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Three bowl barrows 450m and 570m east of New England, part of the Haddenham round barrow cemetery

A Scheduled Monument in Haddenham, Cambridgeshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.3548 / 52°21'17"N

Longitude: 0.0675 / 0°4'3"E

OS Eastings: 540905.044206

OS Northings: 274982.302059

OS Grid: TL409749

Mapcode National: GBR L5G.CW5

Mapcode Global: VHHJH.421M

Entry Name: Three bowl barrows 450m and 570m east of New England, part of the Haddenham round barrow cemetery

Scheduled Date: 9 May 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019982

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33363

County: Cambridgeshire

Civil Parish: Haddenham

Traditional County: Cambridgeshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cambridgeshire

Church of England Parish: Haddenham Holy Trinity

Church of England Diocese: Ely

Details

The monument includes three bowl barrows in two areas of protection situated
approximately 450m and 570m east of New England Farm, south of the A1123. The
barrows have been covered by later deposits of marine clay and peat, from
which the crowns of the mounds emerge. These have been partly levelled by
ploughing but are still visible as low sandy gravel mounds. The deeper lying
remains of the barrows, including encircling ditches from which earth was dug
in the construction of the mounds, are preserved underneath the fen deposits.

The westernmost barrow was partly excavated in 1985 revealing two main stages
of construction. During the Middle to Late Neolithic a low ovoid mound (3m
wide by 4m long with an original height of 0.85m, reduced to 0.65m by modern
ploughing) was transformed into a long mound (4.5m wide by 8m long). Around
each mound a shallow ditch was dug. In the north western corner of the ditch
of the ovoid barrow, and contemporary with it, lay a child inhumation. During
the Early to Middle Bronze Age the mound was further modified and first
extended into an oval mound (9.5m long by 7.5m wide and about 1m high)
encircled by a slight ditch and later into a round barrow 23m in diameter and
originally some 1.5m high, reduced to 1m by modern ploughing. The barrow was
enclosed by a ditch approximately 5m wide. Contemporary with the oval mound
but inserted into the earthen long mound was a collared urn cremation burial
of a male adult approximately 30 years old. The urn was packed with layers of
ashes, possibly sieved, selected bone fragments and two small vessels that
probably contained food and drink. Further funerary activity was apparent from
pyre derived material in the upper layers of the mound, such as charcoal,
animal bone fragments, and pieces of human bone of an individual about 12
years in age. In the southern lip of the barrow's mound was a cremation of an
infant up to six months old, while a disturbed inhumation of unknown date in
the central area may have been interred in the Bronze Age or a inserted at a
later date. Fragments of post-Deverel Rimbury jars and post holes found around
the barrow suggest some Late Bronze Age activity, perhaps seasonal occupation.

Approximately 120m to the north east of this barrow is a further barrow, which
was sectioned by a modern field dyke and cleaning of its profile revealed a
30m diameter gravel and sand mound, now standing 1.8m high whose original
height was approximately 2m. It is surrounded by an infilled ditch 4m wide,
which contains soils washed from the mound, as well as layers of peat and
clay. In the southern lip of the mound were two cremation burials; one
accompanied by several flint tools and a sharpening stone, the other without
grave goods. Iron Age activity on the mound is apparent from a pit containing
Early Iron Age pottery. A layer of pre-barrow soil is preserved underneath the
mound.

About 70m further to the north east and within the same area of protection is
a third barrow, visible as a low sandy gravel mound measuring 0.5m high and
35m east to west by 25m north to south. Comparison with other barrows
excavated in the area indicates that below this gravel spread, underlying the
peat and clay, is an earthen mound approximately 35m in diameter, encircled by
a ditch 5m wide.

The barrows are situated on a gravel island along the former course of the
River Great Ouse, where it met the Fen edge. This location acted a focal point
for prehistoric activity, leaving a wide range of monuments, including a
spread of barrows of various forms. About 600m to the south west are two
further bowl barrows, which are the subject of a separate scheduling.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Round barrow cemeteries date to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They comprise
closely-spaced groups of up to 30 round barrows - rubble or earthen mounds
covering single or multiple burials. Most cemeteries developed over a
considerable period of time, often many centuries, and in some cases acted as
a focus for burials as late as the early medieval period. They exhibit
considerable diversity of burial rite, plan and form, frequently including
several different types of round barrow, occasionally associated with earlier
long barrows. Where large scale investigation has been undertaken around them,
contemporary or later "flat" burials between the barrow mounds have often been
revealed. Round barrow cemeteries occur across most of lowland Britain, with a
marked concentration in Wessex. In some cases, they are clustered around other
important contemporary monuments such as henges. Often occupying prominent
locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape, whilst
their diversity and their longevity as a monument type provide important
information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst early
prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period
and a substantial proportion of surviving or partly-surviving examples are
considered worthy of protection.

The bowl barrows 450m and 570m east of New England are exceptionally well-
preserved, having been protected by overlying deposits of peat and clay, and
thus contain a wealth of rare archaeological information. Unique evidence of
the early development of prehistoric funerary architecture emerged during
investigations on the westernmost barrow, revealing several construction
phases from the Middle Neolithic to the Middle Bronze Age, including a rare
example of a small Neolithic burial mound. Evidence of Bronze Age and Iron Age
ritual and domestic activity on and around the barrows, involving the
construction of funerary pyres and residential shelters, highlights the
important role of the monument as a local landmark through prehistory. Buried
soils underneath the barrows will retain valuable archaeological evidence for
the use of the site prior to the construction of the barrows and will
contribute to our understanding of the social and economic development of the
region. The monument has additional importance as part of an exceptional
prehistoric landscape, in which a Neolithic causewayed enclosure about 1100m
to the south acted as a ritual focus.

Source: Historic England

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