Ancient Monuments

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Four bowl barrows 690m and 550m ESE of The Willows

A Scheduled Monument in Borough Fen, Peterborough

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Latitude: 52.6572 / 52°39'25"N

Longitude: -0.208 / 0°12'28"W

OS Eastings: 521306.624032

OS Northings: 308112.245514

OS Grid: TF213081

Mapcode National: GBR HYS.G6M

Mapcode Global: WHHN5.SG4S

Entry Name: Four bowl barrows 690m and 550m ESE of The Willows

Scheduled Date: 26 November 2004

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021314

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33397

County: Peterborough

Civil Parish: Borough Fen

Traditional County: Northamptonshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cambridgeshire


The monument includes four bowl barrows in two separate areas of protection
situated approximately 690m and 550m ESE of The Willows. The barrows have
been covered and protected by later deposits of marine clay and peat, from
which the mounds now emerge. They are visible as slight sandy gravel rises
against the darker peat. The deeper lying remains of the barrows are
preserved underneath the Fen deposits, and include their encircling ditches
from which earth was dug in the construction of the mounds. They have become
infilled over the years but 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
easternmost barrow mound stands 0.3m high with a diameter of 25m. It is
surrounded by a ditch, which by comparison with examples excavated elsewhere
in the area, is thought to measure 5m wide. The north eastern edge of the
barrow has been partly chipped into by turf cutting. Immediately to the south
west lies a second barrow, whose mound measures 22m in diameter. Compared to
the surrounding field, it stands 0.3m high on the north and 0.5m on the
south, where the land drops off gradually. Its encircling ditch is about 5m
wide. About 40m to the north west is a third barrow, whose mound is 0.3m high
with a diameter of 18m. It is surrounded by a 4m wide ditch. About 120m to
the west is the fourth barrow, which lies within a separate area of
protection. Its mound stands 0.1m high with a 20m diameter. It is surrounded
by two ditches, of which the second was dug to enlarge the mound. The two
ditches together are thought to measure 10m wide on the basis of the aerial
photographic evidence. The barrows are situated on the very edge of the river
gravels 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. It is part of a diffuse barrow landscape at Eye and
Borough Fen, elements of which have been subject to separate schedulings.

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 barrows 690m and 550m ESE of the Willows are well-preserved, having
been protected by overlying deposits of peat and clay. They will contain a
wealth 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 landuse in the area prior to the construction of the
barrows, while organic deposits preserved in the ditches will shed light on
environmental conditions (eg climate, flora and fauna) since the construction
of the barrows. The monument has additional importance as part of a diffuse
barrow landscape at Eye and Borough Fen.

Source: Historic England

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