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Long mortuary enclosure and round barrow 160m south west of Frame Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Feering, Essex

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.8525 / 51°51'8"N

Longitude: 0.7101 / 0°42'36"E

OS Eastings: 586747.253625

OS Northings: 220568.776698

OS Grid: TL867205

Mapcode National: GBR QKN.SF4

Mapcode Global: VHKG2.8P8R

Entry Name: Long mortuary enclosure and round barrow 160m south west of Frame Farm

Scheduled Date: 29 October 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017230

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32415

County: Essex

Civil Parish: Feering

Built-Up Area: Feering

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex

Church of England Parish: Feering All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Chelmsford

Details

The monument includes the buried remains of a Neolithic mortuary enclosure and
adjacent round barrow located some 500m north west of Feering village and 160m
south west of Frame Farm, sitting on the northern slope of the Blackwater
river valley.

Although the long mortuary enclosure and round barrow are no longer visible on
the ground, their infilled ditches can be seen from the air as cropmarks.
These cropmarks (areas of enhanced crop growth resulting from higher levels of
moisture retained by the underlying archaeological features) were first
identified on aerial photographs dating from the 1970s and the site has since
been targeted by aerial survey, showing up particularly well in the dry summer
of 1996.

The long mortuary enclosure is defined by a fairly narrow oblong ditch with
rounded corners, enclosing an area some 70m long by 25m wide; a 4m break in
the ditch circuit at its south western end, facing the river, represents its
entrance.

Originally the long mortuary enclosure would have had an internal bank created
by the upcast from the excavation of the ditch, but this has long since been
reduced by ploughing. A number of pit-like features have been observed as
cropmarks within its internal area, and some of these may be related to the
enclosure.

The round barrow is situated some 10m to the south east of the long mortuary
enclosure and is about 25m in diameter, with a distinctive, narrow encircling
ditch. Internal pit-like features are visible on some aerial photographs
showing as cropmarks and are likely to mark the position of primary and
secondary burials.

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 mortuary enclosures are oblong-shaped enclosures up to 150m in length,
surrounded by narrow, fairly straight ditches with slightly rounded corners,
containing an open space edged by a perimeter bank set within the ditch.
Characteristically there are two or more major causeways across the ditch
which served as entrances. Most long mortuary enclosures are orientated
within 45 degrees of an east-west alignment. Long mortuary enclosures are
generally associated with human burials dated to the Early and Middle
Neolithic periods (c.3200-2500 BC). There are approximately 35 examples
recorded in England. The greatest concentration lies in Essex and Suffolk,
but there are also examples along the Thames and in Warwickshire along the
Avon; two isolated examples have been recorded in Northumberland. Long
mortuary enclosures are very rare nationally and all surviving examples are
considered worthy of protection.

Round barrows 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 mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered
single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as
cemeteries and often acted as a focus of burials in later periods. They are a
major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable
variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide important
information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early
prehistoric communities.

Although the long mortuary enclosure and adjacent barrow 160m south west of
Frame Farm are no longer visible on the ground, archaeological deposits will
survive as buried features and will contain evidence relating to the dating of
their construction, period of use and the changing ritual beliefs and
practices of its builders. Environmental evidence preserved in the buried
ground surfaces and in the fills of the ditch and internal features may
illustrate the nature of the landscape in which the long mortuary enclosure
was set.

The relationship between the two features is of particular importance. If the
enclosure and the barrow are contemporaneous, the mortuary enclosure could
have been the site of the Neolithic funerary ritual before the burial of the
remains in the adjacent barrow. The ritual is thought to have been to expose
the bodies to the elements prior to interment, possibly on platforms. If the
mortuary enclosure and barrow prove not to be contemporaneous, their
association is nonetheless still important as it demonstrates the continued
use of the site as an area for ritual and burial over a substantial period of
time.

Long mortuary enclosures are rare monuments and this example with an
associated barrow is potentially highly informative.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Strachan, D, Essex From The Air, (1998), p12
'Colchester Arch. Group Annual Bulletin' in Recently Discovered Cropmarks, , Vol. 19, (1976)
Farrands, R H, McMaster, I, 'Colchester Arch. Group Bulletin' in Recently Discovered Cropmarks, , Vol. 19, (1976)
Other
1:10000, Strachan, D, TL82SE, (1994)
Black/white prints, CUC, BXN 38, 39, (1976)
Black/white prints, Farrands, RH, 130.3-4, (1975)
colour prints, Rogers, P, 149/14, 15, 17, 18, (1990)
colour prints, Strachan, D, CP/96/40/1,3, (1996)
colour prints, Strachan, D, CP/96/40/1,3, (1996)
colour prints, Tyler, S, CP/97/29/18, 19, (1997)
NMP 1:10000 plot, Strachan, D, TL82SE, (1994)
Ordnance Survey Card, Ordnance Survey, TL 82 SE 37, (1976)
Ordnance Survey Card, Ordnance Survey, TL 82 SE 37, (1976)

Source: Historic England

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