Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Round barrow at Small Fen, 220m east of the junction of Back and Small Fen Drove

A Scheduled Monument in Haddenham, Cambridgeshire

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Latitude: 52.3704 / 52°22'13"N

Longitude: 0.0887 / 0°5'19"E

OS Eastings: 542298.8252

OS Northings: 276753.536908

OS Grid: TL422767

Mapcode National: GBR L59.C8N

Mapcode Global: VHHJ9.HP87

Entry Name: Round barrow at Small Fen, 220m east of the junction of Back and Small Fen Drove

Scheduled Date: 9 May 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019986

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33367

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


The monument includes a round barrow at Small Fen, situated 220m east of the
junction of Back and Small Fen Drove. The barrow has been protected by later
deposits of marine clay and peat, from which the crown of the mound now
emerges. This part has been levelled by ploughing and is visible on the modern
ground surface as a spread of lighter coloured sandy soil mixed with gravel,
covering an area with a diameter of 15m. Below this, underlying the peat and
clay, is an earthen mound which, by comparison with similar barrows in the
region, is expected to measure approximately 20m in diameter. The mound is
thought to be surrounded by a ditch up to 5m wide, from which earth was dug
for its construction. The ditch probably contains waterlogged deposits, as the
site was covered and sealed by marine clay deposits from the Late Neolithic

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 as a focal
point for prehistoric activity, leaving a range of monuments including a
spread of barrow clusters. About 300m to the north west lies a long barrow,
while 250m to the north west are a round barrow and an oval barrow, which are
the subject of separate schedulings.

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 barrows 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 mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered
single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as
cemeteries and often acted as a focus of 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 examples recorded nationally (many more have already
been destroyed), occurring across most of Britain, including the Wessex area
where it is often possible to classify them more closely, for example as bowl
or bell barrows. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major
historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation in
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 round barrow at Small Fen, 220m east of the junction of Back and Small Fen
Drove is exceptionally well-preserved, having been protected by the overlying
fen deposits of clay and peat, and will contain a wealth of archaeological
information relating to its construction, the manner and duration of use of
the barrow, and activity on the site. Waterlogged deposits, preserved in the
ditches, will contain evidence on the local prehistoric environment. The
barrow is of additional importance as part of a unique complex that also
features a long barrow (300m to the north west) and an oval and a round barrow
(250m to the north west) and provides an unusual insight into the development
of prehistoric funerary monuments from the Early Neolithic to the Bronze Age.

Source: Historic England

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