Ancient Monuments

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Bowl barrow cemetery on Bully Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Tathwell, Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 53.3243 / 53°19'27"N

Longitude: -0.0037 / 0°0'13"W

OS Eastings: 533057.048683

OS Northings: 382672.154523

OS Grid: TF330826

Mapcode National: GBR XZD0.Z2

Mapcode Global: WHHJZ.XPDX

Entry Name: Bowl barrow cemetery on Bully Hill

Scheduled Date: 20 February 1953

Last Amended: 12 March 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017878

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29726

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Tathwell

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Raithby St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The Bronze Age bowl barrow cemetery on Bully Hill includes seven barrows which
survive as substantial, roughly circular earthworks arranged in a line south
west to north east, following the rise of the hill. The barrows are protected
in two separate areas, the six to the south west being contained together
within one area whilst the most northerly barrow, situated towards the summit
of Bully Hill, occupies a separate area.

Distances of between 3m and 9m divide the six south western barrow mounds,
which form a compact north east to south west alignment. The mounds vary in
diameter from 12m to 26m, the two largest being in the centre of the group.
With one exception - the third barrow from the south - all stand to an average
height of 3m, with sloping sides and rounded summits.

The third barrow from the south is the largest in diameter and may originally
have been in excess of 4m high. However, antiquarian excavations have reduced
its height to no more than 2m. These excavations have cut into the north
western flank of the mound and created a large circular hollow at the centre
in an attempt to reach the primary burial. No records of this excavation have
been traced and it is not known whether the attempt was successful. The other
barrows show no significant signs of disturbance, although the most southerly
mound may have been subjected to some very minor excavation.

The seventh barrow is situated some 280m to the north east of the main group.
It has a diameter of approximately 16m and is about 3m high with a rounded
profile and uneven summit.

There is no visible evidence of any encircling quarry ditches around these
mounds, and it is possible that the smaller examples were constructed from
earth scraped from the surrounding area, with material for the larger mounds
being extracted elsewhere. However, since similar examples elsewhere in the
region are known to have ditches, it is thought that the barrows on Bully Hill
would have followed this pattern of construction. It is, therefore, believed
that the ditches will survive as infilled and buried features beneath the
present ground surface.

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

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 barrow cemetery on Bully Hill is an extremely well-preserved example of
this class of monument, and is a striking landscape feature clearly visible
from the adjacent road.

Only one barrow mound has been noticeably affected by antiquarian excavation
and the group as a whole will retain rare, undisturbed and valuable
archaeological evidence, including funerary deposits, which will provide
information relating to the date and sequence of construction, the period of
use and religious beliefs of the barrow builders.

The ground between the barrows of the south western alignment will contain
evidence for activities focussed on the barrows during and after their

Features, artefacts and environmental deposits preserved in the old ground
surfaces beneath the barrows and within the fills of the buried ditches will
further contribute to the archaeological record and may illustrate the nature
of the landscape in which the monument was set.

Source: Historic England

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