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Neolithic long barrow 525m north east of Valley House: one of a group known as Deadmen's Graves

A Scheduled Monument in Claxby St Andrew, Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 53.2249 / 53°13'29"N

Longitude: 0.166 / 0°9'57"E

OS Eastings: 544698.764229

OS Northings: 371949.28463

OS Grid: TF446719

Mapcode National: GBR LW9.SXP

Mapcode Global: WHJLS.J69K

Entry Name: Neolithic long barrow 525m north east of Valley House: one of a group known as Deadmen's Graves

Scheduled Date: 8 December 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017464

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27924

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Claxby St Andrew

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Willoughby St Helen

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument includes the buried remains of a Neolithic long barrow located
below the summit of a spur above the source of the Burlands Beck, some 525m
north east of Valley House. It is situated just below the crest of the slope,
following the contour of the hill, and is aligned NNE-SSW.

The long barrow, which is one of a group of similar monuments known as
Deadmen's Graves, is thought to have been a notable landscape feature during
the first half of the 19th century. Since that time, however, the mound has
been reduced by ploughing and is no longer discernible on the ground. However,
recent aerial surveys have demonstrated that it survives beneath the present
ground surface. This survival is indicated by cropmarks representing a large
portion of the buried ditch.

The full circuit of this ditch, from which material used in the construction
of the mound would have been quarried, is not visible on aerial photographs.
However, from a comparison with the other long barrows in the group and with a
wider range of similar examples, it is estimated that the ditch will measure
some 65m long by 30m wide with straight sides and rounded ends. Evidence from
more extensive aerial surveys and from excavations at other long barrow sites
in Lincolnshire indicate that the ditch is likely to be broken by a causeway
to the north. Furthermore, investigations elsewhere in the county indicate
that, although the mound has been reduced, this area, together with the fills
of the buried ditch, will contain significant mortuary, ritual and
constructional remains.

The other two long barrows in the group lie approximately 100m to the south
west and 270m WNW of the monument. Both these barrows are the subject of
separate schedulings.

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
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 mound of the long barrow 525m north east of Valley House has been
reduced by ploughing, rare and valuable archaeological remains will survive
within the fills of the buried ditch and in the old ground surface beneath the
area of the mound. These will include funerary deposits together with evidence
relating to the construction, dating and period of use of the monument, and to
the sequence of mortuary ritual at the site. Environmental evidence preserved
within the same deposits will help to illustrate the nature of the landscape
in which the monument was set.

The monument is one of a group of three closely associated long barrows known
as Deadmen's Graves. A comparison of the archaeological remains preserved at
these sites will provide invaluable insights concerning the duration of
Neolithic mortuary practices and may reveal a process of evolving ritual.
The close association of these monuments is indicative of the ritual
significance of the location and may have implications for the study of
prehistoric settlement and demography.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Allen, T, 'History of the County of Lincoln' in History of the County of Lincoln, , Vol. II, (1834), 169
Phillips, C W, 'Archaeologia' in Excavation of Giants' Hills Long Barrow, Skendleby, Lincs., , Vol. 85, (1936), 37-106
plot of cropmark, National Mapping Programme: Lincolnshire, (1992)

Source: Historic England

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