Ancient Monuments

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Four bowl barrows 920m and 950m south east of Heath Farm, part of a dispersed round barrow cemetery in Charterhouse Plantation

A Scheduled Monument in Fulbourn, Cambridgeshire

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Latitude: 52.1523 / 52°9'8"N

Longitude: 0.2453 / 0°14'42"E

OS Eastings: 553705.481899

OS Northings: 252827.924913

OS Grid: TL537528

Mapcode National: GBR M9K.2TD

Mapcode Global: VHHKK.65JB

Entry Name: Four bowl barrows 920m and 950m south east of Heath Farm, part of a dispersed round barrow cemetery in Charterhouse Plantation

Scheduled Date: 17 December 1982

Last Amended: 6 October 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017326

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33344

County: Cambridgeshire

Civil Parish: Fulbourn

Traditional County: Cambridgeshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cambridgeshire

Church of England Parish: Balsham Holy Trinity

Church of England Diocese: Ely


The monument includes four bowl barrows 920m and 950m south east of Heath Farm
on the east side of the Newmarket to London road (A11), within two areas of
protection. The mounds of three barrows survive as prominent earthworks, while
the south easternmost is visible as a slight rise. The ditches, from which
earth was dug in the construction of the mounds, have become infilled over the
years but will survive as buried features.

The southernmost mound is situated 920m south east of Heath Farm and measures
25m in diameter with a height of 1.5m. Approximately 40m north east is the
second area of protection, consisting of another mound of approximately 17.5m
in diameter and standing to a height of 0.5m. The northernmost mound measures
21m in diameter and is 1m high. To the east, in the adjacent field, lies a
mound that has been partly levelled by ploughing but survives as a slight
earthwork. It has a diameter of 30m and a height of 0.4m. The encircling
ditches are no longer visible but are thought to survive below ground. These
are believed to be 3m wide.

In 1848 the three westernmost barrows were partly excavated, revealing, in one
of them, two basin shaped cists, cut out of the natural chalk. Each cist
contained an inverted cinerary urn covering a cremated burial, which in one
case was wrapped in coarse cloth and fastened with a bronze pin. Excavated
evidence suggests that fires had been lit within the cists. Charcoal from the
funerary pile and burnt oxen bones were found throughout the mound. The other
barrows contained Bronze Age interments without cists, accompanied by flint
flakes and sheep and oxen bones. One was reused as a burial place during the
Roman period.

The bowl barrows are situated near the course of the prehistoric Icknield Way,
over which the Romans later built a road. The course of the Roman road is now
followed by the A11. This barrow group is part of a dispersed round barrow
cemetery in Charterhouse Plantation. Although most barrows in this cemetery
are known from documentary evidence only, 300m to the south east lies another
bowl barrow, which survives as an earthwork and is the subject of a separate
scheduling (SM 33353).

All fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath
them is included.

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

Round barrow cemeteries date to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They comprise
closely-spaced groups of up to 30 round barrows - rubble or earthen mounds
covering single or multiple burials. Most cemeteries developed over a
considerable period of time, often many centuries, and in some cases acted as
a focus for burials as late as the early medieval period. They exhibit
considerable diversity of burial rite, plan and form, frequently including
several different types of round barrow, occasionally associated with earlier
long barrows. Where large scale investigation has been undertaken around them,
contemporary or later "flat" burials between the barrow mounds have often been
revealed. Round barrow cemeteries occur across most of lowland Britain, with a
marked concentration in Wessex. In some cases, they are clustered around other
important contemporary monuments such as henges. Often occupying prominent
locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape, whilst
their diversity and their longevity as a monument type provide important
information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst early
prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period
and a substantial proportion of surviving or partly-surviving examples are
considered worthy of protection.

The four bowl barrows 920m and 950m south east of Heath Farm, part of a
dispersed round barrow cemetery in Charterhouse Plantation survive as
substantial earthworks, with associated buried features. They are
exceptionally well preserved, and form part of an extensive area of burial
mounds scattered upon the chalk uplands of north Hertfordshire and south
Cambridgeshire. This barrow group is one of the most visible indicators of
prehistoric activity in the region and therefore a focus for the study of
prehistoric society. Partial excavation of these barrows in the previous
century provides insights into the internal structure of barrows, Bronze Age
burial customs, and funerary ritual while significant archaeological deposits
have been left intact. The reuse of one of the mounds during the Roman period
highlights its continued importance as a local landmark through the centuries.

Source: Historic England

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