Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Bowl barrow 225m north east of Prior's Fen Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Thorney, Peterborough

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Latitude: 52.5837 / 52°35'1"N

Longitude: -0.1447 / 0°8'40"W

OS Eastings: 525798.128331

OS Northings: 300052.314027

OS Grid: TF257000

Mapcode National: GBR HZN.SB9

Mapcode Global: WHHNL.RB92

Entry Name: Bowl barrow 225m north east of Prior's Fen Farm

Scheduled Date: 26 November 2004

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021311

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33391

County: Peterborough

Civil Parish: Thorney

Traditional County: Cambridgeshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cambridgeshire

Church of England Parish: Whittlesey St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Ely


The monument includes a bowl barrow situated 225m north east of Prior's Fen
Farm. The barrow has been covered and protected by later deposits of marine
clay and peat from which the mound emerges. It is visible as a gravel rise
which stands approximately 0.3m high compared to the surrounding land on the
north, and up to 1m high on the south, where the land slopes down towards the
former Fen edge. It measures 38m in diameter. 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. Although it
has become infilled over the years, it survives as a buried feature visible
on air photographs as a cropmark (an area of enhanced growth resulting from
higher levels of moisture retained by the underlying archaeological
features). By comparison with examples excavated elsewhere in the area, the
ditch is thought to measure approximately 5m wide. Around the barrow
fragments of worked flint have been found. The bowl barrow is situated within
an area of diffuse Romano-British settlement remains, identified as cropmarks
on aerial photographs. It lies within a rectangular field enclosure, part of
which is preserved within the scheduling. The barrow is situated on the edge
of a gravel peninsula along the prehistoric Fen edge, a location that with,
its mixture of wetter and drier grounds and easy access along the waterways,
attracted prehistoric activity. The monument is part of a diffuse barrow
landscape at Eye and Thorney.

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

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 225m north east of Prior's Fen Farm is well preserved, having
been protected by overlying deposits of peat and clay and will contain a
wealth 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 landuse in the area prior to the construction of the
barrow, while organic deposits preserved in the ditch will shed light on
environmental conditions (eg climate, flora and fauna) since the construction
of the barrow. The monument has additional importance as part of a diffuse
barrow landscape at Eye and Thorney.

Source: Historic England

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