Ancient Monuments

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Bowl barrow and Romano-British enclosure 430m south west of Earls Fen Farm

A Scheduled Monument in March, Cambridgeshire

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Latitude: 52.5324 / 52°31'56"N

Longitude: 0.1443 / 0°8'39"E

OS Eastings: 545543.176883

OS Northings: 294882.440642

OS Grid: TL455948

Mapcode National: GBR L3G.78X

Mapcode Global: VHHHK.GM31

Entry Name: Bowl barrow and Romano-British enclosure 430m south west of Earls Fen Farm

Scheduled Date: 12 March 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020848

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33394

County: Cambridgeshire

Civil Parish: March

Traditional County: Cambridgeshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cambridgeshire

Church of England Parish: March St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Ely


The monument includes a Bronze Age bowl barrow and Romano-British
enclosure 430m south west of Earls Fen Farm. The barrow has been partly
protected and covered by later deposits of marine clay and peat, from
which the mound emerges. It is visible as a slight gravel rise of
approximately 38m in diameter and 0.5m high. Surrounding the mound is a
ditch, from which earth was dug in the construction of the mound. It has
become infilled over the years but survives as a buried feature, which is
visible as a dark soilmark and measures approximately 5m wide.
The barrow lies in the south western corner of a rectangular enclosure, which
measures 60m WNW-ESE and 100m north to south. The enclosure is part of a more
widespread Romano-British field system, which has been identified as cropmarks
on aerial photographs. The enclosure is included in the scheduling in order
to protect its archaeological relationship with the earlier barrow. The wider
field system is not included.
The barrow is situated on Stonea Island, a gravel island within the
prehistoric fen. 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, including, in the
vicinity of the barrow, Neolithic flint tools and working debris, as well as
Iron Age settlement remains.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 10 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 430m south west of Earls Fen Farm is the best preserved
example of a former alignment of three barrows - the other two now
largely destroyed by ploughing. It will contain a range of information
relating to the barrow's construction, the manner and duration of its
use, as well as ritual and domestic activity on the site. Buried soils
underneath the mound will retain valuable archaeological evidence
concerning land use in the area prior to the construction of the barrow,
while organic deposits preserved in the ditch will provide information
on environmental conditions (eg climate, flora and fauna) during
and following the barrow's use as a funerary monument. The associated
enclosure provides valuable evidence for the reuse of the barrow within
a Romano-British landscape and its apparent utilisation as a boundary
feature within this later field system. The monument has additional
importance as part of the prehistoric landscape of Stonea Island, where
some of the best preserved sites in the fenland are found.

Source: Historic England

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