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Neolithic long barrow, three Bronze Age bowl barrows and enclosure 600m and 785m east of Poke Holes

A Scheduled Monument in Calcethorpe with Kelstern, Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 53.3752 / 53°22'30"N

Longitude: -0.1118 / 0°6'42"W

OS Eastings: 525711.164148

OS Northings: 388139.33007

OS Grid: TF257881

Mapcode National: GBR WYND.LT

Mapcode Global: WHHJR.8F0C

Entry Name: Neolithic long barrow, three Bronze Age bowl barrows and enclosure 600m and 785m east of Poke Holes

Scheduled Date: 16 April 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018892

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29737

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Calcethorpe with Kelstern

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Kelstern St Faith

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument includes the buried remains of a Neolithic long barrow, three
Bronze Age bowl barrows and a ditched enclosure some 600m and 785m east of
Poke Holes on the north facing slope of a valley above a tributary of the
River Bain. The long barrow, the two northern bowl barrows and the enclosure,
together with the intervening ground, which will contain associated
archaeological remains, are protected together in one area whilst the southern
bowl barrow is protected separately.
Although the site is not visible on the ground, the infilled and buried
ditches surrounding the barrows and the enclosure are clearly visible from the
air and have been recorded on aerial photographs since 1976 as a series of
cropmarks - areas of enhanced crop growth resulting from higher levels of
moisture retained by the underlying archaeological features.
The area of the long barrow is defined by a wide ditch and is oriented NNW to
SSE. It is roughly oblong in plan, measuring about 60m by 25m overall. The
ditch is open at the northern end and shows signs of short internal spurs on
its eastern and western sides, giving the southern end a rounded appearance.
It is thought that these spurs may be the remnants of an earlier terminal
ditch and that the present southern end is an extension made during a later
phase. Long barrows with open ended ditches are comparatively unusual on the
Lincolnshire Wolds, and it is thought that they represent the earliest stages
of long barrow construction and use.
The remains of two bowl barrows lie about 100m to the north west of the long
barrow. The barrow mounds have been reduced by ploughing but their ditches,
from which material for the mounds would have been quarried, survive beneath
the present ground surface. Each barrow has a diameter of about 25m, and they
lie some 15m apart.
The ground between these two bowl barrows and the long barrow contains the
remains of a rectangular ditched double enclosure measuring 70m by 30m
overall with the long sides running north east to south west. The eastern half
of the southern boundary ditch is incomplete. The relationship of this
enclosure to the barrows is not yet understood, but archaeological
investigations of a similar cropmark site elsewhere in the region revealed
evidence of an enclosure which was thought to be contemporary with the
earliest phases of construction. It is possible, therefore, that such
enclosures provided temporary accommodation for the barrow builders and their
A further bowl barrow lies about 150m to the south east of the long barrow in
a separate area of protection. As with the northern bowl barrows, the mound
has been reduced by ploughing. The quarry ditch measures approximately 20m in
diameter, and a small, central cropmark indicates the position of the primary
burial. The parish boundary runs adjacent to the site of this barrow,
suggesting that it may have served as a marker, and the reduction of the mound
may, therefore, be of a relatively recent date.
The long barrow is one of a number of similar monuments which are thought to
be associated with the Bluestone Heath Road (a prehistoric trackway) and which
are focussed on the valley of the River Bain.

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.

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments
dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most
examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as
earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple
burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often
acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Often superficially similar,
although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form
and a diversity of burial practices. There are over 10,000 surviving bowl
barrows recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring
across most of lowland Britain. Often occupying prominent locations, they are
a major historical element in the modern landscape, and their considerable
variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide important
information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early
prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period,
and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of
Although the barrows east of Poke Holes cannot be seen on the ground, their
ditches survive well as infilled and buried features. Further features not
revealed by aerial photography will also be preserved beneath the present
ground surface. The fills of the ditches will contain rare and valuable
artefactual and organic evidence, including human remains, relating to the
construction, dating, periods of use and religious beliefs of the barrow
builders. Environmental deposits preserved in the same features may illustrate
the nature of the landscape in which the monument was set.
The long barrow is a relatively unusual example displaying a U-shaped ditch
thought to be indicative of abandonment before completion. The buried
features and archaeological deposits contained therein may confirm this and
will provide insights into the early constructional phases which are often
obscured in more developed examples.
Although the ditched enclosure cannot be dated, its location suggests a
spatial relationship with the barrows. Its chronological relationship may be
revealed by artefactual evidence from the interior, from the fills of its
buried ditches and from the surrounding area. The proximity of the Bronze Age
barrows to that of the earlier Neolithic long barrow suggests the location had
enduring ritual significance.
The long barrow is one of a group focussed on the prehistoric trackway now
known as the Bluestone Heath Road, and on the valley of the Waithe Beck.
Comparative evidence from all these barrows may have considerable significance
for the study of communications, settlement and demography during the
prehistoric period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Bonnor, L D, Griffiths, D W, Skitter to Hatton 4050mm diameter pipeline, 1993, (1993), 31
Evans, J G, Simpson, D D A, 'Archaeologia' in Giants' Hills 2 Long Barrow, Skendleby, Lincolnshire, , Vol. CIX, (1991)
discussion with researcher, Jones D, Lincs Wolds long barrow ditch forms, (1997)
oblique monochrome prints, NMR: TF2588/3-4, (1992)
oblique monochrome prints, NMR: TF2588/3-4, (1992)
Went, C, Lincolnshire Wolds long barrows, 1998, unpublished research notes

Source: Historic England

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