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Hey Hill: a Roman barrow 260m south west of Lord's Bridge

A Scheduled Monument in Harlton, Cambridgeshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.1711 / 52°10'16"N

Longitude: 0.0376 / 0°2'15"E

OS Eastings: 539440.905237

OS Northings: 254498.317647

OS Grid: TL394544

Mapcode National: GBR L7K.Y1Q

Mapcode Global: VHHK7.LPQG

Entry Name: Hey Hill: a Roman barrow 260m south west of Lord's Bridge

Scheduled Date: 27 August 1962

Last Amended: 6 October 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018971

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33349

County: Cambridgeshire

Civil Parish: Harlton

Traditional County: Cambridgeshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cambridgeshire

Church of England Parish: Barton St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Ely

Details

The monument includes a Roman barrow known as Hey Hill, situated 250m south
west of Lord's Bridge, where Wimpole Road, the Roman road to Cambridge,
crosses Bourn Brook. The monument lies on the Harlton/Barton parish boundary.
Its mound survives as a substantial earthwork of oval shape. The encircling
ditch, from which earth was dug and used in the construction of the mound, is
thought to survive as a buried feature, and evidence from Roman barrows in the
surrounding area suggests it is likely to be between 4m and 5m wide.

The mound was probably originally circular in plan, but now survives as an
oval earthwork partly reduced by a trackway on the western side. It is
approximately 23m long with a width of 8m and a height of 2m. Partial
excavation in 1907 revealed the stone coffin of a young woman, whose skeleton
had been disjointed. She was buried with two bone hairpins, goose and cock
bones, a pig's and a sheep's tooth, and Roman pottery fragments scattered
around her head. Outside her coffin, at the foot end, were 27 hobnails. In the
upper layers of the mound was a second burial, consisting of a decapitated
skeleton, which was probably of Anglo-Saxon date.

Hey Hill Roman barrow is situated in an area of great archaeological activity.
Chance discoveries, made within 100m of the barrow, include an Iron Age
inhumation interment, wheelmade pottery, and a firedog and slave chain. These
suggest that the site may originally have been associated with an Iron Age
settlement and cemetery located in the vicinity.

All fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath
these features are included.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Earthen barrows are the most visually spectacular survivals of a wide variety
of funerary monuments in Britain dating to the Roman period. Constructed as
steep-sided conical mounds, usually of considerable size and occasionally with
an encircling bank or ditch, they covered one or more burials, generally
believed to be those of high-ranking individuals. The burials were mainly
cremations, although inhumations have been recorded, and were often deposited
with accompanying grave goods in chambers or cists constructed of wood, tile
or stone sealed beneath the barrow mound. Occasionally the mound appears to
have been built directly over a funeral pyre. The barrows usually occur
singly, although they can be grouped into "cemeteries" of up to ten examples.
They are sited in a variety of locations but often occur near Roman roads. A
small number of barrows were of particularly elaborate construction, with
masonry revetment walls or radial internal walls. Roman barrows are rare
nationally, with less than 150 recorded examples, and are generally restricted
to lowland England with the majority in East Anglia. The earliest examples
date to the first decades of the Roman occupation and occur mainly within this
East Anglian concentration. It has been suggested that they are the graves of
native British aristocrats who chose to perpetuate aspects of Iron Age burial
practice. The majority of the barrows were constructed in the early second
century AD but by the end of that century the fashion for barrow building
appears to have ended. Occasionally the barrows were re-used when secondary
Anglo-Saxon burials were dug into the mound. Many barrows were subjected to
cursory investigation by antiquarians in the 19th century and, as little
investigation to modern standards has taken place, they remain generally
poorly understood. As a rare monument type which exhibits a wide diversity of
burial tradition all Roman barrows, unless significantly damaged, are
identified as nationally important.

Hey Hill Roman barrow, 260m south west of Lord's Bridge, remains a substantial
earthwork and is exceptionally well preserved. As part of a concentration of
Roman barrows in East Anglia, it provides a unique insight into the social and
economic development of south east England in the early days of Roman
occupation. Its association with Iron Age funerary and settlement remains
provides particularly significant evidence on the process of acculturation in
the region. An unusual secondary burial of the Anglo-Saxon period and its use
as a parish boundary marker highlight the mound's continued importance as a
local landmark through the centuries. As a result of partial excavation at the
beginning of the 20th century, the remains are quite well understood, while
significant archaeological deposits survive intact.

Source: Historic England

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