Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Moor Farm bowl barrow

A Scheduled Monument in Isleham, Cambridgeshire

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Latitude: 52.3343 / 52°20'3"N

Longitude: 0.3778 / 0°22'40"E

OS Eastings: 562109.63285

OS Northings: 273346.675152

OS Grid: TL621733

Mapcode National: GBR N8R.LC7

Mapcode Global: VHJG3.HLLF

Entry Name: Moor Farm bowl barrow

Scheduled Date: 8 June 1981

Last Amended: 30 August 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015010

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27168

County: Cambridgeshire

Civil Parish: Isleham

Traditional County: Cambridgeshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cambridgeshire

Church of England Parish: Fordham St Peter and St Mary Magdalene

Church of England Diocese: Ely


The monument includes a Bronze Age bowl barrow located 90m to the north east
of Moor Farm, near the tip of a low spur of land flanked by old water courses
to the east and west. To the north, the ground descends gently towards the
southern edge of Soham Fen and the course of the now extinct River Snail.
The barrow mound stands in pasture and measures 24m in diameter and 0.8m high.
Slight variations in vegetation around the foot of the mound are thought to
indicate the presence of a buried ditch, from which material would have been
quarried for its construction. The barrow is unexcavated, although the
surrounding area has produced considerable evidence for prehistoric activity
across the margins of the fen. Large numbers of flint tools, working flakes
and fire-cracked flints were recovered during recent fieldwork along the
course of the River Snail, indicating extensive activity during the Neolithic
period (c.3500-2000 BC). The Moor Farm barrow demonstrates continuing activity
into the Bronze Age, activity which is also reflected by the discovery of
barbed and tanged flint arrowheads in the vicinity and, most notably, by the
discovery of the largest metalwork hoard in western Europe at Chalk Farm, 1km
to the east, in 1959.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments
dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most
examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as
earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple
burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often
acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Often superficially similar,
although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form
and a diversity of burial practices. There are over 10,000 surviving bowl
barrows recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring
across most of lowland Britain. Often occupying prominent locations, they are
a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable
variation of form and longevity as a monument type provide important
information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early
prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period
and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of

The bowl barrow to the north east of Moor Farm survives well. The mound will
contain undisturbed archaeological evidence illustrating the method of
construction, the date and duration of the monument's use, and the character
of early burial practices. The old ground surface beneath the mound, together
with the silts of the surrounding ditch, will provide important environmental
evidence, illustrating the appearance of the landscape in which the monument
was set and contributing to the wider study of prehistoric land use on the
margins of the fen.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Malim, T, Archaeology on the Cambridgeshire County Farms Estate, (1990), 47
Gdaniec, K, 'Fenland Research' in Drawing Lines through Sites: the Isleham-Ely Water Pipeline, , Vol. 8, (1993), 20-25

Source: Historic England

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