Ancient Monuments

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Suet Hills round barrow cemetery

A Scheduled Monument in Farcet, Cambridgeshire

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Latitude: 52.5313 / 52°31'52"N

Longitude: -0.1651 / 0°9'54"W

OS Eastings: 524564.182401

OS Northings: 294186.772726

OS Grid: TL245941

Mapcode National: GBR J0D.72P

Mapcode Global: VHGKY.3M2V

Entry Name: Suet Hills round barrow cemetery

Scheduled Date: 12 March 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020844

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33385

County: Cambridgeshire

Civil Parish: Farcet

Traditional County: Cambridgeshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cambridgeshire

Church of England Parish: Pondersbridge St Thomas

Church of England Diocese: Ely


The monument includes Suet Hills round barrow cemetery, which includes
eight round barrows lying in two separate areas of protection to the
south of Suet Hills Farm. The first area contains a group of five
barrows aligned north east to south west, and the second a cluster of
three barrows located to the east. The cemetery provides a prominent
landmark in the fairly level landscape of King's Delph and it was first
recorded archaeologically in 1927. Five burial mounds are preserved as
earthworks, measuring between 0.3m and 1m high, whereas the three
easternmost mounds have been reduced by ploughing and are no longer
visible above ground. The encircling ditches, from which earth was dug
for the construction of each mound, have become infilled over the years,
but will survive as buried features visible as cropmarks on aerial
photographs (areas of enhanced growth resulting from higher levels of
moisture retained by the underlying archaeological features).
The western group of five barrows is located immediately east of Suet
Hills Drove, and extends in a north easterly direction over a distance of
approximately 220m. The westernmost barrow's mound, which is partly buried
underneath the drove, stands up to 1m high with a diameter of 25m. Its
encircling ditch is thought to measure 5m wide, based on the width of the
cropmark recorded from the air. Immediately to the north east is a second
barrow, whose mound has a height of 0.6m and a diameter of 23m, also
surrounded by a 5m wide ditch. A third mound 70m to the east of the second
(the distance between the central points of the two barrows) measures 20m
in diameter and stands 0.3m high. Its encircling ditch is thought to measure
4m wide. The fourth barrow's mound, immediately to the north east, is 0.8m
high with a diameter of 23m and is surrounded by a 5m wide ditch. About 60m
to the north east lies a fifth barrow with a mound 0.8m high and 26m in
diameter, again surrounded by a ditch measuring about 5m in width.
Some 270m east of the main group are the buried remains of three more
barrows of which the northernmost mound measures 21m in diameter, surrounded
by a 5m wide ditch. Immediately south west is a second barrow with a mound
14m in diameter and a 3m wide encircling ditch. About 30m to the north west
of this barrow lies a third barrow whose mound measures approximately 10m
in diameter, while its ditch is 3m wide.
Suet Hills round barrow cemetery is situated on a gravel peninsula along the
fen edge, where it once met the prehistoric course of the River Nene. This
location, with its combination of wetter and drier grounds and easy access
along the waterways, acted as a focal point for prehistoric activity, leaving
a wide range of evidence. A further round barrow 1.2km to the north west
is the subject of a separate scheduling.
The modern surfacing of Suet Hills Drove is excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath it is included.

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

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.

Suet Hills round barrow cemetery is well-preserved and the majority of
the barrow mounds survive as substantial earthworks. The monument will
contain a range of information relating to the barrows' construction, the
manner and duration of their use, as well as ritual and domestic activity
on the site. Buried soils underneath the mounds will retain valuable
archaeological evidence concerning land use in the area prior to the
construction of the barrows. Organic deposits preserved in the ditches
will provide information on environmental conditions (eg climate, flora
and fauna) since their construction. The monument has additional value as
part of the important prehistoric landscape of the Nene Valley, large
parts of which have been destroyed by mineral extraction and development
in recent decades.

Source: Historic England

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