs., , Vol. 85, (1936), 37-106
Other
oblique monochrome photographs, Everson, P, 2964/16, 17, (1980)

Source: Historic England

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