Ancient Monuments

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Long mortuary enclosure and associated barrow 120m south of Rushey Weir

A Scheduled Monument in Buckland, Oxfordshire

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Latitude: 51.697 / 51°41'49"N

Longitude: -1.5339 / 1°32'2"W

OS Eastings: 432307.299948

OS Northings: 199905.917561

OS Grid: SU323999

Mapcode National: GBR 6WP.H0Z

Mapcode Global: VHC0F.CLFY

Entry Name: Long mortuary enclosure and associated barrow 120m south of Rushey Weir

Scheduled Date: 26 November 2004

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021369

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35544

County: Oxfordshire

Civil Parish: Buckland

Traditional County: Berkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Oxfordshire

Church of England Parish: Gainfield

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument includes the remains of a sub-rectangular ditched enclosure
identified as a long mortuary enclosure, and also of a circular feature at
its south east corner, considered to be a round barrow.
The site lies immediately south of the River Thames, about 120m from Rushey
Weir. Although the enclosure is likely to have been constructed with an
internal bank, and the barrow with an internal mound, nothing of these now
remain visible on the ground. However, the enclosure and barrow ditches, and
features within the enclosure, are clearly visible from the air as cropmarks,
and were photographed and identified at the same time as a Neolithic
causewayed enclosure, the subject of a separate scheduling, which lies about
70m to the north west.
The long mortuary enclosure is orientated east-west and takes an irregular
rectangular form measuring approximately 90m by 34m, slightly narrower at the
west than the east end, and with its maximum width towards the middle. The
boundary ditch appears to be broken in several places, but the most
consistently clear entrance lies 20m from the western end of the north side,
facing the causewayed enclosure to the north west; there may also have been
an entrance at the east end. A rectangular feature measuring about 6m by 3m
lies across the centre of the enclosure at its widest point, orientated
north-south; there is also a scatter of small features, probably pits, across
the interior. The barrow lies about 25m from the south east corner, and
measures about 12m in diameter.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 3 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Long mortuary enclosures are oblong-shaped enclosures up to 150m in length,
surrounded by narrow, fairly straight ditches with slightly rounded corners,
containing an open space edged by a perimeter bank set within the ditch.
Characteristically there are two or more major causeways across the ditch
which served as entrances. Most long mortuary enclosures are orientated
within 45 degrees of an east-west alignment. Long mortuary enclosures are
generally associated with human burials dated to the Early and Middle
Neolithic periods (c.3200-2500 BC). There are approximately 35 examples
recorded in England. The greatest concentration lies in Essex and Suffolk,
but there are also examples along the Thames and in Warwickshire along the
Avon; two isolated examples have been recorded in Northumberland. Long
mortuary enclosures are very rare nationally and all surviving examples are
considered worthy of protection.

Round barrows date from the Late Neolithic to the Late Bronze Age, with most
examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were generally
constructed as earthen rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single
or multiple burials. They occur in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and
often acted as a focus of 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
examples recorded nationally, occurring across most of Britain, and a
substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of
protection. Although nothing remains of the barrow mound, evidence of burial
practice may survive. Round barrows are generally considered to have been
constructed slightly later than long mortuary or causewayed enclosures:
however, the location of the barrow in relation to the long mortuary
enclosure suggests an association of some significance, and the proximity to
each other of three different classes of monument associated with funerary
practices lends additional importance to the group.
Although all visible remains of the long mortuary enclosure and barrow 120m
south of Rushey Weir have been levelled by ploughing, the ditches survive
well. The location of the monuments on low lying land beside the River Thames
suggests that they may contain well preserved waterlogged organic deposits,
material that will provide evidence of the nature of the surrounding
landscape, and of the uses made of the enclosure during its lifetime.

Source: Historic England

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