Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Long barrow at South Fen, 90m south west of the west end of Rymanmoor Long Turning

A Scheduled Monument in Sutton, Cambridgeshire

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Latitude: 52.3751 / 52°22'30"N

Longitude: 0.0862 / 0°5'10"E

OS Eastings: 542111.584001

OS Northings: 277280.872638

OS Grid: TL421772

Mapcode National: GBR L59.4M1

Mapcode Global: VHHJ9.FKYK

Entry Name: Long barrow at South Fen, 90m south west of the west end of Rymanmoor Long Turning

Scheduled Date: 9 May 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019988

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33373

County: Cambridgeshire

Civil Parish: Sutton

Traditional County: Cambridgeshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cambridgeshire

Church of England Parish: Sutton St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Ely


The monument includes a long barrow at South Fen, situated 90m south west of
the west end of a track known as Rymanmoor Long Turning. It is part of an
alignment of three long barrows, the other two are the subject of separate
schedulings. The barrow has been preserved underneath later deposits of marine
clay and peat, from which the crown of the mound now emerges and has been
spread by modern ploughing. On the modern ground surface the barrow is visible
as a low, spread mound of lighter coloured, slightly sandy soil, some 0.3m in
height and covering an area with dimensions of approximately 55m north west to
south east by 25m north east to south west. Below this, underlying the peat
and clay, is a buried earthen mound which, by comparison with other excavated
examples in the region is thought to measure approximately 50m long and 18m
wide, and to be surrounded by a ditch 5m wide. The infilled ditch and deeper
features within the mound will contain waterlogged deposits.

On the basis of evidence from the two neighbouring long barrows the buried
mound and ditch are believed to preserve both artefactual and human remains.
Excavations of the long barrow 500m to the south west revealed a wooden
funerary chamber containing human bone and pottery fragments, while a borehole
survey on the second long barrow, 300m to the north, identified saturated and
preserved prehistoric deposits in the ditch as well as a contemporary ground
surface surrounding it.

The long barrow is 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, such as a large
causewayed enclosure about 3km to the south west and a spread of barrows of
various forms dating from the Early Neolithic to the Bronze Age.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 4 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Long barrows were constructed as earthen or drystone mounds with flanking
ditches and acted as funerary monuments during the Early and Middle Neolithic
periods (3400-2400 BC). They represent the burial places of Britain's early
farming communities and, as such, are amongst the oldest field monuments
surviving visibly in the present landscape. Where investigated, long barrows
appear to have been used for communal burial, often with only parts of the
human remains having been selected for interment. Certain sites provide
evidence for several phases of funerary monument preceding the barrow and,
consequently, it is probable that long barrows acted as important ritual sites
for local communities over a considerable period of time. Some 500 examples of
long barrows and long cairns, their counterparts in the uplands, are recorded
nationally. As one of the few types of Neolithic structure to survive as
earthworks, and due to their comparative rarity, their considerable age and
their longevity as a monument type, all long barrows are considered to be
nationally important.

The long barrow 90m south west of the west end of Rymanmoor Long Turning
survives exceptionally well, having been protected by overlying fen deposits
of clay and peat, and will contain a wealth of archaeological information
concerning the construction of the barrow, the manner and duration of its use
and other activity surrounding the site. Waterlogged deposits will provide
evidence for the local prehistoric environment. The potential of the monument
is highlighted by the investigations of the neighbouring long barrows, which
revealed wooden structures, human remains and waterlogged deposits. The
combined evidence from the three long barrows provides a unique insight into
the spatial and social organisation of Neolithic funerary rituals.

Source: Historic England

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