Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Bowl barrow 450m east of Shelford Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Willingham, Cambridgeshire

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Latitude: 52.3504 / 52°21'1"N

Longitude: 0.0522 / 0°3'8"E

OS Eastings: 539877.097222

OS Northings: 274465.415

OS Grid: TL398744

Mapcode National: GBR L5G.N19

Mapcode Global: VHHJG.V6G0

Entry Name: Bowl barrow 450m east of Shelford Farm

Scheduled Date: 11 February 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020398

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33376

County: Cambridgeshire

Civil Parish: Willingham

Traditional County: Cambridgeshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cambridgeshire

Church of England Parish: Haddenham Holy Trinity

Church of England Diocese: Ely


The monument includes a bowl barrow situated 450m east of Shelford Farm.
It is situated on a gravel island, where the former course of the River Great
Ouse once met the Fen edge. This location acted as a focal point for
prehistoric activity leaving a wide range of evidence, including a spread of
funerary monuments. About 600m to the north east are two further bowl barrows,
which are the subject of separate schedulings.

The barrow in this scheduling has been covered and protected by later deposits
of marine clay and peat, from which the top of the mound now emerges. This
crown is visible as a small gravel patch on the ground and as a cropmark (an
area of enhanced growth resulting from higher levels of moisture retained by
the underlying archaeological feature) from the air. The deeper lying remains
of the barrow are preserved underneath the fen deposits and include an
encircling ditch, from which earth was dug in the construction of the mound.
By comparison with examples excavated elsewhere in the region the mound is
thought to measure approximately 25m in diameter and to be surrounded by a 5m
wide ditch.

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

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 barrow 450m east of Shelford Farm is exceptionally well-preserved,
having been protected by overlying deposits of peat and clay. It will contain
a wealth of archaeological information relating to activity on the site, the
manner and duration of use of the barrow and its construction. Investigations
of other funerary monuments in the area have demonstrated the potential for
preserved remains from the Middle Neolithic to the Middle Bronze Age, as well
as evidence of later Bronze Age and Iron Age ritual and domestic activity on
and around the barrows. Buried soils underneath the mound will retain valuable
archaeological evidence concerning landuse in the area prior to the
construction of the barrow. The monument has additional importance as part of
an exceptional prehistoric landscape, in which a Neolithic causewayed
enclosure, located about 1150m to the south east, acted as a ritual focus.

Source: Historic England

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