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Henge and associated barrow cemetery south of Home Whin Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Shottisham, Suffolk

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Latitude: 52.0549 / 52°3'17"N

Longitude: 1.3864 / 1°23'11"E

OS Eastings: 632263.78621

OS Northings: 245024.891329

OS Grid: TM322450

Mapcode National: GBR WQV.3BM

Mapcode Global: VHLBX.ZM92

Entry Name: Henge and associated barrow cemetery south of Home Whin Farm

Scheduled Date: 26 October 1973

Last Amended: 16 January 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017632

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21394

County: Suffolk

Civil Parish: Shottisham

Traditional County: Suffolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Suffolk

Church of England Parish: Shottisham St Margaret

Church of England Diocese: St.Edmundsbury and Ipswich


The monument includes a group of ring ditches within two areas of protection.
The ring ditches are considered to be the remains of a henge and associated
round barrow cemetery, situated above a south and south west facing slope
overlooking the village of Shottisham and the valley of a small stream which
runs into the estuary of the River Deben 2.75km to the south west. Also
included is part of a rectilinear system of small fields and trackways which
lie within the same area but are of a different, probably later date. All
these survive as buried features beneath ploughsoil, producing crop marks
(produced by differential growth of crops) which have been recorded by means
of aerial photography. The ring ditches define seven roughly circular
enclosures of varying size and complexity. The earth quarried from the ditches
was used to construct upstanding earthworks such as barrow mounds, which have
since been levelled and are no longer visible on the ground surface.

Six of the circular enclosures lie within one modern field, and the most
elaborate of these, situated approximately at the centre of the northern half
of the field, displays features characteristic of a henge. It includes at
least three concentric ditches. The outer ditch circuit has a diameter of
approximately 40m and encloses a second, penannular ditch approximately 25m in
diameter with an entrance on the north side. The third and innermost ditch has
a maximum diameter of approximately 17m and is wider than the other two. The
aerial photographs show evidence for what are perhaps the remains of a ring
bank between the second and third ditches, and at the centre of the enclosure
there are traces of a circular feature approximately 7m in diameter which may
be a pit or the remains of a small mound or platform of buried turf.

About 28m to the south west of the henge, and within 10m of the track which
runs along the western boundary of the field, is a large ring ditch which is
thought to be the remains of a large round barrow of complex construction;
possibly a bell barrow or a barrow which has been successively enlarged. The
crop marks show an outer ditched enclosure with an overall diameter of around
48m, within which is a much smaller inner enclosure, located slightly to the
north of centre and measuring approximately 17m in diameter. This inner
enclosure is defined by a second ditch with a possible entrance on the south
side, and is encircled by a ring of pits which perhaps contained a setting of
upright posts. According to the evidence of the aerial photographs, the
interior of the inner enclosure was probably occupied by a mound or raised
platform of turf approximately 15m in diameter, of which the base may survive.

About 58m ENE of the henge is a ring ditch measuring approximately 13m in
diameter, identified as the remains of a small bowl barrow. Three more barrows
are represented by ring ditches set in a line north east-south west in the
southern half of the field. The easternmost in this alignment, at a distance
of about 105m south east of the henge, is a single ring ditch with a diameter
of approximately 35m. The second, which encloses an area of similar
dimensions, lies some 37m to the south west of the first. The third, about 82m
beyond this, includes concentric inner and outer ditches with diameters of
approximately 15m and 25m respectively. The ring ditch, believed to represent
the remains of a fifth round barrow, is situated about 198m WSW of the henge
and has an overall diameter of approximately 38m. Within the area enclosed by
the ditch the aerial photographs show possible evidence for the survival of
the base of a central mound approximately 21m in diameter.

The rectilinear pattern of ditches which overlies the barrow cemetery is
characteristic of a regular aggregate field system and is likely to be of
Bronze Age or later prehistoric date. There is some evidence that the barrows
and henge were still clearly visible as earthworks when the system was laid
out, since several of the field ditches are aligned on or otherwise respect
them. The field enclosures are roughly rectangular or trapezoidal in plan,
varying in size from around 50m by 100m up to 100m by 225m, and are laid out
on and at right angles to a NNE-SSW axis quite different from both the modern
field boundaries and the boundaries of an earlier field system recorded in a
survey of 1631. Running between some of the enclosures are trackways defined
by roughly parallel ditches between 5m and 10m apart.
Worked flint flakes and implements and several sherds of Bronze Age or Iron
Age pottery, found on the surface of the field during systematic field
walking, provide further evidence for prehistoric activity on the site.

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

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.

Henges are ritual or ceremonial structures which date to the Late Neolithic
period and Early Bronze Age (2800-2000 BC). They are roughly circular or oval
enclosures measuring more than 20m in diameter, surrounded by a ditch and an
external bank with one, two or four entrances to the interior. The enclosure
may have contained a variety of features, including circular settings of
stones or timber posts, pits, burials or central mounds. Henges occur
throughout most of England but are rare nationally, with about 80 known
examples. As one of the few types of Neolithic structures identified, and in
view of their comparative rarity, all henges are considered to be of national

The barrow cemetery south of Home Whin Farm contains the remains of round
barrows of varying size and construction, including at least one which
displays features characteristic of some of the rarer and more elaborate types
which are thought to be associated with the burials of aristocratic or
socially prominent individuals, and the presence of a henge within the
cemetery gives the monument even greater interest. Archaeological information
concerning the construction of the barrows and the henge, their date and
function both individually and relative to one another, and the manner and
duration of their use, will be contained in the infill of the ditches, in
features dug into the subsoil beneath the barrow mounds, and perhaps, also, in
basal deposits of the barrow mounds which may survive, and in buried soils
preserved beneath them. It is likely, also, that `flat' graves dug into the
subsoil will survive in the areas between the ring ditches.

The relationship between the barrow cemetery and the later field system is
also of great interest for the study of changing land use in the region during
the prehistoric and early historic periods, and known examples of early field
systems of this type in this part of East Anglia are particularly rare.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Martin, E A, 'East Anglian Archaeology' in The Barrows of East Anglia: Suffolk Gazetteer, , Vol. 12, (1981)
Haiward, W, Suffolk Record Office Ref JAI/54/1, (1631)
Healy, F, AM 107, (1985)
Newman, J, (1991)
Newman, J, (1991)
St Joseph, CUCAP ADK 13,
St Joseph, CUCAP AFM 30, (1962)
St Joseph, CUCAP YJ 65, 66, 68, 69, (1959)
St Joseph, CUCAP YJ 65, 66, 69, (1959)
St Joseph, CUCAP YJ 68, 69, (1959)
St Joseph, CUCAP YJ 69, (1959)

Source: Historic England

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