Ancient Monuments

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Three bowl barrows 390m north west of The Firs

A Scheduled Monument in Newborough, Peterborough

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Latitude: 52.6287 / 52°37'43"N

Longitude: -0.2402 / 0°14'24"W

OS Eastings: 519203.363882

OS Northings: 304888.901763

OS Grid: TF192048

Mapcode National: GBR HZ4.037

Mapcode Global: WHHNC.86V3

Entry Name: Three bowl barrows 390m north west of The Firs

Scheduled Date: 26 November 2004

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021317

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33400

County: Peterborough

Civil Parish: Newborough

Traditional County: Northamptonshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cambridgeshire

Church of England Parish: Newborough St Bartholomew

Church of England Diocese: Peterborough


The monument includes three bowl barrows located 390m north west of The Firs,
south of the track known as Barnoak Road. 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 yellow 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. The ditches have become infilled over the
years but survive as buried features, which are visible on aerial photographs
as cropmarks (areas of enhanced growth resulting from higher levels of
moisture retained by the underlying archaeological features).
The easternmost barrow mound stands up to 0.3m high with a 24m diameter. Its
encircling ditch is thought to measure 5m wide by comparison with examples
excavated elsewhere in the area. About 60m to the west is another barrow,
which has a 15m diameter and stands 0.2m high. Its surrounding ditch is
considered to measure 4m wide. The southernmost barrow's mound is 0.1m high
with a 15m diameter and surrounded by a 4m wide ditch.
The barrows are situated on 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, elements of which are 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 three bowl barrows 390m north west of The Firs 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. Due to its low lying location the potential for waterlogged
deposits in and around this barrow group is exceptionally high. The monument
may contain some of the most valuable archaeological evidence preserved in a
diffuse barrow landscape, of which it is part.

Source: Historic England

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