Ancient Monuments

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Roman barrow adjacent to Ermine Street, 290m east of St Bartholomew's Church

A Scheduled Monument in The Stukeleys, Cambridgeshire

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Latitude: 52.3557 / 52°21'20"N

Longitude: -0.2102 / 0°12'36"W

OS Eastings: 521989.08993

OS Northings: 274577.874971

OS Grid: TL219745

Mapcode National: GBR J2G.7PC

Mapcode Global: VHGLW.91QY

Entry Name: Roman barrow adjacent to Ermine Street, 290m east of St Bartholomew's Church

Scheduled Date: 30 November 1925

Last Amended: 3 July 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018973

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33352

County: Cambridgeshire

Civil Parish: The Stukeleys

Built-Up Area: Great Stukeley

Traditional County: Huntingdonshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cambridgeshire

Church of England Parish: Great Stukeley St Bartholomew

Church of England Diocese: Ely


The monument includes a Roman barrow situated on the west side of Ermine
Street, 290m east of St Bartholomew's Church. The mound survives as a
substantial earthwork encircled by a ditch.

The conical mound has a flat platform top and stands to a height of 2m from
the bottom of the ditch. It covers an area approximately 20m in diameter. The
north eastern edge of the mound and the ditch, from which earth was dug and
used in the construction of the mound, have been cut by Ermine Street, while
the southern half of the ditch has been truncated by a modern housing
development. Elsewhere the ditch survives as a slight depression with a
maximum width of 1.5m at the bottom and 4m at the top.

The monument is one of two barrows in close proximity situated next to the
Roman road Ermine Street; the other barrow, situated 180m to the north west,
is the subject of a separate scheduling.

All fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath
them is included.

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.

The Roman barrow 290m east of St Bartholomew's Church 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. The barrow has not been excavated and most archaeological deposits
are therefore believed to survive intact.

Source: Historic England

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