Ancient Monuments

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Five bowl barrows 790m north west of Chain House, part of the Over round barrow cemetery

A Scheduled Monument in Over, Cambridgeshire

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Latitude: 52.3283 / 52°19'42"N

Longitude: 0.0099 / 0°0'35"E

OS Eastings: 537058.775267

OS Northings: 271928.555747

OS Grid: TL370719

Mapcode National: GBR K48.WW2

Mapcode Global: VHHJG.4Q2Y

Entry Name: Five bowl barrows 790m north west of Chain House, part of the Over round barrow cemetery

Scheduled Date: 11 April 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019874

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33360

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 five bowl barrows situated 790m north west of Chain
House, on the east bank of the River Great Ouse, part of the Over round barrow
cemetery. The mounds survive as prominent earthworks, while the encircling
ditches, from which earth was dug in the construction of the mounds, have
become infilled, but survive as buried features.

The barrows are partly protected by alluvium, although the crowns of the
barrow mounds have been spread by ploughing. The northernmost mound stands to
a height of 0.5m, as does its neighbour 40m to the south west. The most
substantial remains are those of the southernmost mound reaching up to 1m
high. The mounds 60m and 150m to the north west are both approximately 0.3m
high. Although the diameters of the upstanding remains vary due to the effects
of arable cultivation, a geophysical survey undertaken in 1996 demonstrates
that the central mounds all originally measured just under 20m in diameter.
Anomalies detected by the survey within the northern and westernmost mounds
may indicate the presence of internal structures. Ditches were identified
surrounding four of the mounds, which are thought to measure up to 4m wide. An
eastern outlier of the barrow group 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.

Surrounding the barrows the geophysical survey detected a network of linear
ditches, which seems to respect the mounds and is probably of late Bronze Age
date. The ditches form small paddocks with clearly visible entrances, in which
the barrows occupy marginal positions. In between the barrows is also a
scatter of anomalies that may represent archaeological features, such as

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 north, are three further bowl barrows, which are the subject of a separate
scheduling (SM33362). Archaeological investigation in the area on the east
and west bank of the river has revealed Neolithic, and, in one location,
Mesolithic occupation, as well as a Bronze Age field system and associated
settlement features such as round houses and a long house.

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 790m north west of Chain House have been protected by
alluvium and are well preserved as prominent earthworks and associated buried
features. Excavation in the area has provided rare information on the
prehistoric landscape that surrounded the barrows, revealing field systems and
settlement remains.

Part excavation of an eastern outlier of the group, which consists of a
complex structure and contains several cremation burials, highlights the
potential for the recovery of artefactual and structural evidence from the
barrows in the group. As a result of a geophysical survey in 1996 the remains
of the barrows are quite well understood while most archaeological deposits
are thought to survive intact.

Source: Historic England

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