Ancient Monuments

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Monk's Hole barrow, 630m NNE of Monk's Wood Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Sawtry, Cambridgeshire

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Latitude: 52.4041 / 52°24'14"N

Longitude: -0.252 / 0°15'7"W

OS Eastings: 519012.169516

OS Northings: 279894.938265

OS Grid: TL190798

Mapcode National: GBR J1T.93M

Mapcode Global: VHGLG.LT4V

Entry Name: Monk's Hole barrow, 630m NNE of Monk's Wood Farm

Scheduled Date: 30 August 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015007

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27165

County: Cambridgeshire

Civil Parish: Sawtry

Traditional County: Huntingdonshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cambridgeshire

Church of England Parish: Sawtry All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Ely


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a Bronze Age saucer
barrow known as `Monk's Hole' located in an arable field near the base of the
north facing slope of Stangate Hill, 700m to the east of the Great North Road
(A1) and 630m NNE of Monk's Wood Farm.
The central mound measures approximately 18m in diameter and survives to a
height of 1m. This is surrounded by a narrow platform or berm, 2m in width,
which is in turn encircled by a substantial ditch from which the material for
the mound was quarried. The ditch is now largely infilled, although it can
still be seen as a broad depression, c.0.6m deep and 8m wide, containing
darker soil than its surroundings. The southern arc of the ditch is flanked by
an external bank. This measures some 10m in width and 0.5m in height, and
merges into a natural crest running across the northern side of the barrow.
The barrow is considered to be Bronze Age in date, although fragments of
Romano-British pottery have been retrieved from the surface of the monument
and from a wider area to the north west. This material may relate to a
rectangular ditched enclosure, recorded by aerial photography, which measures
c.50m by 80m and abuts the western perimeter of the barrow. A margin, 10m in
width, is included in the scheduling around this side of the barrow in order
to protect the archaeological relationship between these two features.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Saucer barrows are funerary monuments of the Early Bronze Age, most examples
dating to between 1800 and l200 BC. They occur either in isolation or in
barrow cemeteries (closely-spaced groups of round barrows). They were
constructed as a circular area of level ground defined by a bank and internal
ditch and largely occupied by a single low, squat mound covering one or more
burials, usually in a pit. The burials, either inhumations or cremations, are
sometimes accompanied by pottery vessels, tools and personal ornaments. Saucer
barrows are one of the rarest recognised forms of round barrow, with about 60
known examples nationally, most of which are in Wessex. The presence of grave
goods within the barrows provides important evidence for chronological and
cultural links amongst prehistoric communities over a wide area of southern
England as well as providing an insight into their beliefs and social
organisation. As a rare and fragile form of round barrow, all identified
saucer barrows would normally be considered to be of national importance.

Although reduced by cultivation, the Monk's Hole saucer barrow survives as a
visible earthwork and will retain highly significant archaeological
information. Funerary remains will be preserved in buried features beneath the
mound, illustrating the function of the monument and the beliefs of the
community which built it. Further remains, funerary and otherwise, may also be
found in the fills of the surrounding ditch, in the area of the berm and
within and below the outer bank. Environmental evidence, illustrating the
appearance of the landscape in which the barrow was set, will be preserved on
the buried ground surface beneath the mound and bank, and the lower fills of
the ditch are also particularly important in this respect.

Source: Historic England


AP notes: SMR 0819 (A), Palmer, R, Monks Holes, (1990)
Conversation with landowner, Nichols,, Monk's Hole Field, (1995)
Copy held at Cambs SMR, JB, Ordnance Survey Antiquity Model Record Card, (1971)
CUCAP (1971-6) plotted by R Palmer, BHI-11-12, BNG-44, RC8-AK 252-5, RC8-BJ 32-3, RC8-KD 56-7,

Source: Historic England

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