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Neolithic long barrow 680m west of Maidenwell House

A Scheduled Monument in Maidenwell, Lincolnshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.2948 / 53°17'41"N

Longitude: -0.0271 / 0°1'37"W

OS Eastings: 531591.326528

OS Northings: 379351.123313

OS Grid: TF315793

Mapcode National: GBR XZ7B.XM

Mapcode Global: WHHK5.KG90

Entry Name: Neolithic long barrow 680m west of Maidenwell House

Scheduled Date: 16 April 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018891

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29733

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Maidenwell

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Ruckland with Farforth, Maidenwell and Oxcombe S Olave

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln

Details

The monument includes the buried remains of a Neolithic long barrow some 680m
west of Maidenwell House, on the summit of a broad, flat spur overlooking the
head of a dry valley and the source of the Burwell Beck. Although the barrow
cannot be seen on the ground, its infilled and buried ditch is clearly visible
from the air as a cropmark (an area of enhanced crop growth resulting from the
higher levels of moisture retained by the underlying archaeological features).
The long barrow measures about 42m east to west by 25m north to south
inclusive of its encircling ditch. No features have been noted within the
ditch, but pits, postholes and burial surfaces can be expected to survive
beneath the present ground surface. In 1992 fieldwalking over the area of the
barrow produced worked flint which has been dated to the earlier part of the
Neolithic period.
The surrounding ditch is straight sided with slightly rounded terminals. Its
circuit is thought to be complete, suggesting that this is an example of the
simple form of Lincolnshire Wolds long barrow which was not elaborated by the
addition of a large earthen mound when the funerary rituals were completed.
The long barrow is one of a dispersed group of similar monuments which are
thought to be associated with the prehistoric trackway now known as the
Bluestone Heath Road, and with the river valleys of the eastern Wolds.

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 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
surface.
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 buried remains of the long barrow 680m west of Maidenwell House
are not visible on the ground, the infilled ditch survives well and will
retain, together with the old buried ground surface, artefactual and organic
material, including human remains. These will provide rare and valuable
evidence relating to the date of construction, period of use and funerary
practices of the barrow builders. Environmental evidence preserved in the
same features may illustrate the landscape in which the monument was set.
The long barrow is one of a number of similar monuments which are focussed on
the river valleys of the eastern Wolds and are associated with the prehistoric
trackway now known as the Bluestone Heath Road. This suggests that the
location had considerable ritual significance in the Neolithic period.
Evidence from this group of barrows may have implications for the study of
prehistoric settlement patterns, communications and demography.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
description of site, Jones, D, Gazetteer of Lincolnshire long barrow sites, (1997)
oblique monochrome prints, TF3179/1 NMR 12724/75, (1995)

Source: Historic England

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