Ancient Monuments

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Three bowl barrows 380m south of Brownshill Staunch House, part of the Over round barrow cemetery

A Scheduled Monument in Over, Cambridgeshire

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Latitude: 52.3315 / 52°19'53"N

Longitude: 0.011 / 0°0'39"E

OS Eastings: 537128.52028

OS Northings: 272286.037851

OS Grid: TL371722

Mapcode National: GBR K48.X6L

Mapcode Global: VHHJG.4NPH

Entry Name: Three bowl barrows 380m south of Brownshill Staunch House, part of the Over round barrow cemetery

Scheduled Date: 11 April 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019130

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33362

County: Cambridgeshire

Civil Parish: Over

Traditional County: Cambridgeshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cambridgeshire

Church of England Parish: Over St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Ely


The monument includes three bowl barrows situated 380m south of Brownshill
Staunch House on the east bank of the River Great Ouse, part of the Over round
barrow cemetery. The mounds survive as substantial earthworks, protruding
through a protective layer of alluvium. The easternmost mound stands to a
height of 0.6m with a diameter of 30m, while its western neighbour (the middle
barrow) is 0.4m high and has a diameter of 24m. The westernmost mound
measures 0.2m high and 23m in diameter. The encircling ditches, from which
earth was dug in the construction of the mounds, have become infilled but
survive as buried features, up to 4m wide, visible on aerial photographs.

The barrows are situated on the fen edge along the River Great Ouse; a focal
point for prehistoric settlement and ritual activity. They are part of a
spread of barrow clusters along the former course of the river, and 350m to
the south, are five further bowl barrows and part of a Late Bronze Age field
system. These are the subject of a separate scheduling (SM 33360). It is
possible that the field boundary ditches, which continue 200m eastwards also
extend to the ground around the bowl barrows south of Brownshill Staunch
House. This has not been proven however and the area is therefore not included
in the scheduling.

Archaeological investigation in the area on the east and west bank of the
river has revealed Neolithic and, on one location, Mesolithic occupation, as
well as a Bronze Age field system and associated settlement features such as
round houses and a long house. In addition a barrow 300m to the south east was
partly excavated prior to gravel extraction, revealing a bank and revetment
surrounding the mound, a collapsed wooden funerary structure, fire pit, and
several cremation burials.

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

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 historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable
variation of 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

The bowl barrows 380m south of Brownshill Staunch House have been protected by
alluvium and are well preserved as standing earthworks and associated buried
features. Excavation in the vicinity has provided rare information on the
prehistoric landscape that surrounded the barrows, revealing field systems and
settlement remains. Excavation of a barrow 300m to the south east,
which consists of a complex structure containing several cremation burials,
highlights the potential for the recovery of artefactual and structural
evidence from the barrows in this group. The barrows appear not to have been
excavated and most archaeological deposits are thought to survive intact.

Source: Historic England

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